Being a Multi-Faceted Woman With More Than Inc.
Hi beautiful TSC readers, I’m beyond humbled to be here. My name is Jordan, I’m a former Miss Arizona USA, professional model, founder of the female empowerment company More Than Inc, host of the I Am More Than Podcast, self acceptance advocate & a new bride! In order to understand the mission behind my company, it’s important to get a glimpse of my story.
Let’s rewind to 2018.
I’ve finally accomplished my life-long dream of becoming a full-time model in New York City. I was booked from 9-5 every day running from fittings, to castings, to shoots, living the exhausting life of a model. I always imagined being a professional model would be very glamorous, just like how you see on TV and on the highlight reels on Insta. But I quickly learned it’s rarely glamorous and the hustle never stops. Still, I felt grateful to be modeling and was constantly hopeful I’d book a life-changing job that would make the hustle feel worth it.
One particular day, I was booked with 4 fittings. And in-between I had a casting for a new client in Times Square. It’s the middle of winter. I’m carrying what feels like a 50 lbs bag of things and am literally sprinting so I’m not late. I get to the casting, and immediately the woman tells me to remove my clothing to be measured.
This wasn’t uncommon, clients typically measure to ensure your measurements align with what’s listed on your comp card. However, it’s always done in a private room. This particular woman asked me to undress my bra and underwear so she could measure me in front of a room of about 8 men. I hesitated and said I’d prefer she measure me in private, where the room proceeded to roll their eyes as if I was some prima donna.
She began to aggressively move the tape measure around my body as she shouted out my measurements to the room of people.
After each measurement they would comment their thoughts “her legs are a ¼ inch over and her waist is ½ over but her arms are ⅛ under…” They continued to talk about me as if I wasn’t standing right in front of them…this was very triggering for me. You see at this point in my life, I had finally overcome some severe body image and confidence issues. But this experience was bringing back a flood of emotions and I could feel the tears begin to build up. Suddenly a thought came into my mind so strongly it jolted me…I am more than a measurement.
That one affirmation changed my life in an unexpected way. I had a newfound gratitude for the traumatic, wild, and exciting experiences I had over the last 5 years. It felt as if all those moments prepared me for something so much bigger than modeling, that’s when MORE THAN was born.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I grew up in a small town in Colorado with dreams of becoming a professional model. I’d cut out images from Seventeen and Glamour Magazine, pose in front of the mirror, force my family to take photos of me, and dream of the day I’d be the model young girls looked up to. I was in 7th grade when the boy I liked told me I was too fat to be a model. And that’s when I began equating my weight with my worth.
I’d love to give you a more in depth look at my journey, but for the sake of this post, I’ll give ya the spark note version. If you want to hear more details of my story, check out our first podcast episode Introducing More Than.
I finally pushed myself to give modeling a try when I was 17, freshman year at ASU. I went to an open casting call at FORD in Arizona where I was told by the agent “you’re beautiful, but don’t have the measurements that are necessary for the industry” and modeling wasn’t for me. She affirmed every insecurity of mine without even knowing me, which is when all the negative self talk I’d been feeding myself for years was validated.
During this time, I was having some serious health issues, and spent more time at the Mayo Clinic than I did in class. Doctors originally thought I could have a tumor. And after months of testing, contradicting diagnoses and no real answers, I was prescribed 13 different medications to manage my symptoms.
Thankfully, my family also relocated to Arizona during this time so I moved home to focus entirely on my health.
I began studying nutrition out of necessity, desperate to get off this medication and heal naturally so I could feel like myself again. A college friend introduced me to a personal trainer who had similar health issues to me. And he promised if I trained with him for 3 months I would get off all medication.
