Model Search Finalists

 [powr-poll id=949149b2_1495725560]

Grace Caroline:

Hi ladies!! :)

I first wanted to say how truly thankful and humbled I feel to be one of 10 candidates for this position. To anyone who sent in a video- your time is coming, do not stop!

My name is Grace Caroline, I am 20 years old and from Houston, Texas. My fascination with the fitness industry began my freshman year in college. After my first semester at Mississippi State University, I decided to stay home to help my family in light of some circumstances. During that semester I felt very lost, alone, and isolated. The only thing pulling me through was learning about fitness and wellness. The more I learned about fitness, the deeper in love I became with it. With the idea that no, you cannot control what's going on outside of your body but you CAN control what is going into it. As the semester went on I decided to move out to California, where my now husband is stationed in the Navy. We got married and two months later I found out I was pregnant. You can probably imagine the sheer shock that first flashed through my mind, the idea of telling anyone was truly terrifying. I could only imagine the responses from family, teachers, and peers, who wanted "so much more for me". "What a shame.", "What a waste", "Don't bring a baby into this". Getting through the negativity was and still is a continuous process. My daughter was born February 14th 2017, this whole journey comes to a peak by saying that this is for her. I will show her that your passion can translate into a career, and that through it all, stay true to who you are. With that being said, I have made it a personal goal to reach the girls battling their demons of self hate. I have a huge passion to share, not just the physical fitness industry, but the personal wellness, the confidence, the mental and physical strength that comes along with it. I have such a strong desire to reach girls struggling with feeling "okay" about their selves, lives, and situations. This is about becoming the BEST version of yourself. This is about understanding YOU contain the power to become/get through whatever you desire. This is about realizing it is no longer acceptable to be "okay", feel "okay, with yourself. Your worth far exceeds that of "okay". This is about YOU.

 

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Adrienne Ford:

My name is Adrienne Ford and I am 24 years old, from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in graduate school, studying to be a Physician Assistant. My story starts in middle school. I, like many women, have struggled with insecurities and self doubt for as long as I can remember. I have always been diagnosed with eczema, a very common skin condition. However, in 7th grade I broke out in a tremendous rash all over my body. My skin was itchy, peeling, painful, and from the scratching became raw with open wounds from essentially head to toe. My hair began to fall out, my eyebrows disappeared, and I (and my doctors) had no idea what was wrong with me. This was devastating, and frankly embarrassing, as a middle school girl. I began wearing nylon (skin color) tights to school to try and cover up the rash, and a significant memory of mine, was one day in class, I reached down to pull up and adjust the nylons. A few boys noticed what I was doing, pointed at me laughing and criticizing, exclaiming “Ew! What are you doing to your skin?”. Rumors also began to spread about me that I had cancer. Imagine going through a painful sickness, not knowing what is wrong with your body yourself, and all the while being tormented and talked about behind your back. It left me feeling very insecure and scarred me emotionally. Eventually, it was figured out that through all of the scratching, my skin had become severely infected. Despite the infection healing, my skin became scarred in various places and with that, a lot of the insecurities and self doubt were left behind too.  A few years ago though, things began to change. I am still not perfect, and I definitely have my days and times of feeling insecure, but what I have learned over time is that it doesn't matter. It doesn’t matter what others say, what others think, its about me, and how I feel about myself. My skin is beautiful the way it is, scars and all. 

As women, most of us tend to have insecurities. Whether it is our skin, our hair, our bodies, our backgrounds, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the purses we carry… What I want to share and hopefully inspire is that none of those things truly matter. What matters is that if you can find love for yourself, despite your insecurities, then anything is possible. Be empowered, and love yourself, you never know what will happen.

A big thanks to the Buffbunny Collection team for listening to my story and giving me the opportunity to share it and hopefully empower more women by doing so!

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Brittany Klomp:

My whole life I have struggled with being sick. I was diagnosed with brain cancer at 7 years old and given 9 months to live. I've had  over 20 brain surgeries and 2years worth of chemotherapy. No one believed I would make it but God had a different plan. He miraculously healed me! I still have the cancer but it's disappearing without any treatment! The doctors have never seen this before(totally a God thing). I believe our God is a healer and I'm living proof! Growing up I was never allowed to play sports and still can't, because the risk of hitting my head is too great, so recently I decided to start getting into #weightlifting and #fitness which has become my safe sport. The message I want to give all of you is no matter what you're struggling with whether it be physical, or emotional just know that you can find #healing and #hope in Jesus. He loves you and wants to know you. Yes YOU! With Him all things are possible!

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Sydney Maggio:

My fitness journey didn't have a beautiful start, in fact it was the opposite. After I was raped, my body was gaining quickly and I felt like I was out of all control. After putting on 40 extra pounds, my "heaviest" was changing daily. I was scared of being 130 pounds again so my mind decided to make me ugly, to myself. It wasn't until I posted what had happened on Facebook for all to see that I was able to see the weight come off. I choose health and fitness to find strength and love for myself again.

