BlogHer 2012: In New York, There’s Nothing You Can’t Do

I will admit it: I’m a blog snob.

Those silly fashion blogs? Pfffft. So long as they don’t take over the political news of the day, or the REAL news (as I stand tall and like to remark) then fine, they can have a headline or two. But they aren’t important and are fluff and as far as I’m concerned have no place getting higher ratings or more coverage than what I consider to be more important- real news.

So when the BlogHer team asked me to be a model in the first EVER BlogHer fashion show this year at BlogHer ’12 in New York, I had to laugh.


Not only was I being asked to participate in a space I had very little respect for, but I was struggling with coming to terms with a body that is not my own. One I have written about time and time again since I began steroid treatment for Lupus. The dramatic shift from my 119lbs self to my now steroid induced 219lbs self has been life changing. Nearly as life changing as the disease trying to kill me.

The truth of the matter is I have not felt beautiful, or even comfortable, in a long time. 18 months, to be exact. I’ve learned to shop in the plus sized section, and cry when things even there didn’t fit.

I sobbed uncontrollably when all I wanted to hear from those I love was “you are beautiful no matter what” – which was said early on but after so long that sort of talk seems frivolous. Ok so I haven’t heard it in 15 months, to be exact. Not because they don’t love me, but because it seems unimportant in the sea of things going on. Treatment, medication, plans of action. My appearance should be the least of anyone’s worries and it would be insulting to even bring it up. Vain maybe. And down right stupid.

But as it turns out, you notice and remember things when you don’t recognize the person looking back at you in the mirror. You crave to know you are still beautiful to those who love you, if not in words, than in a kiss on the forehead or an arm around the waist. But that waist is now double in size. The forehead round and moon shaped from the drugs, and I certainly wasn’t feeling worthy of a kiss.

That’s not the Erin I know. But I was cutting her some slack, considering the hell we were going through.

Everyone treats you differently as a big girl too. Everyone. My kids love “squishy” Mommy. In fact they want to make sure I don’t lose ALL the weight I have gained as I diet because they insist some squish remain for cuddle time.

Then I realized how the outside world treats larger people. They aren’t nearly as nice to me as they used to be. At first I was angry, I wanted to wear a big sign that said “I AM ON A STEROID THAT SAVED MY LIFE THIS IS WHY I AM FAT.” And then I got even more angry, realizing that no one deserves to be treated differently simply based on looks and size. From those of us here involuntarily to those beautiful women born with curves to people who just are who they are.

So I said yes to being a model. Because my self-esteem needed a boost, I knew I had to learn about other blog communities, and most importantly, I wanted to show the world every size, shape, and sass of a woman is beautiful.

But could I really do it? Could I walk a runway in front of hundreds in New York knowing full well I’d be in tears and hating the body I’m supposed to show off and love? Would it be a big lie?

No. No. I could do it. I just had to believe. I had to believe, I had to get comfortable in this body of mine, and I had to own who I am now. OWN IT.

So with that thought in my mind, and some nudging from some people reminding me that others like me might be inspired and get that “you are beautiful” comment they too have been waiting for…I said yes.

Flash forward to rehearsals, fittings, hair, make up, shape wear discussions, stretch mark discussions, bra discussions, heels or flats, order of models,  how to walk, how many beats to count before posing…and on and on and on.

And at every point I wanted to bail. To run out of this thing that put butterflies in my stomach. Would the community think this was lame? Would anyone believe I was beautiful and model worthy? Would they see all the hard work and diversity of women of every stripe and say “that is awesome” or would they say “where are the supermodels?”

And I stood on the steps off the stage, music blaring, and knew there was no turning back. I was told that if I could do it, maybe next year another woman afraid to show her cancer scars might say yes too. Maybe, just maybe, a blogger who feels like the ugly duckling due to a birth defect will volunteer and say “ME NEXT!”

And I closed my eyes, and I counted my beats, and I believed, for the first time in so long, that I truly was beautiful. I believed what I had always written and told my daughter- it’s not what is outside, it’s what is inside that makes you pretty. My inside has sass, and silly, and attitude, and  power. POWER enough to be winning against a disease that kills. Power enough to be humbled by the “fluff” bloggers who I realize not only work hard, but work super hard to show every woman is beautiful, fighting the stereotype that you need to be a tall, skinny, white, blonde female to be the ideal.

They taught me everyone is the ideal woman, and I most certainly was welcome in their ranks. Not everything needs news and politics, but everything DOES need beauty.

So for every woman who isn’t society’s usual cover girl… I stepped on stage, walked to my mark, and soaked in what I KNEW was already there: family and friends who love me for me. And who all taught me EVERYONE in this community and beyond has an equally important voice. Because that voice gave me the confidence to return to who I really am.

photo by @craftyb

And I am beautiful.





