SUSAN She has gracedMINER the covers of Vogue, Elle, and many more Interview with the model, counselor and motiviational speaker Susan Miner. Fall Issue of Lapalme Magazine, By: Assistant Editor, Massiel Mancebo Photography by: Chuck Kovach
SUSAN MINER S
he has graced the covers of prestigious magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire. She has stood behind the lens of some of the worlds most recognized photographers and was named one of the “Most Unforgettable Women of The World” for Revlon. Aside from having lived a life of fashion and luxury, Susan Miner, M.A. is now a counselor and motivational speaker who dedicates her life to helping others discover and develop their own inner beauty. MM: What was it like being considered as “one of the most unforgettable women of the world”? Is this something that brought on a higher expectation to live up to? SM: “It’s a funny question because of the answer –I wasn’t even paying attention; at the time I wasn’t paying attention. I remember for interviews they asked me “where are you from?” I said Massachusetts but I’m from a town called Hampden Mass and it’s a really small town, and I remember thinking “oh it’d be funny if they could put my really small town,” but other than that I didn’t pay too much attention. It wasn’t until years later when people like yourself have asked me about it and I think: “oh yeah that was kind of… (laughs).” MM: What was a point in modeling when you felt that you had “made it”? SM: “One thing happened, when I first went to Paris I was there for three months and I only got one job, and after that I worked pretty much everyday when I worked in Milan. But several years later I was flown to Paris, on the Concorde, made a boat load of money and I felt like: “oh okay, the first time I was here I didn’t find anything and now I’m being flown here on the Concorde” so that was pretty cool.” MM: Growing up, what were some of your ambitions? Did you know you would become a model? Did you want to be? SM: “I did want to be a model, but I did not really have it formed in my mind. What I did have, was an entire wall in my
room as a collage of models, literally cut out and taped on my entire wall on the wallpaper. My mom was very forgiving about that. That was my first manifestation board before I even knew what a manifestation board was. I had Brooke Shields on my wall in an old fashioned frame I got in our basement; it was a Vogue cover. Years later my friends got me an old fashioned frame and put one of my Vogue covers in there, so it was pretty cool, it went full circle. I still have it saved. My mom saved tons of pictures in boxes and boxes.” MM: You graced the covers of Vogue, Elle and many more. Was there a cover or a shoot which made you felt reflected you the best? (or reflected your inner battles)? SM: “There was… that’s a good question; and one cover encapsulates both –that was an American Vogue cover that I did. It was a very well received cover; for example it was featured in an HBO documentary about the editors of Vogue, they showed that cover. It had the biggest impact on my career; I think it’s timeless and it’s still beautiful today, so that was one aspect, but flipside, when we were doing it, the photographer told the hairdresser and make-up artist to spray my face and hair with water. My face and my skin were wet, and I had never seen anything like that. Prior to that they always had big hair, the pictures were taken very close up, it was a different look, so I was mortified during it. I thought: “I’ll never get this cover”. Cindy Crawford was there
for the other half of the day so I thought I would never get that cover, so that was my insecurity. Inside I’m going “this is awful”. It was different, I didn’t expect it, so when Richard Avedon showed me a polaroid, I thought it looked pretty but I was still kind of uncomfortable –funny right?” MM: Richard Avedon is my all time favorite photographer, I have so many of his pictures saved for inspiration, I love his work, what was he like? SM: “He was very kind, very nice guy. He would hang out and talk to us, very nice guy.” MM: Was there someone who inspired you to change your path in life? Or was this something that came from within? SM: “It came from within; it was always my desire to help people. My favorite thing to do always was to help people, even when I was a kid. Also, I wanted to help myself, I wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel peaceful, so I was self-motivated to feel better, and of course, when I’m helping people I always feel better as well. When you help others, you focus less on yourself. This goes back to your first question about how you can help yourself, helping others is one way to do it, because when we become very focused on ourselves and depressed, we become very self-centered and that’s so painful. It’s painful to be self-centered. Article by: Massiel Mancebo Photographer: Chuck Kovach