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Sarah Mckinnon:

Hi there! My name is Sarah McKinnon. I am 20 years old and from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I recently achieved my social work diploma and I am continuing my studies in the fall to obtain my bachelor’s degree. I have a passion to help people discover how to be the best that they can be and realize their full potential. I am in the process of taking my ISSA personal training and sports nutrition courses and hope to offer online fitness and nutrition coaching on the side as I go to school. I recently moved into my very first apartment which is a huge change for me - both exciting and scary! I am so close to my mom and my dog, Harley, so not seeing them every day is tough.

My fitness journey began when I was 9 years old. I lost my father to meningitis and I turned to a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms. I experimented with drugs and alcohol, and I was in a really dark place in my life. I never really figured out how to cope with the loss of my dad so I felt very lost in my teenage years. I developed an eating disorder which I was hospitalized for when I was 16. After I got out of the inpatient treatment program I still felt like something was missing. I was no longer restricting my food intake so I needed control over something in my life. That became fitness. I started watching YouTubers and following fitness influencers on Instagram and they seemed to have this drive and passion and fulfillment in their lives. I wanted that. That led me to go get my first gym membership and dive head first into my fitness journey. I truly believe this saved my life. Every time I was feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, I knew that I could turn to the gym to relieve those strong emotions. Ultimately it allowed me to gain control over my life again.

I am currently prepping for my first bikini competition which has taught me more about myself that I ever thought possible. I have discovered my unlimited capacity for motivation, determination, passion, going after my goals, listening to my body, and the importance of loving myself at every weight in the process. I am so much more than my weight, and my body fat percentage. I am learning to view food as fuel and something to nourish your body and soul with, rather than as something that is “good” or “bad.” I want to empower others to do whatever they set their minds to. Move past your doubt. Believe in your dreams. Love yourself no matter what life throws your way. Your ability to achieve greatness and pure bliss in life is limitless.

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Suzy Parish: 

Hello! My name is Suzy and I'm from a lovely little town called Dorking in England. I don't really have many exciting facts about myself, but I have size 1.5 feet, can lick my elbow and I recently competed in a pole dance competition? This is the first time I've spoken publicly about my story and it's a little bit scary for me so please be kind!!! A few years ago I was diagnosed with bulimia, as well as anxiety and depression; I ended up taking antidepressants and being referred to an eating disorder clinic (I don't want to bore you or make you feel sad so I'll cut to the happy bit!).. When I was going through recovery, I joined the gym to get a healthier relationship with my body.. however, I was absolutely terrified by all the big scary men and had no idea what I was doing! This is where Heidi comes in!! I learnt everything I know from her YouTube channel not only in terms of lifting but also in confidence and self love!! I can't put into words how much my life have changed as a result, and whilst I know my body is far from perfect, I've learnt to love it exactly the way it is - I'm the happiest I've ever been (I even recently came off medication!). If I'm totally honest, I didn't tell anyone I'd entered the contest as I just never thought I would ever stand a chance! I am so so incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and even if I get no further than this, the fact I've made the top 10 means the world to me. It's also been a big step for me to finally speak openly and honestly about my story, so I'm thankful I was given the chance to do so. Heidi and her brand have inspired and helped me so much through my recovery, so I can't describe how passionate I am to reinforce everything the brand stands for and hopefully help others the way that Heidi has helped me (regardless of the competition)! Thank you Heidi for such a wonderful opportunity (I haven't stopped pinching myself, I can't believe it!), and good luck to the other beautiful girls! 

 

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Janna Quintero:

Hi my name is Janna. I'm a Marine Corps Veteran, I’m married and have 2 beautiful children.  While serving on active duty I suffered a traumatic injury resulting in 2 major pelvic surgeries within 6 months. My cartilage in my lower pelvis deteriorated so they attempted to fuse my pelvic bones together, which failed. They attempted a 2nd time with a more aggressive approach. I currently have two plates and ten screws….Ouch! That surgery also failed and the hardware is the only thing keeping my pelvis stable. I was bedridden for several months, highly medicated, depressed and in a wheelchair for 2-3 years. This was the lowest point of my life bc I've always been physically active. I was told I will never be able to walk long distances, stand for long periods of time, or have anymore kids! I was eventually medically separated after serving 5 yrs in the Marines. I wasn't getting much help from Drs. and failure wasn't an option. After some research I turned to fitness as my only hope. I hired a personal trainer almost 3 years ago and I have since then competed in 2 NPC bikini competitions, placing 2nd in my last show. I will never be 100% physically and every day isn't always easy for me. I still struggle with pain and there is a lot that I cannot do but the mind is a powerful thing. I'm stronger than I've ever been mentally and I will never let anyone tell me that I can't do something and you shouldn't either! You are strong! You are beautiful! And you can do anything! I want to inspire others! I want to help you get through you're challenges/struggles bc I know we all have obstacles in our lives and together we can overcome them. <3

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Alexis Quiterio:

I was introduced to exercise and fitness at the young age of 3. Growing up, gymnastics was my life. So for the better of 16 years I had grown up with an amazing group of empowering women, knowing this as the purest form of teamwork, fulfillment, and family. When I entered high school, I was introduced to pole-vaulting, which I continued to my sophomore year of college.

