Jewelry Fix: What to do if Your Sterling Silver is Turning Black, Grey, White!

Why is my silver jewelry turning strange colours? It’s a question I get asked a lot. I recently had a customer complain about a necklace “tarnishing” just a few weeks after purchase. His wife decided to use the polishing cloth to give the sterling silver a wipe, and was aghast when it came away black.

A well-used silver polishing cloth.
A well-used silver polishing cloth.

So he wrote me to express his surprise that his new necklace would discolour so quickly.  It made me realize it’s probably a great education opportunity.

When silver tarnishes, it’s a surface discolouration  caused by the interaction of oxygen (air) with the silver. As the British Assay Office explains it, “silver naturally interacts with oxygen and sulphur-bearing pollutants to create silver sulphide, resulting in a visible discoloration of the metal’s surface. Silver tarnishes in environments containing various sulphuric gases, even in very low concentration. The amount of tarnishing is determined by the relative humidity, ambient temperature, gas concentration, and the length of time the silver is exposed to the gases.”

With sterling silver this process is normal, natural, expected, and yes, it can occur relatively quickly.

Many things can speed tarnish; air pollution, the minerals in your water (and as such wearing your silver jewelry in the shower can speed this process too), living or working near a chemical, electric or manufacturing plant are all things that can cause discolouration more quickly.

Recent studies have shown tarnish develops microscopically within hours of being cleaned and exposed to air again.  You may not see it on the piece for several days or weeks, but it’s there, and will show up as a black residue on a polishing cloth.  A great way to keep seldom worn jewelry clean (and silverware if you have it), is to store sterling silver in a ziplock bag with all the air squeezed or rolled out of it.  You can wrap it in a soft cloth first too.  Oxygen and thus tarnish may still seep in and can still cause blackening especially if the pieces are stores for long periods of time, but it should keep things to a minimum.

Chemically tarnished rings. Oops!
Chemically tarnished rings. Oops!

Coincidentally at the same time as this customer contacted me,  I had a friend show me some rings I’d made for her.  The shiny sterling silver had turned a deep, dark black.  This was no tarnish effect, and she admitted she’d immersed her baubles in some household cleaner (Lysol) to spruce them up.  Instead, they’d become instantly and deeply chemically oxidized.

Now, she actually liked this look and referred to it as ‘edgy’, so she’s leaving them as they are for now.  If she did want them restored it should be a relatively simple process of buffing the chemical scarring off the surface layer, and exposing clean shiny silver beneath.  But this also serves as a leaning moment; only soap and water, silver polish or a silver polishing cloth should be used to clean silver.  Many household cleaners and chemicals can alter your precious silver.  In fact, I once had a ring turn bronze after accidentally spritzing window cleaner on it, and had other silver turn grey by getting baking soda onto it.  That too buffed out, but you’ll want to be careful with your jewelry.

How to Remove Tarnish-> Get this Inexpensive Polishing Cloth

If you do find some discolouration of your silver, you can remove it with a silver cloth (brand names include Sunshine Cloth, which is available inexpensively from me,  HERE or HERE). If that won’t work, stop while you’re ahead and take it to a pro for professional help.

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A Note about Grocery Store Silver Cleanser

I’ve purchased cleansers from grocery stores that just don’t work.  If you’re going to get a cleanser from somewhere other than a jewelry professional, test it first on a small area.  If the cleaner doesn’t remove tarnish instantly, it’s not working.  Proper liquid silver cleaners will remove all tarnish in about 3 seconds.  If you need to soak, or scrub, stop using it, rinse your silver, and return the cleaner to where you bought it and get your money back. (Keep your receipt!)

Fresh new polishing cloths.
Fresh new polishing cloths.

And for the jewelry ‘geeks’, the Government of Canada has written a helpful article about how to best care for your silver.  Read it here.

Have you got a horror story – or a home remedy for tarnish?  Post your comments below!

Check out some of my other blog topics HERE

Crazy Data Maps Will Re-Draw What you Think of the Globe

airports mapJason Davies draws maps.  But not your ordinary maps.  Really cool maps, that shatter what we thing of when we talk boundaries and borders. Davies’ maps use data differently; he takes data, and redistributes the information on a map, to createnot just different views of the world, but maps that a more Monet than Mercator Projection.

Check out his website with maps o’ plenty here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s DONE! Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings 6: The Finishing

This is where the rubber meets the road in the jewelry-making process. Finishing can make or break a piece.