Sure enough, 90 days later I was off my medication and began feeling healthy from the inside out. The gym I trained at also happened to train fitness competitors, who at the time were my idea of “perfect health.” I wanted to push myself, and decided to sign up to compete in a fitness competition. Over the next 3 months I trained multiple times a day, restricted myself, and (stupidly) began taking fat burners. As a result, I lost 55 pounds. I remember standing on that stage in my blinged-out hot pink bikini feeling so proud of how far I’d come. I placed in the top 5, and walked off stage anxious to eat potatoes & eggs.
As my family and I walked to the car one of the judges said to me “you belong on the Victoria’s Secret Runway” which reignited my desire to model. The following week I went back to the open casting. And the same agent who previously told me I didn’t have what it took, signed me on the spot.
Shortly afterwards I was approached to compete at Miss Arizona USA. And after a lot of convincing from my sorority sisters I decided to go for it. I walked into pageant weekend with zero experience or expectations, and walked away the newly crowned Miss Arizona USA 2014.
In 6 short months everything about my life changed.
I went from a shy sophomore in college, to a beauty queen and signed model being featured on TV, interviewed for Yahoo! News, Glamor Magazine, Vogue Italia and so many more. All my childhood dreams were coming true and I felt unstoppable. I began speaking to young women at schools about the importance of confidence and going after your goals.
Long story short, as I was training for Miss USA all the destruction I had done to my body the previous year caught up with me, causing severe metabolic damage. Although my workouts and diet weren’t changing, the scale was and I quickly moved from size 0 back to my size 6 body. I went from my most confident self, to my most insecure self in a matter of months. The idea of millions of people seeing me in a bikini at Miss USA was daunting. I showed up to Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a very different mindset than my previous competition, but ready to give it everything I had.
As I stood on stage with 50 other women, I felt adrenaline rush through my body anxiously waiting to hear my name called into the top 15. “ARIZONA!”… I had secured my spot on the live telecast and I was ready to shine. I put on my teeny tiny white bikini, and walked out right after Florida Georgia Line and Nelly finished the chorus of “Cruise.” I didn’t make it to the top 5. But I felt so proud of myself for coming so far and relieved it was over. When I arrived back in Arizona, the local news interviewed me and I was asked how it felt to be considered “one of the largest girls in the competition.” At this time I was a size 6.
My confidence was on a downward spiral and I began to retreat again, just like I did in 7th grade when that stupid boy called me fat.
After passing on my crown a few months later, I stopped modeling. I stopped public speaking, and I became someone I hardly recognized anymore. I went back to school, got a corporate job, and settled in every way. Everything I’d been avoiding in my personal life caught up to me. And hit me like a ton of bricks and I felt overwhelmed, isolated, and trapped. It was a difficult chapter but eventually, I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I got sick of my excuses, sick of this narrative I was giving myself, and determined to become someone I was proud of.
Slowly, I started working on building back some confidence.
I put an extreme focus on self love. I began treating myself with kindness. Started opening up to trusted people around me, nourishing my body, journaling, setting routines, manifesting, and dreaming again. I launched a blog where I started talking about my experiences and my insecurities as a way to vent. And hoped maybe my vulnerability would resonate with others. To my surprise, women started reaching out to me and sharing my blog made them feel less alone. Suddenly I felt seen, supported, and encouraged to start goal setting again.
As I sat at my desk at work in 2016 (reading The Skinny Confidential every day) I began daydreaming about what I wanted my life to look like. So I thought back to being a little girl in her small town, dreaming of being the model in a magazine. I began to visualize how good it would feel to model again. But in my natural size with my newfound confidence and fresh perspective. I called my modeling agent, Terri from Agency AZ, and told her I was ready to model again. But this time I wanted to see if I could make it in New York City. Without hesitation, she welcomed me back to the industry and supported me wholeheartedly. I came home from work, and told my boyfriend I wanted to move to NYC to model, that night we booked a one-way ticket.
Arriving in NYC was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. But I also felt wildly confident at the same time.