MM: Was there a place that inspired you, a country or city you visited which was very impacting? SM: “Well travel in general inspired me, I love being by myself and just wandering. The old city of Barcelona inspired me; I did a job there for a German catalogue and I only worked in the mornings –it was brilliant! I had all the rest of the day to just hang out. I loved the architecture, the museums, everything was amazing.” MM: Your story strikes a deep nerve with many women especially young women, what would you say to these young girls who are considering self harm, eating disorders, and even suicide, as a result of how poorly they feel about themselves? SM: “The first thing I would say is that wisdom, and the ability to care for yourself comes with time, and with practice. That’s really the key, the ability to care for yourself; It’s different for everyone but it’s important to know that the twenties (particularly the early twenties) are brutal. It’s as simple as that, they are, they are brutal. You are trying to be out in the world and there are many pressures to be everything as a woman: the business person, the nurturer, the supermodel, the athlete. There are all these things that are expected of us now and it’s too much, we can’t be everything. Just know that the wisdom is coming, meanwhile always try something that makes you feel better. When someone gets caught in an eating disorder, in fact what they are trying to do is to feel better, but they are just looking in the wrong place –that’s going to make them feel worse. It’s the same thing with drugs and alcohol, they’re looking to feel better but it’s going to make them feel worse. My advice is to try counseling, church, temple, meditation, self-help books, karate class, volunteering, those kind of things will help you. I was a mess, and it took me a long time to figure things out and that’s why I do what I do now to help people. But see I’m 25-years out, I’m 45 and there are people like me who still remember what a nightmare it was, who have the experience and who have the schooling to help you so you’re not alone.” MM: Today with everyone living through social media, women are bombarded heavily with images of what they should look like, what weight they should have, etc. What is your opinion on this?
SM: “Well several things…one is to remember that it’s all designed to get you to purchase something. The way that marketers do that is by telling you you’re lacking in something. Then tell you that what they sell you will fix that something so that’s one thing. Another thing is when you’re comparing yourself, you’re comparing how you feel inside to how the ad looks outside. Or how your Facebook friend looks outside on her vacation, or at her bridal shower, so when you’re looking through your Facebook and you haven’t showered, maybe you didn’t sleep that good, and you’re seeing people at their absolute best moment…you just have to remember you are comparing your insides to someone’s outsides. Then the next thing is –put your phone away. Put it down, and remember that you have a responsibility to yourself when you’re surfing or looking at ads, or if you’re on a certain social media and you begin to notice that you’re not feeling well, it’s your responsibility to turn it off. For example, if you’re watching the Victoria’s Secret Angel runway show and you start to feel bad, turn it off I have never watched one and even though physically I’d be considered to come closer to that ideal, I don’t hit it. I’m pretty close –but even I would still even feel less than if I watch it, so I know better. When we’re comparing that’s focusing on the other person, we need to bring it back to ourselves and focus on our own strengths, and our own creative outlets etc. Once you feel yourself feeling badly when you’re comparing yourself, begin to speak to yourself about what you’re good at, your recent successes. You can think about things like: “hey yesterday I helped my friend feel better” or “that guy told me I had a nice butt” whatever it is, start reminding yourself of the good stuff.” MM: Do you feel that there is a positive way in which women can transform these negative feelings of comparison and insufficiency with what they see displayed on a screen on a daily basis? SM: “That would be to focus purposely on your strengths, and the positive things that are happening in your life; focus on the compliments that you get. Retrain yourself to focus on the positive. There’s a program I did called “Supermodel Confidence” and one part of it was to write down your accomplishments and put it up where you could see them. Whatever makes you feel good, begin focusing on that and write it down.”
