by maddy figueroa
Meet our first Dream Big Winner, Heather Husmer!
The morning of the shoot with Heather Husmer, it was cloudy and rainy and yet from the moment I saw her, it was only sunshine that radiated from her face. I learned a lot about Heather that day. She is fun, intelligent and absolutely passionate about showing plus size women in a more positive light.
As you will see in my interview with her – our body image is very much influenced by the people around us, but if we do not do our research and work to be the best that we can be emotionally, spiritually and physically, then we run the risk of falling prey to the negative stereo types.
Maddy: In your Dream Big entry you said, "By the age of 20, the years of being hyper sensitive to my appearance, took its toll.” Tell me about this time in your life and what the turning point was for you.
Heather: I can't say there was a “turning point," it's really been more of a slow bank rather than a "turn.” I have always said that I wanted an epiphany but unfortunately, I haven't had one yet. Rather my feelings about appearance have gradually matured (for lack of a better term). Perhaps one point in particular was about 7 years ago when, through training and education, I finally realized that no matter how hard I worked out I would never be “skinny.” And instead I realized that I could train to my strength: muscle. I had always been more “sturdy” and I decided to make the best of it. So perhaps that acquiescence to my own genetics freed me on some level. Now instead of attempting to become someone else’s concept of ideal, I am trying to be the fittest “Heather Husmer” I can be. This has all led to more comfort in my own skin. As I said before I feel like some of it has come with age or time perhaps.
Maddy: You have a degree in Exercise Physiology and a degree in Psychology. Tell me about the position you currently hold and how it feels to be a confident Diva in this industry.
Heather: My gosh! Talk about feelin’ like a Diva! I really feel fortunate, but at the same time I know I have worked very hard to get where I am. I have spent too much of my life being overly critical of my self and of not rejoicing in my own accomplishments, so please forgive me if I sound a bit like I’m bragging.
After struggling financially and finally finishing my two undergraduate degrees at 25, I decided to apply for graduate school with my idol in Strength and Conditioning, Dr. William Kraemer at Ball State. Unbeknownst to me, just as I was to apply, Dr. Kraemer moved his program to the Kinesiology Department at the University of Connecticut!
My alma mater! While struggling financially to remain in school, my wonderful, compassionate, and profoundly loyal professor told me of a position in corporate fitness at ESPN. I applied, and I fit like a glove. My background in mind as well as physical wellness and experience with athletics and strength and conditioning was precisely what ESPN’s new facility needed.
Professionally, I’m at the top of my game, really only limited by my own imagination! My education and experience offer me tremendous options. I work with everyone from professional athletes to weekend warriors to exercise neophytes. This is a fitness professional’s dream. My thirst for knowledge, tendency towards education, and love of educating others seem to be leading me into the area of Education and Training of health, fitness, and strength and conditioning professionals.
I am very fortunate to work with true health and fitness professionals who know that fit is not defined by a clothing size. I am more fit and more muscular at 30 than I have ever been; and yet I always have new and ever-evolving healthy goals towards which to strive. I take time to celebrate my accomplishments as the Senior Health and Fitness Specialist at ESPN, a soon to be graduate of Dr. Kraemer’s Masters program, and an aspiring plus size model. Yet, I continue to strive; this is the only life I have and I want to live it to the fullest!
I would like to share a brief story from a client I was working with recently. This was a new member to my facility. She came to me wanting to lose some weight since she and her husband were trying to get pregnant. She walked in with such a great spirit, her genuine smile, and eyes full of joy; a kinder soul you couldn’t find. As I was doing her assessment and it got to the circumference measurements, she looked at me and asked, “I hope you don’t mind, but…what size are you?” And I said “14”. She looked at me and after a contemplative moment said, “I want to look like you.” She went on to tell me that she never had an image to look to as a goal; she had always looked to a picture of Halle Barry for a goal image but she never felt that she had a realistic image to work towards. And she asked if I could be that for her. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so flattered or humbled.
This is what plus size models offer women everywhere. And that is what must not be forgotten. We “represent” for many women.
Heather will be holding a seminar in NYC this spring entitled “Plus Size Fitness.” For more information email VenusdivaMaddy@msn.com or look for updates on Venus Divas.
Fashions: Courtesy of www.Zaftique.com
Shapely Stretch Shirt in Robin Egg- SKU 020233
Stretch Lace Cami in Rose - SKU 060206
Starlight Chiffon Skirt - SKU 030210
about maddy figueroa
Maddy hails form NYC and got her start as a plus size model when she did a shoot for BBW Magazine. As a graduate of the Plus Academy, she was also able to grace the runway for designers such as Richard Metzger, Ashley Stewart and Mad Couture as well as appear on the Fox 5 morning show.
She was chosen by Lovecove.net to launch their plus model division and in early 2003, she was selected to appear as the spokesmodel for the Hips, Heels and Curves Fashion Show. She later went on to become the Casting Director for their 2003/2004 tour.
As a Venus Diva model, she most recently appeared on a segment of Aqui Y Ahora for Univision (channel 41). In addition to modeling, Maddy works as a stylist to up and coming models in the New York City area.