*With special thanks to 6pm, Elizabeth Arden, Paul Mitchell, Monif C , and Marc Jacobs. And the wonderful team at Fashion show guru Kathryn Finney and her amazing team. Photo caught by Kelly Cheatle. See more at


  1. Laura Ichikawa says:

    You looked FABULOUSLY FIERCE up there!! Cheers and tears for you Erin, cheers and tears!! : )


  3. Thanks for this story! While I do not have a life changing disease, I recently had a baby and every day look at myself in the mirror and wish to look like my former self… You looked brave, beautiful, proud! Thinking of your moment in spotlight gives me chills! GO YOU!

  4. Brava.

  5. YOU. . .can I say anything else? 🙂 🙂 It was amazing, and you looked so beautiful.

  6. You ARE beautiful! Congrats Erin – I’m proud of you.

  7. Lovely! Wish I could have met you. I missed the fashion show. By that point, I was pooped. Go you!

  8. I love you. So very much. This was such an empowering experience for all of us involved. And I hope I can put my thoughts into the right order as I write my own piece on the fashion show.

    And yes. You are beautiful. Just the way you are.

  9. Mimi Schector says:

    Jonathan Trenn suggested that I look at your blog. I’m glad he did. You’re beautiful.

  10. I hope you’re as proud of that moment as there are tears of joy for you streaming down my face right now. You are incredible, amazing, beautiful and wonderful to have taken the steps I know I wouldn’t have been brave enough to take. I know I’m not the only one. Thank you for sharing <3

    BTW that gown is almost as gorgeous as you are.

  11. Oh, that brought tears to my eyes. Yes, you are beautiful. Thank you for being courageous enough to step out there, and thank you for writing this for all of us.

    Well done.

  12. You are gorgeous.

    And maybe more importantly, you are right in every point you made. The world needs beauty, the soul needs to be reminded of its beauty, and everyone should be treated with respect regardless of physical appearance.

    Sing on, sister. Shine on.

  13. Debi (@TruthfulMommy) says:

    You.Are.Beautiful & you inspire me!

  14. Amazing. So sad I never got a chance to see you to say hi in person.

  15. Can’t. Stop. Crying. Thank you.

  16. You are beautiful!

  17. So many congratulations on facing your fears and pushing yourself way beyond your comfort zone. You look so beautiful too! I bet there were more than a few wet eyes in that audience.

  18. I attended Blogher and saw you in the fashion show, and I want to say this…. Weight, height, eye color, whatever does not define how beautiful you are. I saw you rock the runway and I thought you did great and were beautiful. I did not know your story until reading this, and I can appreciate it because my BFF has lupus. I love your honesty and candor. You are loved. You are beautiful. And you are definitely honest. Kudos!

  19. Dangrdafne says:

    Thank you

    Thank you for finding the courage to conquer your fear and your misgivings about your body.

    Thank you for participating not only in the fashion show but in the show of life. For showing us who you are and helping us feel more comfortable with our own bodies.

    I remember turning to my friend during the show when you came out and I just said “stunning”. Your power, strength and inner beauty showed through with a glorious glow and it was perfecting accented by the lovely dress.

    Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts here and you inner and outer beauty at the show. I feel empowered and ready to take on my fears now too.

    Thank you

  20. You’re a goddess!

  21. Erin your towering strength, wisdom and humor continue to amaze me. Am proud to know & be inspired by you. Also: HOTT. xo RS

  22. Simply beautiful!

  23. Maleficent says:

    It’s just a damn shame though that it took you getting FAT to appreciate outer beauty. DAMN SHAME.
    You do look gorgeous in this photo, but then again I’ve never been an uptight snob who cared about appearances. I’m not trying to be a hater or rude, but so many people think like you once thought and it’s ridiculous and annoying and hurtful. My sister is overweight but completely beautiful, inside and out – which is what you should strive to be.

  24. Mariana l says:

    You were simply radiant!! Speaking as someone who actually takes photos from the photo pits of Ny fashion week and Miami fashion week, I can honestly say that I haven’t seen women look so fabulous and truly sexy as I did on the BlogHer stage Saturday night. Congrats to you all.

  25. *SPARKLE* Simply Beautiful!

  26. Now I’m sorry I missed the fashion show. Well done, you.

  27. My daughter (age 11) and i were at the show. You and the other ladies rocked it!!! Thanks for doing this. It was a beautiful thing for my daughter to see so many every day real women walking the runway.

  28. Now you need a new hashtag #youcandoiterin is so 2011… hmmm… 🙂


  29. You are beautiful.

  30. That is a fabulous dress. And those are fabulous curves, too.

    It’s just a recent fashion to be super thin, you know. It’s not an actual immovable beauty axiom that thinner women are prettier. The average fashion model of today is thinner than 98% of American women. But even just 50 years ago the beauty standard was totally different.