With casting, if care is taken with the wax (ie. making sure the wax if very smooth, free of nicks and scratches, and nice and even) then your finished piece will be that much easier to clean up.

I’m going to be very meticulous with the finishing here, because I really want these rings to be beautiful and shiny. They are, after all, wedding rings, and need to be extra special anyway!

Check out our starting point:

Gold rings direct from the casting flask and ready to polish.
Gold rings direct from the casting flask and ready to polish.

First step in finishing; filing off the remnants of the sprues. We’re left with hearty balls on the band after the casting; and its no easy task to file that down with hand tools to make the bands smooth and even again. The goal is to make sure one would never know it was there. That takes some time, and some elbow grease.

I save my gold filings for use in future projects. It may seem like overkill to keep gold powder/dust, but it adds up for future use.

Bubble left on the band from the sprue.
Bubble left on the band from the sprue.

Once the band is even again it gets a nice light sanding. I used a Foredom tool with a coarse then a fine sanding drum to make the work easier. It cleaned up it very nicely.

Once the sanding is complete; it’s over to the polishing wheel for a liberal coating of Tripoli compound; a waxy paste that is mildly abrasive. It can quickly and easily remove the fine marks the sanding has left, and is the first of the polishing steps to ensure a mirror finish.

Tripoli compound being loaded into the polishing wheel.
Tripoli compound being loaded into the polishing wheel.

After the tripoli does its work, the rings get a quick scrub in soap and water, and then on to the second phase of polishing compound; Red Rouge. This is where the rings buff up like a dream. A few minutes under the rouge wheel and they shine.

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Another quick scrub up, and….. they’re done.

It’s been months of slow work (I had the privilege of being able to take my time with these) but I’m VERY happy with how they turned out. This work could be done in just a couple of days, but it was also a learning process for me I had no desire to rush. It also helped that my brother asked me to do these last fall.

The wedding is July 27th. I hope you’ll join me in wishing the newlyweds-to-be a lifetime of happiness … and great looking jewelry.

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Love it! So shiny I can see the pattern of my phone case in the ring!
Love it! So shiny I can see the pattern of my phone case in the ring!

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Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings 5: Casting Part 2

So last night we made the moulds (see Part one of the casting blog for that).   Tonight we’re liquefying gold and turning it into rings.

If we’ve done a good job at the spruing, investment, and kiln drying; this is the fun and easy part.

First steps; prep the equipment.

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We’re using a centrifugal casting set up, which consists of a large drum (to protect you if your flask explodes with hot metal inside), a crucible (where the metal gets melted down), a cradle for your casting flask or your mould, and a spinning arm which gets wound up like a top, and has a brake put on until you’re ready to go.

Heating the crucible
Heating the crucible

We heat the crucible first, to help lower the time it will take the melt the metal.  Once it’s piping hot, the flask is removed from the kiln, wired into the cradle, and the crucible and flask are pushed together.

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Removing the casting flask from the kiln
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Wiring the hot flask to the arm.

More heat is applied to make sure everything is warm, and the metal will flow freely.

Then it’s time to add the gold (good bye old unworn gold, hello new, shiny wedding rings!).

The collected gold, about to become shiny and new.
The collected gold, about to become shiny and new.

It’s all piled in and heated until it’s 100% liquid; Teacher Trevor checks the molten goodness for lumps of unmelted metal, which could not only wreck your pour, but could also cause the flask to explode.  (Thank goodness for that drum!).

FIRE!! (in the crucible)
FIRE!! (in the crucible)

Once Trevor is satisfied everything is a go, he releases the brake and centrifugal force takes over; sucking the gold deep into the flask so it fills everything.

Brakes OFF; the arm spins around, using centrifugal force to pull the metal in.
Brakes OFF; the arm spins around, using centrifugal force to pull the metal in.

The arm spins for a couple minutes, then the flask is left to cool off a bit before quenching it in water.

Gold peeking out the top of the "funnel" part of the casting flask.  Cooling before quenching.
Gold peeking out the top of the “funnel” part of the casting flask. Cooling before quenching.
Quenching the flask in water.
Quenching the flask in water.

The water begins dissolving the investment almost immediately and it crumbles out of the flask.  We hear a soft ‘plunk’ as the gold rings fall out and hit the bottom of the quench bucket.  Trevor fishes them out and….  Boy, do they look rough still!

Still a bit chalky from the investment...
Still a bit chalky from the investment…
Cleaned up but still not pretty & shiny...