            At the time, I perceived my sports to be my best teacher in life… but little did I know how that part of my journey was only the beginning of what made me into the woman I am today.

            When I was 15 years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. How could this happen to MY mom?! She was always so healthy and active, not to mention the nicest and most caring person in the world. She didn’t deserve this. My world turned upside-down and everything changed.

            So what changed in the following years after my mom was diagnosed? For starters, I found my resilience and dedication to living the absolute best and happiest life I could live while empowering others to do the same. I live by example. After a thorough introduction to corporate America, I found that I had the temperament and skills to work for myself. Stepping out on my own was the best risk I ever took because now I have the chance to help others find their truth and happiness both physically and mentally. I am writing a book on 30 millionaires, in their 20’s, interviewing them to see HOW they turned their passions into a lifestyle.

            Life is such a blessing and too short to be doing anything that isn’t true to your authentic self. Everyone was put on this earth with a PURPOSE and deserves to know what that purpose is.

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Danna Richards:

Hi, I'm Danna, a small town girl from Montana. In High School, I was all set to be a College athlete. My dreams quickly came to a halt when I ended up having to get major spinal surgery (spinal fusion of 14 vertebrae for severe scoliosis). It was a year and a half recovery, and since I couldn't do much of anything active in that time, I shifted my focus to music and songwriting. I found a new passion and pursued it full force moving to Boston and going to Berklee College of Music. Well, we musicians can tend to live a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, and I found myself 30 pounds overweight, feeling weak and tired and I was like ... nuh uhh girlfriend! That was not the life I wanted. I went to a trainer to help me get into shape, and due to my spinal fusion (I can't twist or bend my back, nor can I put any weight on my shoulders or raise any weight above my head) I had difficulty doing the majority of exercises I was given. The trainer basically got frustrated with me and told me that I would never get the body I wanted. He mistook my physical limitations for being unmotivated. This made me work extra hard to figure it out for myself, and find exercises that do work for my body. My goal was to make the weakest part of my body (my back) my strongest! I did it! In the beginning I couldn't even do 1 pull-up, now I can do 8. I lost 30 pounds, gained a ton of muscle and feel so empowered and strong. My mission is to help other women do the same! No matter your limitations, with a little creativity and a lot of hard work, anything is possible. The day I took my before photo was the day I decided to start loving myself and my body for what it can do for me no matter what it looked like. This self love gave me so much momentum and strength, and I want every woman to feel and experience that. Thank you for hearing my story! It is an honor to be paired up with such amazing women with stories of inspiration. Lets all lift each other up. <3

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Autumm Vinciquerra:

I will never forget the day I opened my eyes and realized my mother would never be the woman I needed her to be. I longed for her everyday while she was busy snorting cocaine and injecting poison into  her veins. I never understood why I wasn't enough and eventually I started to resent her. I hated her so much. I felt so lonely. I watched all of my friends and their mothers as I struggled to grow as a woman by myself. When I was a sophomore in college, I was flying down to Florida to visit my half sister. On my way, during a delay, I got a phone call from my long lost uncle who told me that my mom died. All of the pain I had been holding in came out in floods in the airport. I couldn't breathe. I felt relief but also abandonment, worthlessness, and intense heartbreak. I remembered the last time I saw my mom. She threatened to kill herself in front of my little brother and caused mass chaos to break out between my sister and myself. After her funeral I had to clean out her apartment. I found diaries. My sister refused to read them knowing all she would find would be pain. I read all of them. I started to see why my mom turned to drugs. She had been through every horrible thing in life and just couldn't deal with it. From that point on my life was changed for the better. I changed my major to psychology and started to dig deep into mental illness and drug addiction. Today (with the help of my dad, grandparents, uncle, best friend, and most importantly God) I am in graduate school for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (shout out to Kent State)! I am working at a mental health facility called Crossroads for kids and teens. My job is probably one of the hardest in the world. I have so many kids struggling with more trauma than any of us could imagine. But I get to help them everyday. I get to make an impact everyday. I want to be part of the BuffBunny team to prove to my kids that no matter what you've been through you can reach any dream you ever have. I will never stop pursuing my dreams until I get them. Not only do my kids need a great role model but so many women in the world do. I work myself to the bone not only at work and school but also at the gym. I am no "model" but I am proud of the thick muscular body that I have worked to achieve. Heidi's clothing line has empowered me even more and I want to show all other women that you don't need to be a size 0 to wear crop tops and leggings. Thank you so much for reading and I hope I can represent the BuffBunny team and family. I love you and I won't let you down!