    Avert your eyes, sisters, from the photoshopped magazines!

  31. It takes a lot to make me cry Erin. Tears of joy over here. I know it’s strange to be proud of you since we have never meet but I’m proud of you!

  32. I had been trolling Twitter trying to get more pics. Lisa shared that the show was electrifying and that she and some of the crew had lost it seeing you walk that runway. Just reading this post made my spine tingle. I have tears in my eyes just reading it. You are a brave and hot woman my friend.

  33. I was struck by how beautiful you were all weekend. You are stunning.

  34. I love this so hard. Awesome, Erin. Simply awesome.

  35. I NEVER would have known you had these feelings. EVER! Own it you did, lady. It was spectacular!

  36. Thank you Erin. Thank you Erin. Thank you Erin. You were (are) BRAVE and You were (are) STUNNING. Truly appreciate you..

    You’ve made me believe in the power of beauty (sometimes I forget as this is a tough business) and reminded me of why I do what I do.

  37. YOU LOOK GORGEOUS in your Monif C dress!

  38. You are so beautiful and so fierce and I was so moved by this. Well done, you. Good on ya.

  39. I love this. I had heard you the night before say that you were nervous about the fashion show and I have to say, watching you strut your stuff down that runway, I didn’t catch a glimpse of that at all. What I saw was someone who KNOWS she is wonderful in a lot of ways and was sharing in the enthusiasm and spectacle of the night. Your comfort with yourself translated to everyone in that audience and you looked radiant. What a great example! Thanks for sharing it.

  40. Ah, little Queen, no matter how squishy life’s circumstances dish it out to you, you will always be that beautiful, kind hearted, radiant red head, that enjoys jumping in the kids bounce house as much as anything else in the world. (other than, of course, being the best mommy & wife ever to that beloved family of yours) When I see you, honey, I will always see that girl, just barely bigger than me, giggling in the bounce house. Size matters nothing with a heart like yours. And truly, size only really matters if we’re talking about … fried pickles, right? (insert blonde humor here – with poker face & halo – thank you)

    I’m proud of you, I love you, and you can count on a quick hug and cookie drop off when life allows my next trip past your house. While life has been demanding (of both of us), please know, you are never far from my heart, my prayers and sending you healing & loving energy.



  41. I was not familiar with your or your blog when I was watching the show. You looked BEAUTIFUL and you really lit up the stage. I loved the show and how inclusive it was for every woman. When the woman came out in her wheelchair and stood up and walked down the runway, it made me cry. I couldn’t believe the beauty and strength in that room. I wish you all the best with your health.

  42. I don’t have Lupus, but freakishly early menopause (age 18, though I didn’t know it) and an autoimmune disorder made me gain weight inexplicably after a childhood of being underweight.

    I’ve spent the same amount of time since then feeling like a giant monster around my size 0-8 friends, and trying diets and exercise that wouldn’t make a dent (because I was only diagnosed when I was 32… before then, I just thought I was lazy or chubby) and ending up in relationships with asshats who bought me scales and told me I “had a pretty face”.

    The body is mine, and it’s been mine for a long time, but it doesn’t FEEL like it’s mine. I love clothes and fashion and style and I think I do okay with what I’ve got, but I would have a ball being a size 12 or 14. I don’t even care about dropping to single digits.

    Maybe someday we’ll crack the code that enables me to drop all of this, but until then, it’s the misunderstood, often-judged body I have.

    But it’s also the body that carries me to work every day to do things I love. It’s also the body that is short and small enough that the long-legged 17 y.o. and 13 y.o. argue about getting to sit behind me, which makes me laugh all the time. It’s also the body that my now-husband fell in love with, in spite of my insecurities.

    And even if it changes, I won’t forget what it feels like to be set aside because of pounds, and I’ll make sure everyone I see carrying extra gets the full blast of my smile, and my unconditional acceptance of how they look, if not who they are (that might take a bit more effort!)

    Erin, I know it’s not the body you see as “you”, because it was handed to you by treatment, not anything you could have avoided. But the things you’ve learned and come to understand inside the body you have now — even through the pain and frustration — are making you stronger than you’ve ever been before.

    And strong? Is beautiful.

  43. You were amazing. Seeing you rock the runway like that brought tears to my eyes. You’re beautiful.

  44. Gorgeous. You never cease to amaze me, Erin. From the smart as a whip conversations we’ve shared since we met to the beautiful heart you have always had. Our (way too brief) chat at BlogHer touched so much. You’ll just never know. But thank you. xoxo

  45. I was honored to be able to cheer you on, my friend!

  46. Oh. Erin.

    You look fierce.

    This is just so…

    this post is exactly what I love about blogging.

    Hot Damn Woman. <3 Your spirit shines.


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