llana Bryan is pursuing her goal of being a body positive and inspirational model. In Los Angeles, where lifestyle shifts on whims and trends, the city has shaped her in good ways and some challenging ways. She chooses her words carefully when she is using her social media accounts.
“Plus size modeling industry sometimes makes me upset. Women might falsify how big they are, which is the flip of the other side of the industry.”
“The time I grew up, everybody was wearing extra low-cut jeans that barely fit your body. G-strings, low-cut everything, and crop-top everything. There was no dressing your body for what fit your body type. For a long time, I downplayed myself,” Ellana recalls. “ Before she moved to LA to pursue her dreams, Ellana would force herself to dress a certain way to be taken seriously. “I didn’t want to be seen as a sexual object.”
“Luckily, right now, it’s becoming more popular to dress curvy bodies. But at your core, you need to dress for you, no matter where you are. I don’t like when one is portrayed as better than the other. I’ve seen one ‘positive’ model shaming other body types, too.”
“[Mental health stigma] is something I’ve dealt with personally. I’ve felt I’ve had to be a different version of myself. I’ve had to study self-care and find out what makes me really happy and what I really want.” Ellana is determined to put positive energy into the world, and the push and pull of trends in the modeling industry, even as plus size, ‘positive’ models, challenges and complicates that. “I want to do what I do with good intentions.”
Ellana portrays herself as fully herself, a lot of times posting pictures of herself without make up and in normal, everyday clothes. “I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon of curvy models -- I know some people who have gained weight to be a plus size model and who have done things they’re not comfortable with. They still have the mental stigma to be a certain way.”
When Ellana tried to lose weight, some in her circle prompted her to get cosmetic surgery to do so -- but she knew she wanted to lose weight naturally, not get a quick fix! “I did my best to be healthy. I wasn’t gonna lose thirty pounds just to go to a party.” When she hears someone say, “I should just get a boob job,” she checks them asking, “Do you want that, or do you feel like you have to?”
“I’m in between sizes,” she explains, because she’s not signed to a either ‘regular’ or ‘plus size’ modeling agency. It’s just as bad to force a body to gain weight as it is to starve a body to lose weight.
“You’re only gonna be yourself in your life. You should be able to do what you want to do and with the right intentions. Don’t listen to other people about who you should be, and live following your own conscience. You’re gonna have one life only, so don’t wait to do what you want to do.”
“My main goal is to take care of myself.” Ellana finds balance in holistic medicine as well as balanced diet and exercise. “It sounds so simple, but you can get so mad at people, and it’s not their fault. But you need sleep.” When she feels her internal energy is balanced, she knows she can put more goodness into the world. “It’s not just for hippies. I’m still a normal person, I drink with my friends and watch football, but [this lifestyle] is possible for me, a normal girl.”
To see more of Ellana and her journey please follow her @ellanabryan