So what’s a sister to do?  Part 6 (and final part): Finishing.

Ready for the FINAL step: finishing.
Ready for the FINAL step: finishing.

Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings 4: Casting Part 1

Now the action begins.

Casting is a 2-day process and it starts with prepping the wax rings by attaching sprues; essentially little hoses, which will attach to a wee wax funnel where the molten metal will flow in.

Attaching the sprues with a hot wax pen.
Attaching the sprues with a hot wax pen.

The sprues are attached using a drop of hot wax.

Sprued rings, ready for the flask.
Sprued rings, ready for the flask.

Once that’s done, they’re fitted into the base of the casting flask, and its measured to see how much investment is needed.

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Investment is an almost plaster-like substance, which fills up the flask and covers the wax rings.  It’s then baked in a high heat kiln overnight. The wax rings dissolve, leaving perfect little hollows, shaped exactly like your rings, and with any and all detail.

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Making and mixing your investment is a specialty all to itself.  Trevor, my jewelry instructor of a few years is an expert, and he’s doing the bulk of the work here, and humouring me by letting me “help”. It’s a great learning experience for me; but I’d definitely be in over my head if I had to try this myself.

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The investment power can be toxic, so wearing proper protection is a must.

Meaasuring the investment powder and using distilled water are also essentials.  Trevor is also adamant that the mixing technique is precise; using gloved hands to feel for any lumps (just one could cause your new plaster cast to explode in the kiln, or when pouring the gold), and timing the mixing exactly (we have 9 minutes to mix and pour and vibrate the flasks.

Hand-mixing the investment.
Hand-mixing the investment.

Vibrating removes any air bubbles inside which could cause similar unhappy endings to a casting flask, and thus all your hard work.

Vibrating the investment to remove air bubbles.
Vibrating the investment to remove air bubbles.

Once the mixture is just right, it’s carefully poured into the flasks and left to dry for a few hours.  After that it’s straight to the kiln.

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Finished flask from the top.
Finished flask from the top. That little “scoop” is the funnel that we’ll pour the molten gold into.

Once the flasks have been fired for the appropriate time, they’re ready for the next step; melting down the gold and pouring!

That’s tomorrow….

One post-script on this:  this is by no means an exact step-by-step of the casting process.  Casting is a very specialized, very delicate and sometimes dangerous process that should only be done by the experienced, or under proper supervision.  This is my journal of the process of making my brother’s rings, so please, don’t read this and try it at home!

Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings 3: The Wax Carving

The starting blanks of jeweler's wax.
The starting blanks of jeweler’s wax.

Making wax models of the pair of wedding bands I’m working on for my brother’s upcoming wedding this summer is both easy and requires skilled hands.  The wax is like a soft plastic, so it’s durable and can take hard work and tools.  But working in 3-D has never been something I’ve been adept with.

Carving or sculpting something to be later cast in metal requires you to “see” the final shape in the wax.  You have to have a kind of x-ray vision to know what parts of the material you’ll need to remove, and what needs to stay.

Carving begins.
Carving begins.

I started carving the ladies band first, and will model the mens on it.  The whole set is based (as you’ll know if you’d happened on parts 1 & 2 of this series) on my mother’s engagement ring; a beautiful yellow gold solitaire, with a simple band that just has a simple, gentle peaked edge along the top.

Working the peak into the design.
Working the peak into the design.

Once the main shape is carved with rough rasps, a finer one is used to smooth out lines and ridges.

Rasping the wax.
Rasping the wax.

Finally (and I’m not quite there yet)  a very fine rasp  followed by rubbing with denim cloth or pantyhose will polish the wax to a lovely finish.  The great thing about casting in wax is that if you finish the wax perfectly and with a lot of care, it requires only minimal cleanup and hand-finishing once the metal version comes out of the casting tank.

The teeny delicate wax model ready for final measurements and finishing.
The teeny delicate wax model ready for final measurements and finishing.

Jewelry Blog: Antler Necklace – From Inspiration to Reality!

I saw lovely necklaces that inspired me recently. The first was this stunner worn by actress Kate Hudson. A beautiful gold horn or claw on a heavy chain.

Wish I knew who to give credit for this glam jewelry to.  Designer unknown.
Wish I knew who to give credit for this glam jewelry to. Designer unknown.

The second was worn by my friend Nancy T; a cool piece of horn, suspended from what I call a “bicycle link” chain.

