I had about two hours to decide if this was something I’d do. And of course, every part of my brain was saying NOPE.
“But maybe…,” some other, braver part of my consciousness would whisper, only to be interrupted by repeated screaming “NO”s. But that new, unfamiliar, encouraging voice in my head kept pushing. It kept asking: “What’s the worst that could happen?” And, perhaps, more pointedly, given my work as a body-positive editor: “What would you tell someone else to do?”
For once, this rang louder than my self-consciousness telling me I couldn’t do it. So I wrote back yes.
Suddenly, no matter what that hesitant, obnoxious part of my psyche said, it was happening. I was booked to be on the Today show. In my lingerie.
Normally, for these types of shopping segments, the producers will pick the outfits. Once I said yes, knowing what it would entail, that was that. Ultimately, for this appearance, it turned out that the lingerie look I was assigned was closer to a sexy pajama than a lacy boudoir set. That didn’t change the fact that, when I first saw it, I absolutely panicked. It was nothing I would feel remotely comfortable wearing around, well, anyone, let alone the entire country. But there was no turning back now.
I went to hair and makeup. I talked to the other models and people who had volunteered for the segment. I drank some coffee and marveled at the variety of breakfast foods available. Inside, I felt like throwing up.
Nothing was stopping the fact that I was about to appear on national television in something much more revealing than I’d ever worn in public. Earlier I had made friends with another woman in the segment—a professional plus-size model who was unfazed by every aspect of what was happening. I joked with her backstage as we waited for our cues, trying to channel her laid-back attitude and confidence. But then I asked myself: What was the difference between her and me, really? Sure, she had more experience modeling than I did. But it wasn’t anything physical. It was that she believed she deserved to be there—and I didn’t.
I knew I deserved better than that. So I told myself to put one foot in front of the other, and to focus on all of the other emotions later. And I just…did it.