Molly Sims is a Memphis-born, Kentucky-raised Southerner who left behind her Tri Delta friends at Vanderbilt University for the life of a supermodel. It has been 24 years since Molly made her way to New York City and signed with Next Model Management (who she is still with today). She navigated the rocky waters of the modeling industry, and now she wants to share her secrets with you, the everyday supermodel. As a regular guest co-host on “The View,” author of The Everyday Supermodel and our newest contributing writer for StyleBlueprint’s Southern Edition, she has found platforms to share her journey, ideas of beauty and love for the South. For these reasons — and more — Molly Sims is today’s spectacular FACE of the South.
Can you describe the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the modeling industry?
I think the most challenging parts came at the beginning. You know, I was the epitome of a Southern girl. I had gained the freshman 10 – or 15 – and I had to go from eating pizza and chocolate chip cookie dough and walking the campus of Vanderbilt to having to drop 25 pounds. The pressure of having to be a certain way, learning a different way of dressing and a different way of eating was really overwhelming. I would look at girls and think, Okay, I am going to try to do that and do this. And this was pre-Internet.
I lived in Paris, London, Milan and Germany, and that was one of the most rewarding parts of it. I got to experience so many of the cultures and languages. I was never in the same place for more than a week. I met amazing people, and I worked with brilliant photographers, makeup artists and hairdressers; I got to wear amazing clothes; I was on the cover of French Vogue. There were so many rewarding things. It was as difficult as it was rewarding. At times, more difficult because everything was based on what you looked like. And that pressure, after a while … it is very difficult.
How do you measure beauty, and how has this changed over the years?
You think that if you lose the five pounds, or if you are a size 2 or a size 10, you are going to be happy. That doesn’t make you happy. I don’t know that women are ever really secure with who they are and how they look. I do not measure beauty in that way anymore. I measure beauty in happiness. It is not based on a size; it is based on what I have. I am very content right now. I am not starving myself and trying to reach an unattainable goal.
What advice do you have for women encountering negative body image and struggling with self-esteem?
Women are really hard on women; women are the most critical of all. Don’t listen to the critical, even the thing in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough, you don’t look good enough — you just have to put it away. But at the same time, I will say to these girls that it is best to feel good. If you feel good, you look good, and if you look good, you feel good. So it goes both ways. Sometimes that means you try to be disciplined. I am not going to sit here and tell you I eat M&M’s and cheeseburgers all day long. I work out. I watch what I eat. But that is what makes me feel good. You just have to push those haters away.
In terms of a personal situation, if someone is telling you who they are, showing you who they are and you choose not to listen, it is your fault. If someone is telling you, “I don’t want to be with you, I don’t want to date you,” listen to them instead of trying to fix them or change them. Because you will surely be disappointed.
What motivated you to give a candid account of what it took for you to become a supermodel in your book The Everyday Supermodel?
I hate the word supermodel, so I did a take on it. People say, “Oh you are just born like that,” or “You just look like that naturally.” Well, yeah, I am absolutely blessed, but I also did a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p to get that way. You know, so my hair is not naturally blond, I am naturally 10 pounds over my body weight, I didn’t dress like this, I didn’t know how to put things together. I wrote the book to show women if you want to be something, you can. You can be whatever it is you want to be, and if you want to work on yourself, here is a great group of women and a great group of people who will help you do that. Listen, the Internet is great, but there is so much information. The book is kind of like my mini-bible. I am truly proud of it. It is real, it is very honest and I loved doing it.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
To be on time — that is a big one for me. I am really trying to be respectful of people’s time and my own time with my family. I want to be in the moment instead of looking so far ahead in the calendar. Just being in the moment in that day.
Is there anything you try to incorporate into your life that reflects your Southern roots?
My mom was always a lover of flowers, so there are always fresh flowers in my house. That has always been in any place I have lived. I always have fresh flowers, and I also have candles. And for some reason, it reminds me of being Southern. I always keep a nice powder room — that is a very Southern thing, and my coffee table always looks great, which is a very Southern thing.
What do you miss most about the South?
I love the gentleness of people; I love the openness. I love manners — yes ma’am and yes sir. That is the way that I was brought up, and I am bringing my kids up like that. I miss the food, good ol’ homemade chicken and dumplings and biscuits. They try to make these things in the North and in the West, and they just cannot compare. You cannot get better barbecue than in the South.
Around the holidays, I always miss the cooking and the lights. I love the tradition of opening just one Christmas present the night before. It is a very Southern thing.
As a new mom, how do you take time for yourself? What do you do to unwind?
I read a lot! I love a good book. I will try to read after the kids go down. Have you read In a Dark, Dark Room? Read that; it is great. I am sure you have read The Girl on the Train. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter – that is great! And Luckiest Girl Alive. Now, I am reading Fractured.
I also do this fun thing at a Korean spa that I have gone to for years called Beverly Hot Springs. They scrub every inch of you.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I love breakfast for dinner. I am a massive sleeper. I can sleep with my makeup on; I can sleep anywhere — on a floor with a train coming at me — I can take a red-eye, if I have 40 minutes I can do that. And I am very superstitious — but I tell people that.
What are three things you cannot live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
I can’t live without fun, I can’t live without wine, I can’t live without great food, I can’t live without my iPhone and I can’t live without mascara.