The process was daunting; first to find the appropriate horn, claw, spike, tooth or… antler to form the centrepiece. Etsy was able to help me out there. In case you’ve never checked out etsy.com, a quick aside; they have beautiful jewelry and handmade crafts but also really cool supplies for your crafting creative needs. (Check out my etsy website for a handy preview)

I found a wonderful supplier (Fireforged )who gathers “found” antler that’s been shed by deer etc. He was able to cut and sand some pieces to size for me, including a nice 10 cm chunk that I thought would be pretty bold.

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Beautiful antler from Fireforged : http://fireforged.org/
Photo: Rodney
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Beautiful antler from Fireforged : http://fireforged.org/
Photo: Rodney

Next– to make a bezel, or the part that grips the antler. I formed a piece of silver around the base, soldered it, then added a cap, and some decorative gallery wire along its side to keep it interesting.

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Then it was on to the chain. The bicycle chain is a pretty simple beast; snip pieces of wire (mine were about 1.5” each), ball just one end with a jeweler’s torch.

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Flatten it with a hammer, then drill a hole in it and insert the link. Slip another piece of balled wire through the loop, then ball its end so it’s linked and locked in. Bend one balled end by about 90 degrees and it will basically curve itself. Keep going until the chain is as long as you need.

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A simple s-hook is keeping it together for now.

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I also had visions of oxidizing the necklace to give it a very vintage feel, like Nancy’s necklace, but it was so pretty and shiny, I left it as is. Might have to make another since I have a couple more pieces of antler… I can give that oxidized look a try.

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Jewelry Blog: Making My Brothers Wedding Rings, Part 1

Appraisal photo of the ring.
Appraisal photo of the ring.

It’s a daunting (by special) request as a hobby silversmith; can you please make our wedding rings?

My brother and his wife-to-be have requested I venture out of my almost exclusively silver-working, and create matching wedding bands for them in gold.

To Match My Mom’s Ring

This is no ordinary task either; the band is to match a beautiful vintage gold and diamond engagement ring; my mother’s. She died more than 10 years ago, and may father passed the ring to my brother, who’s held onto it, waiting for just the right woman.  We’re very happy he’s found her, and that a piece of family history is being very much appreciated by both of them.

The ring is a simple prong-set solitaire, with a slightly raised edge.  The bands will be very simple to match.

We’ve been gathering unused, unwanted gold from various family members to keep it vintage when it comes to creating the bands.

In the next couple weeks, I’ll be working with an expert goldsmith and teacher who’ll guide my first real fabrication in gold.  While it’s not much harder of a metal to work in, it IS a lot more expensive.  Solder joints in silver cost next to nothing, while each solder joint in gold is about $25.  You have to be sure you’re ready to go.  And not to mention, if you screw up gold, it’s a mistake that costs several hundred bucks, instead of just $10-30 for raw silver.

Step 1 will be to test and then melt down the donated gold, and pour it into an ingot, or wafer.images.jpegold bar pour

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Step 2: to draw the ingot down to a wire of appropriate gauge.

Step 3: form the wire, by giving it that edge to match.

I’ll update the steps as I go.  Wish me luck!

You can also check out other photos and notes on my Facebook page.

-Erin

Journalism: How to Pitch Your Story to the News

So why does some news get covered and some doesn’t? That’s a whole blog post in and of itself.  But I can say with certainty that getting a story–any story–covered starts with a good pitch.
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Got a big event happening and want to invite the news?  Grandparents celebrating their 60th Anniversary and you think it deserves to be on TV? Community golf tourney, BBQ or fundraiser?  Maybe you’ve been the victim of a crime or a rip-off.  It you want to get the word out to the media there are some simple do’s and dont’s.

(Disclaimer:  I work in TV news, so most of my suggestions are geared at pitching to MY industry)

First: Does Your Story Fit The Key Criteria? The DO’S

Stories should :
-be unique; something that doesn’t happen daily, weekly, monthly or commonly
-should involve real people
-be new, happening NOW, or soon (not days or weeks old)
-have people willing to be on camera, on the record, or otherwise willingly go public, or be in the public eye

-is there CONFLICT? All good stories have winners & losers, heroes and villains, tension, injustice, outrage, or a battle.  It could be as simple as “woman fights parking ticket error”, but there needs to be something.

-Should be relevant to a large number of people in some way, or be directly affecting a large group

Where’s this happening?

