In June of 2016, I received a strange phone call at my office. It was a representative from Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and they wanted to talk to me about a photoshoot.
I’ll give you some context.
In my day job, I am the owner/operator of a medium-sized Canadian business. I own a chain of petroleum stations and convenience stores located in and around Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Some of those stations are located in the neighbouring city of St. Catharines.
St. Catharines just happens to be the hometown of a supermodel. One Linda Evangelista spent her youth roaming many of the same streets that I did.
In June 2016 that supermodel came back to direct a photoshoot in her hometown. The piece was a feature about her youth, and the shoot featured one of the hottest young models at the time — Raquel Zimmermann.
They wanted to shoot at various locations around the city and had chosen one of my stations as a location they desired.
I was gob-smacked. Linda Evangelista knew MY business!
Why? Because my business was founded in 1967 by my grandfather, and one of my stations was frequented by the young supermodel.
Again — WOW!
My only request? Please, please put my logo in the shoot. I WANT to see MY logo in Harper’s Bazaar.
Not only did they comply with this request — but they made this photo a two-page spread in the piece.
Let me say that again, because even almost six years later it gives me chills.
MY BUSINESS IS PART OF A FEATURE IN HARPER’S BAZAAR MAGAZINE.
Want proof? Here’s the picture:
Image Credit: Harper's Bazaar
As I mentioned, Linda was directing the shoot — so while she’s not in any of the pictures, she was behind the lens.
I had the opportunity to meet her the night of the shoot.
She was absolutely lovely.
I was onsite to ensure that everything went smoothly for the shoot. They were closing my site down for a few hours, and I thought it would be interesting to see a real fashion magazine photoshoot.
What I did not expect was for Linda to take ten minutes out of her schedule to come and speak to the owner of the company. I mean, she’s a supermodel for crying out loud! Even thirty years later, she is STILL a supermodel!
She went out of her way to say hi. To thank me for allowing them to interrupt my business. We chatted about how she loved being home so she could visit family she hadn’t seen in a while.
So, again, a SUPERMODEL took time out of her day to chat with me.
She didn’t have to.
But she did.
It was so incredibly decent of her.
One thing I distinctly remember was seeing her face. She hadn’t looked much like the photos from her prime. She looked somehow swollen.
I didn’t think too much about it — those days were thirty years in the past. We all change.
Today, though, I was shocked to see Linda’s face on the cover of People magazine. The title? Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: ‘I’m Done Hiding’
Of course, I read the article. Then I did some quick math.
Turns out in the year before my chat with Linda she had non-invasive cosmetic surgery — gone wrong. It left her with hardened areas of fat that now bulge on her thighs, bra area, and chin.
This means when I saw her and thought she looked different, it was because she did.
Had I thought she looked disfigured? NO.
Had I thought she looked ugly? NO.
Had I thought she was a lovely person with a warm, welcoming personality? YES.
Looking at the pictures of her in the People magazine, do I think she looks disfigured? NO.
Do I think she looks ugly? NO.
Do I remember that same, lovely person with fond memories? HELL, YES!
It’s a crime that women feel the need to adjust their physical appearance to be more marketable. To attract the attention and opportunities that younger women do. To put their lives and body at risk of disfigurement or worse!
Shouldn’t Linda’s experience and hard work allow her the luxury of growing older with dignity and pride in who she is and how she looks?
It infuriates me that so many of us feel the need to nip and tuck as we grow older to fit society’s version of beauty. We work hard as parents, professionals, family members, friends, and more! We shouldn’t need to ‘fix’ our physical appearance — we’ve earned every stretch mark, roll, and gray hair!
Linda, if you ever read this (although I’m sure you won’t!) just know that no matter what you think you look like, you are a beautiful person.
Inside AND out.
And it’s what’s inside that counts the most.
Until next time………………………………………XO-JGF