From swimwear modelling in Sayulita to embracing the ‘label’ of curve model, local stunner Courtney Lando sits down with Susie to talk nutrition, New York casting calls and her can’t-live-without teddy bear coat from Turnabout…
Turnabout Style Talks with Courtney Lando
Mama!!! Thank you for sitting down with me. Let’s jump right in. I never, EVER see you not looking put together. How do you keep it so pulled together on the working mom treadmill?!
Thank you - but I don’t always feel pulled together! I do try to make an effort. I believe it all starts with being organized and having a daily routine that works for you. My early morning routine is quick and simple – it comes down to the right skincare and hair/makeup products that I know work for me. When I’m in a hurry, dry shampoo is my best friend! My go-to make up products are Benefit Eyebrow ‘Gimme Brow’ Gel, L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara, Dior Lip Glow and Make Up Forever HD concealer - which I always have stashed in my purse for touch-ups. I also like to make sure my current wardrobe is working for me, and that usually consists of well-fitting, basic pieces that I interchange. On a super busy day I plan ahead - from the outfit to hair/make-up. If I have a special event I’ll hang my outfit out the night before. I often ask my stylish friends for fashion advice. And if I see a person with great style, I will often stop and ask them about a certain item they’re wearing. I’m interested in new designers and trends but I’m still drawn to a more classic look.
I would say you’re classic with a modern touch, absolutely. OK so you and I have known each other since our daughters were little, but it’s a treat to also work with you so often. But working locally isn’t something you do too often, right?
No, I don’t work a lot locally because the plus-size modelling work is limited in Vancouver. For bigger jobs, I usually travel to the U.S. and sometimes Europe. I’m happy to see that the market here is slowly expanding and there’s a little more diversity now in Vancouver. I am grateful for each modelling opportunity, but my first choice is to work locally to be close to my family... plus seeing you on the job is an added bonus!
(laughing) Ha, yes! And just recently we connected that you and Ashley Graham worked together as young models living in New York, years ago. She and I never met, but I admire her like crazy on so many levels.
Yes, I first met Ashely at a casting in New York. I was just starting my plus-size modelling career and we were both at the same casting. Naturally I was feeling a bit anxious, I didn’t know anyone, then suddenly Ashley came bouncing in and I was blown away by her confidence, enthusiasm and general attitude. She instantly lifted my spirits! I admire her too and think she is a great advocate for plus-size women and young girls everywhere.
Let’s dive into the curve model thing. I have never actually dressed you in an extended size, but that niche is where you earn your living. Go figure, pun intended…
Haha, yes I know - it is confusing! People like to tell me often ‘you are NOT a curve model OR a plus-size model’ but this is what the fashion world has labelled me as. I consider myself curvy but simply “normal size”, or better yet - ‘my size’. Yet when people ask me what I do for a living, I am reluctant to say model because I still feel the need to clarify with ‘plus size’ model and then I get a weird blank stare followed by ‘but wait, what??’ In the fashion world the definition of a plus size model is usually identified as U.S. sizes 8 - 16. If you consider the average size of a North American woman is a size 10/12, then what is the fashion industry saying to us? The term plus size can be isolating in nature yet I don’t personally get bothered by the label, it’s just a label. Curve model is better.
Tell us about some of your favourite campaign work in the U.S. market and what it’s like being on the road as a working mum.
Some of my most memorable campaign work was with “Lands End” where we shot swimwear for a week in Sayulita, Mexico. I got to work with some friends, swim in the ocean and drink fresh smoothies everyday.
In the beginning travelling for shoots was an exciting adventure. It became increasingly hard once I had my family. I felt torn being far away. Now that my kids are a little older, I look forward to the travel, however I am a little more selective. I don't like to be away from home for long. I feel lucky to have a supportive ‘hands-on’ husband and a mother who is so helpful with our children.
Your work in nutrition also inspires me and is close to my heart, as you and my sister Andrea are both Registered Holistic Nutritionists. Describe that journey.
As a UBC Kinesiology graduate many of my clients had nutritional concerns. This prompted me to dive deeper into the world of Holistic Nutrition. There is just so much controversial information out there and I wanted to investigate and learn more for my myself, my clients and my kids.
Well and that must play into your other life as a model in a big way. Does one inspire the other?
Yes, it absolutely does. Being healthy was always more important to me than fitting in a sample size. It’s hard when society places so much emphasis on the way you look on the outside. Many models I was surrounded by as a teen took dangerous measures to lose weight and stay thin. Dieting and being thin was not sustainable for me. I was miserable when I was trying to be a straight-sized model as I have a naturally curvy and athletic frame. Learning how to fuel myself with proper nutrition has been life-changing for me. Eating well just makes you feel good – from the inside out.
And it was hard for us to focus during this shoot because we were surrounded by so many amazing threads from Turnabout. You’re a consignor here as well as a shopper, and I feel like we’re in a candy store – and EVERYTHING looks awesome on you.
I love playing dress up, always have!! I appreciate well-made clothing and at Turnabout, it’s easy for me to get tempted. I love trying on new and exciting pieces in the store!
Joy Mauro, our founder, was beyond excited when we cast you to do some modelling for us. (laughing) You have serious fans in the town…
Thank you so much. I think the costumers of all ages might appreciate seeing a curvier, more relatable “mom” in the clothing? People like seeing something different, something they can see in themselves.
I couldn’t agree more. And I’m sure you’re the same, but I despise wasting food as much as I despise a closet stuffed with items I don’t wear or need. That’s what I love about the circular economy of luxury consignment. Take what you need, but eat what you take, right?
Definitely!! I am happy to be doing something to help the environment. Buying consignment and not being wasteful with food are two ways I feel can have a big impact on reducing our footprint.
What three fall pieces can you not live without this season?
My brown teddy coat from Turnabout, my Chloe military rain-boots and my high-waisted denim.
Courtney it’s always a treat to have you on set. Thank you for sitting down with me, beauty.
It was a pleasure, Susie.