All good TV stories need a visual location.  Boardrooms are bad, factory floors are great.  You actually working in your environment (Falafel shop, shoe repair man, chef) is even better.  And all pertinent people should be available together or at least on the same day.

Is this an Ad for Your Business?

If that’s all you’re looking for; airtime about a product or service, then my TV newscast is not for you.  There are limited exceptions, but your pitch about why YOU should get one, better be really really good.  See above. And below.

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The When/Where/How of Getting Me Your Pitch

The When:
If you’re calling a TV station; do a wee bit of research; don’t call while a newscast is on the air.  Staff is usually busy at that time and won’t have much time to hear you out.  In most newsrooms you can ask for the assignment desk–those are the folks tasked with assigning news stories.  You could also try pitching a reporter directly, but they’re much, much harder to get in touch with.

When calling the assignment desk, call mid morning.  Early morning, we’re trying to get the reporters out the door and get up to speed on the day’s events. That’s usually done by 10am.

EVEN BETTER: e-mail us.

All stations have a viewer response, or story ideas email addresses.  Give it a short, catchy, descriptive headline in the Subject field that will grab our attention. “News Release”, “Big Story”, or “Important News Event” are lame, amateurish grabs that rarely get opened.

The benefit of using email is that we can read it when we have time to focus on it; and if it has a good headline, we will.

In the body of the email:

-keep it short; a page is more than enough

-Don’t give me details I don’t need

-Include the 5W’s of journalism: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How if relevant.

-Include contact info including a cell phone so we can reach you.

Pitching Don’ts:

Don’t tell me “all your friends are interested in your business, event, problem  or product, so you think all my viewers should be too”.  Of course they are, or they wouldn’t be your friends.  I get hundreds of pitches a week; yours has to be truly unique, not just popular among your friends.

Don’t send a press release or e-mail out and then be unavailable, or unreachable.  If I call you, its likely because I’m going to want something on the day you reach out, ie. TODAY.
Don’t go on and on on the phone.. practice giving me your pitch in 3-4 sentences.  If you can’t do that, I’m going to have a hard time giving it to my viewers in the minute or two that we have on TV.
KNOW who you’re pitching to.  I can’t tell you how many free cd’s I get mailled to me, with follow up offers to have a band come on my newscast.  We don’t run music news or entertainment. It’s good practice to watch the newscast you’re pitching to and make sure there’s a fit.
If not, check around for other programs that might be suited to what you have in mind.
Don’t take rejection personally. I get hundreds of pitches… so the bar is pretty high.  If I don’t like your story, ask if you can send me your contact info to be kept on file.  We often call people about future stories.
Don’t pitch a feature on a busy news day, ie Election Day, or on a day when there’s been a triple murder.  BUT if you have something relevant to a breaking story today (ie. you’ve witnessed election fraud or ballot box stuffing, or know the victims in that murder)–call in. Please!
NO JARGON!  Distill your story down to what would interest regular folks…  If I can’t understand your release or e-mail, I can’t expect my viewers to either, and  I’ll probably file it under “g”.
Don’t expect veto power, or for the story to turn out as you expect.  Journalists almost never let people see their stories before they’re done.  If you’re concerned about how you’re going to be included in the story, ask the reporter to clarify.
Don’t Spam me. Please don’t send a copy of the press release, or your email every day, and/or call every day.  That gets annoying, clutters up my inbox and my voicemail, and takes me away from other work.  Me personally, I like one email, and I’m ok with one call on the day-of. The media will always call you if we’re interested– If you’re phone’s not ringing, it’s likely because we’re not.

Also, don’t expect a reply to your request, email and/or news release.  We get literally HUNDREDS of requests for coverage each day.  We can’t possibly reply or RSVP to each one. Sorry.

How to use Social Media to Pitch the Media

I troll Twitter all the time.  I will frequently Tweet out when I’m looking for a person, someone who’s had an experience related to a news story that’s in the works,  so follow me (@TVChick13), and other journalists and engage with us.  And again..if I tweet today, know that I probably need it today.  Be available… or suggest someone else that might be good.  Another good way to be in touch with the media is to “Like” media FB pages, as frequently we ask for input there too.

One final note; always take photos and video of news you see, problems you’re having, battles you’re fighting or other important happenings.  Examples would be, you find black mould in your hotel room, you see a house fire, you think someone’s trying to pull a fast one on you, or you find a finger in your chili.  Photos and video make the story MUCH more than it would be if it was just your words after the event is over.  You know the saying, “a picture’s worth 1000 words?”  It ain’t a cliche for nothin’.

