20 Questions with Meredith Mickelson
Photographed by VICTOR ROBERTOF
Styled by BRANDON NICHOLAS
Location: HODGES BAY RESORT & SPA, ANTIGUA
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Loyal, Kind, Bubbly
How did you begin your career as a model?
I got my start in the modeling industry at the age of 14. I got scouted in a mall, then submitted my pictures to local agencies. I started working with an agency in ATL for about a year. I remember begging my team from ATL to take me to NY to meet with people and sign. Throughout the years, I keep moving from LA to NY (back and forth). I truly believe if you have the determination and want something bad enough you’ll make it happen for yourself.
You have a strong influence through your social media platforms, how do you hope to influence your following?
The most important message I try to get out on my platform is about mental health. I’m insanely passionate about prioritizing that over anything in life. I believe it’s important for people following me to know I’ve gone through insanely hard things and low moments, even if my photos are “happy and put together”. It’s so easy to get caught up in the approval and instant gratification social media gives you, but it’s even easier to compare and start discounting your own beauty. I’ve been very honest about my past struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. Getting help saved my life and I really want it to be looked at as a positive vs negative from people struggling with the same thing and know it’s possible to overcome and they are not alone.
You are releasing a new line called Molliebird – can you tell us a bit about it?
Ever since I was little, I’ve always tried sewing and designing my own clothes etc. Fashion has always been a huge inspiration for me. Getting the opportunity to put out a line of something I’m super passionate about feels surreal. I want everyone wearing it to feel sexy and empowered in my suits. It’s really important to me that anyone and everyone can wear them, not just one body type. Each drop has something so different about it, and I’ve made sure we have options depending on what the preference is from the person wearing it so they feel their best.
When and where can people shop the beautiful designs of Molliebird?
It’s going to be launching at the beginning of May and you will be able to shop it from our website or our Instagram!
Where do you get inspiration for your designs? Can you give us a little insight into the design process?
I get the inspiration for my designs in everyday life. I really try to think about what I’d want to wear and what my friends would want to wear. I’m constantly looking online / in magazines/ vintage patterns / past runway shows / colors when I’m outside / furniture designs etc. (the list goes on). For the design process, basically me and my partner Alyssa try to create a design we haven’t seen before. Then, we match it to a style we want, figure out how we want it to feel. We create the bikini online through sketches and then we send it to the manufacturer. When we get the sample back, we hope there are no issues and from there on, it depends on if there are issues or not.
Are there any other avenues of your career you plan on exploring in the future?
I’m always trying to keep myself challenged and try new things that make me uncomfortable. I never want to be someone who is super content in anything in life because that’s where your growth stops as a human. The more challenging something seems to me, the more interested I am in learning about it.
I recently got into acting classes and I absolutely love that. Down the line, I’d love to explore that more. Being vulnerable to that side of myself was never easy for me, but the acting classes have taught me so much about myself in everyday life. It helps me to be less judgmental of myself in my head and let loose.
What can people expect to see from you in the remainder of the year?
To be quite honest, I don’t even know my schedule for next week. That’s the thing about modeling is it fully keeps you on your toes and you have no idea where you’ll end up in the world next week. I hope to be surrounded by extraordinary people working and doing what I love- constantly growing.
What are three goals you hope to accomplish in the next three years?
1. To overcome my anxiety in social settings
2. To love myself /my body/my mind fully
3. To remain uncomfortable in life so I’m always growing
What has been a highlight in your career?
A highlight in my career honestly can’t be pinned down to one moment. I feel super blessed how many opportunities I’ve gotten to work with amazing people and do incredible things. Each shoot stands out on its own because the makeup artist, the hair stylist and photographer. It’s captivating to watch how each person brings their own taste to a shoot. Three that have stood out the most are my Vogue covers, Maybelline campaign, and being able to launch my own line.
What is a challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
There’s honestly many challenges everyone faces everyday, right? So with this question, it’s hard to pin down one thing exactly because each has shaped me to become exactly who I’ve always wanted to be. In the modeling industry it’s crazy because you see the outside and it looks so beautiful and blissful then, once you’re a part of it, you see the struggles and the dark truth that comes along with it (especially with social media involved).
It was insanely difficult to always hear no, to be shamed for the way I look everyday, the constant judgement. And soon you start to believe what everyone is saying. I’ve been in insanely dark places mentally from crying on my bathroom floor to panic attack after panic attack to eating disorders and crippling anxiety and depression. From the age of 15, I always got told who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to look like. Eventually over time you do fully lose yourself because you’re trying so hard to appease the people around you. Where things started turning around for me was when I almost didn’t have another option. It was either continue down a path impossible to live or make a change.
Around 18 or 19 I got help. I went to therapy four times a week, saw doctors, a nutritionist, a psychiatrist and did just about everything you can think of. It saved my life and I started living for me, not the opinion of others around me. For so long I let my career define who I was as a person, which obviously is horrible because there’s so much more to a person. Luckily, I got the tools and strength from others to get through those dark moments and today, I can happily say I don’t experience those low low moments anymore and I try to do my best to help others going through the same things. I always say those dark moments made me EXACTLY who I always wanted to be. It gave me a depth and substance as a person to be able to handle many things in life and grow insane amounts of self love.