After 6 months of hustling, I finally got signed by Wilhelmina models. 3 months later, I was dropped for being too small. Shortly after I was signed by STATE Mgmt, and began working full time. I could write a novel about this crazy chapter. But the feeling of finally accomplishing a goal I had for myself, on my own terms was so gratifying. If you want to hear more about my modeling journey in my own words, check out my solo episode More Than Measurements
I modeled professionally in the city for 4 years. And my favorite part of the industry by far was the incredible women I was meeting on set. They labeled themselves as models. But to me, they were so much MORE THAN a model. They were moms, entrepreneurs, mental health advocates, students, speakers, sisters, daughters, partners, activists. I felt like the label of a model didn’t properly summarize who they were. That’s when I began realizing we are all so much more than the labels we use to define ourselves.
I began wrestling with this concept of a label, and started seeing how big of a role labels play in every woman’s life. In American culture, women have been programmed to define ourselves as a way to let society know who you are, what your value is. It’s easy to put others, and put yourself in a box and hide behind the label you feel encompasses you. So often I hear women say “I’m just a mom” – “I’m just a student” – “I’m just a model” – “I’m just…I’m just…I’m just…” Women are multifaceted, we are so much more than.
I wanted to create a company that would inspire women to step out of the box, out of their comfort zones, and understand that it’s okay to be multifaceted…
In fact, it should be celebrated. It’s okay to be a successful business woman, and also be an incredible mother. It’s okay to be a mother, and have interests, hobby’s, projects, and a life outside the home. And it’s okay to put yourself first, to remain curious, and to embrace all the beautiful labels that overall encompass who you truly are. Creating a safe space remains my highest priority, where women can learn from each other, inspire one another, realize we’re all limitless, and ultimately know they aren’t navigating this life alone.
I defined four broad, yet specific categories to encompass More Than: Mental Health, Health & Wellness, Confidence, and Social Issues. Every conversation, every event, everything we do is intended to bring women together over topics that truly matter. I got my business license on March 3rd, 2020. Shortly after, COVID-19 changed the world as we knew it. My boyfriend and I once again booked one way tickets. This time from NY to Arizona to “wait out” the pandemic, thinking it would last about 2 weeks. My modeling career virtually ended overnight, and I felt disconnected from all the people who were inspiring me. I was craving motivating conversations with women I admired. And wanted to figure out a way to let women all over the world in on these conversations. That’s why I decided to launch the I Am More Than podcast.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve produced 3 seasons with 47 episodes.
My goal in each episode is to interview guests through a deeper lens and discuss topics that aren’t commonly talked about. Whether it’s diving into confidence with Hunter McGrady, More Than Worthy, discussing mental health with Mykenna Dorn, More Than a Meme, taking a holistic approach to health & wellness with Megan Roup, More Than Movement, learning how to be an ally with Tiffany Turner Moon, More Than an Ally, or sharing trauma and triumph with Olivia Jordan, More Than #MeToo. We highlight a wide range of topics, personal stories, and lessons with our community in an effort to make our listeners feel inspired and less alone. I’ve been so impacted by these stories, and it’s been such an honor to have an audience all over the world.
We’ve also designed merchandise as a way for our community to rep our messaging in a chic way. Our affirmation line is my personal favorite, which includes sweatshirts as well as stickers intended to be placed on your mirror to jumpstart your confidence journey with daily affirmations.
Soon, we’ll be hosting meet-ups IRL as a chance for us to all connect and build deep, authentic relationships.
More Than is so much bigger than me, but I created this for women like me.
Women with big goals trying to navigate this crazy life. Women who refuse to be limited, who are tired of hiding behind a label, and who are curious about just how far we can go. I want to be surrounded by community, I want to learn, I want to evolve. And I want to be pushed, which is why this movement and our mission is so meaningful to me. If this resonates with you, I’d love for you to join our community as well. Let’s build this movement together.
8 years ago I was reading The Skinny Confidential every day, now I’m writing my own piece for the blog…crazy what happens when you stop limiting yourself.
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