Courtesy fineartamerica.com
Courtesy fineartamerica.com

-Erin is a Calgary-based TV News Producer.  I’m happy to answer your questions on this subject.  Please post ’em in the comments section.

What the Modelling Industry Taught Me

erin modelling 7.jpg 7Sitting in an office beside my mother, I was nervous.  I’d been called in by my small town local modelling agency to meet a big city scout. A steady stream of girls were going in and coming out of the office she’d comandeered to pore over us and judge our fitness in the “real world” of modelling.  She flipped quickly through my book of photographs, aka The Portfolio, then peered over her glasses at me, apprising my value.

“Stand up please”. I stood.

“Turn around.” I complied.

“You’re very attractive.  You have a good look. Your height is excellent for your age. But..” and here she turned to my mother, “She needs to lose about 10-15 pounds.”

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was one of those turning points in my life.

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My mother pursed her lips into a smile and stood up. “Thank you.  We’ll think about that.”

In the car afterwards, my mind swirled.  Was I fat? She liked me, but I needed to lose weight? 10-15 pounds?  I was 5’8″ and 125 pounds.  By today’s body mass index indicator that borders on underweight, though I didn’t know that then. I thought I looked fine, and certainly had no idea how I’d begin to lose so much weight.  But didn’t this woman from Toronto with the fancy glasses and the pencil, and the stack of hopeful girls’ comp cards know better?

“Mom, what do you think?”

“I think that woman is out to lunch.  Lose weight?!  You?  No way.  If they don’t like you as you are now, they’ll never be happy with you.  And I think you look perfect.”

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In my 14 year old mind, that made sense, and looking back, I can see I was relieved at my mothers response.  Of course I was struggling with body issues, as every teen girl does. I knew I was skinny, but looking myself over later that night, I had no idea where my body would even begin to shed that much weight from. I could already see my abs and ribs; I had hips and a butt, but Toronto thought I needed to be skinnier?  I rolled my eyes: no thanks.

Weeks later when my agency asked if they should schedule a follow up with the bespectacled fancy-lady from the big city, I told them no.  I know plenty of other girls who would have started eating carrot sticks the moment it was suggested, but that wasn’t for me.erin modelling hair

SMART PARENTS

I can thank smart, reasonable and supportive parents for steering me out of what could have been a potentially bad situation. They raised me to eat food; real food.  Meat, potatoes, vegetables.  Pop (or soda for my American cousins) was had ONCE a week.  Cookies only occasionally. (In fact cookies were so rare and coveted on our house, me and my three siblings would tear open the package, count out the cookies, divide by 4 and write it down so we knew exactly who got how much.)  Our family ate healthy, and cooked at home. Dinners out happened only once a month, max. And far from the Honey Boo Boo mammas out there, my parents were not desperate for fame, stardom, money or the ability to brag to the neighbours that their daughter was a top model.

erin modelling goodlife ad 2I took a different route in modelling instead; I worked locally, and often.  I helped put myself through school doing local newspaper spreads, fitness ads, and fashion shows at all the local malls. I was even a “fit model” for the ol’ Kettle Creek Clothing Company (remember that, Ontario?), and all their Size 8 clothing was based on MY figure. Again, I didn’t know it at the time, but that was a big thumbs-up for me and my decisions about modelling, my weight, and my self esteem. erin modelling wedding fashion show-newspaper

GROWING CONFIDENCE

I learned by getting those small jobs that my body was just fine.  And with every fashion show I booked, I gained confidence.  A shy teenager, I learned with real-world experience, that all I had to do was pretend to be confident when I didn’t yet feel it, and people believed I was.  And when people believe in your confidence, it boosts you even further, and eventually that faux-confidence becomes the real deal.

I learned poise; and how to look graceful.  I learned how to apply makeup to look both theatrical for the runway, and professional when posing in photos that would eventually be used in the business world.erin modelling long hair yello background Those skills would help me later in life as a budding TV reporter and anchor.

I also learned accounting; I had to bill my agency, and keep records about what work I’d been paid for and what was still owed.  I had to do my taxes as a self-employed individual. That knowledge is still helping me today.

So I may not have my own TV show; a multi-million dollar contract .. but…I’d like to think I’m a normal human being, with normal habits, a good level of confidence and a sense of adventure.  I don’t even wonder what kind of person I might have become had I started on those carrot sticks…