MM: Do you have a quote/statement/ proverb that you live by? SM: It’s not a proverb, but I always think and say to myself…for example when I was 26 and I was retiring from modeling, I said to myself: “well I’m going to be 30 anyway” so I went to college, so I might as well have a degree. Or “I’m going to be 40 anyway”, now I’m saying to myself “I’m going to be 50 anyway” so I want these book published and all of these different things. We are going to get older… that’s it (laughs) It’s coming! Might as well accomplish stuff that we’ll be proud of in the meantime. MM: What are your top 5 beauty regimens to maintaining yourself beautiful inside and out. SM: “Sunblock every-day! Vegetables with breakfast, that’s everyday unless something crazy happens. I’m having vegetables because I find that we don’t get in that many vegetables usually. I meditate everyday, and I exercise or move my body everyday. I’ll exercise but I won’t do an hours class. I’ll do a half hour, or I’ll do a yoga class or I’ll do high intensity for 20 minutes but I don’t beat my body into the ground –I find that works best for me. I find that a 20-minute workout is good; the key is consistency. The last one is I’m always on the lookout for how I can help people, and then I do my best to do it.” MM: If you were on a deserted island with no spas, and you only had one bag with a few products and things to take in it, what would you take? SM: “I would take Vaseline for my lips, I would take sunblock, I’ve been liking the Alba sunblock. I would take Shea butter, just your basic Shea butter, I guess that’s about it. I would take Pureology shampoo, what a difference good shampoo makes! An umbrella… ear plugs! I sleep with ear plugs every night, they help me sleep.” MM: What are some of your current goals and dreams, what would you like to achieve in the next 5-10 years? SM: “I would like to publish 3 books, they are on their way. I’d like to do a TED talk and I’d like to be a spokesperson for a company who believes in beauty inside and out. I’d like to be a spokesperson as a counselor as well, instead of a celebrity or an actress I’d like to be someone who helps women reveal their inner beauty as a way to enhance heir outer beauty at the same time.”
“When we’re comparing that’s focusing on the other person, we need to bring it back to ourselves and focus on our own strengths, and our own creative outlets.”
MM: What has been the best thing about changing your career path? SM: “The best thing would be seeing my clients change, and just being in awe of the process because it’s quite a spiritual process when someone takes on the work of changing themselves. They have to be vulnerable and they have to be brave, and when I can be with them through that process and watch their anxiety drop away, or their panic attacks stop, or their self-esteem raise, it’s just so gratifying.” MM: Who are some of the people that keep you loved and grounded in your everyday life? SM: “I would say my family, and my circle of women friends, and then… this is kind of funny but, I derive comfort from some of my favorite teachers on YouTube; some of my favorites are Louise Hay, so I listen to her affirmations and power thoughts and I encourage some of my clients to do that as well. It gives me comfort and company to have her presence – really you’re bringing her presence in. Eckhart Tolle I bring into my house a lot… so that’s where I find technology can be good. This goes back to your earlier question: find the technology that uplifts you. A final thought is your inner beauty and your inner peace is in your control, and by that, I mean there are exercises and ways in which you can raise your inner beauty or reveal your inner beauty, so find them. We can’t always change what happens to us, although the more peaceful we are the better things will happen. If you’re not peaceful, or you feel you’re not peaceful because of a bad childhood for example, you still have control. It’s like exercise, if you want biceps, you want muscles, you go to the gym and you lift weights. If you want to be more peaceful, find the things that make you more peaceful. Find what works for you.” For more information on Susan Miner and her programs “Beauty From The Inside Out” visit: www.susanminerbeauty.com www.twitter.com/fromamodel www.youtube.com/user/susanminerbeauty
Art Director: Francesca Greenwood Photographer Assistant: Stephen Glass Designer & Collection: BlacMéra by Yuliana Candra Make-up Artist: Sheri Michelle Hair Stylist: Andrew Sellers from Marigold Scott Hair & Make Up Accessories: Tuni, Winter Park, Florida.