Butte’s Keanne Lambertson has the skinny on plus-size modeling in the Big Apple.
One of five plus-size women selected nationwide for the “Real Women, Real Adventures’’ contest from PLUS Model Magazine and Always For Me, Lambertson, 24, spent three days earlier this year in New York City learning the modeling ropes.
She’s featured in two pages of the March 2015 issue of PLUS Model Magazine, plus in a video depicting the five models.
“They’re just gorgeous women,” said Sheryl Mayo, Lambertson’s mother and lifetime support system.
Lambertson stands out in one striking regard -- she’s the only model with a physics degree. Brains and beauty go hand-in-hand when she’s in the room.
One criteria of the “Real Women” contest: no entrants could be signed with a modeling agency.
Undaunted by the social pressure of impossibly thin models that adorn typical magazine covers, she ran through the typical model regimen: hair and makeup, fittings, accessorizing, photo tests, lessons on posing and on-air interviews.
“It was act one of the best experiences of my life,” Lambertson told The Montana Standard. “It was really a lot harder than I expected. It’s emotional and mentally draining.”
It took two hours alone with the hair stylist, but she said it was uplifting.
“It was intimidating, but everyone was all really sweet and positive,” she said. “This was all new to me, so the editor and photographer really helped me with it.”
A PLUS Model subscriber, Lambertson entered photos into the “Real Woman” photo shoot on Feb. 9. Within three days, she heard word that she had been selected. By Feb. 16, she was in New York City, suddenly living the life of a model.
“It was a whirlwind,” she added.
Most of the other four models live in New York and actively pursue modeling as a career. All except Lambertson are trying to break into the business.
Lambertson has taken a different professional route. She graduated from Idaho State University in 2014. Back in Butte, she’s studying for her actuary license.
PLUS Model Magazine tries to counteract unhealthy versions of Barbie Doll models whose body parts are sometimes retouched to look disproportionate.
But the “Real Women” event was not one-dimensional.
“Now they’re breaking into more model diversity,” said Lambertson. “It’s really exciting that it includes all sorts of women; not all models are 6-feet tall. It’s not only about physical size, but different ethnicities. It’s a good trend that’s happening, and I’m glad to be part of it. I hope it continues.”
She approached it as she does anything – with the utmost confidence.
“She’s always had an amazing amount of self-confidence,” said Lambertson’s mom, Sheryl. “It’s something you always want every girl in the world to have. I don’t know if I know anyone else who has as much confidence as she does. I’m a chemical engineer, and I never had that kind of confidence.”
Lambertson credits her mother with instilling strong self-esteem.
“She’s always really encouraged me to do whatever I want, which allows me to pursue my passion as a physicist, an actuary and a plus-size model.”
Planning to model only locally in the future, Lambertson is certain about one thing:
She is determined to share what she learned with other young women, especially college freshmen, who may have body issues. She’s writing a blog about her experience and expects to post it by April 1.
Since the March issue came out, Lambertson has had an “overwhelming” number of queries asking her how to become a model.
“The women I met in New York were really, really empowering,” she added. “I want to share my experience of professional women and write about different lifestyles and fashion.”
Big-city modeling isn’t for Lambertson, but she treasures the adventure.
“I think it would be great, but I can’t see myself living in New York or LA area,” she said.
“I’d been there before, but this was a whole new experience. It was well worth it, just getting that exposure and opportunity to appear in a national magazine.”