Enjoy Being YOU! A Blue Fish Interview with Meara Oberdieck
August 03, 2016
We were so excited when Meara Rose Oberdieck agreed to model for us. Meara is smart, funny, beautiful, a classical pianist, and the winner of the Every BODY Model Search sponsored by Plus Model Magazine and Marla Wynne. Next month she will do a cover for the magazine in New York City, but this month she visited us at Blue Fish Clothing, in her home town of Fairfield, Iowa.
We asked Meara about her personal journey around body image:
“Growing up with friends half my size was challenging. At age 14 I was 200 pounds and considered obese. As I got older I would binge, then go on starvation diets. At my smallest I only allowed myself one salad a day and I got down to 130 pounds. I wasn’t any happier. It was a constant struggle to maintain such a low weight, for me, my body wants to be bigger. Now I’ve embraced my body type and I finally feel like I’m at a healthy weight, a weight that I would have found offensively high years ago. I don’t care about bra size or cellulite anymore. I feel good in my body. I eat well, cooking big healthy meals with lots of healthy fats. I don’t count calories or weigh myself anymore, and I love it. It’s important to stay tuned into how foods make you feel and eat consciously. I love dairy, but I can’t eat it. It doesn’t make me feel good, and I realized it’s not healthy for me. You have to figure out what makes you feel good, individually. I love to move my body. But I only do exercise that I enjoy now. I used to force myself to run and do hours of cardio, but now I lift weights. I love dancing salsa, I used to teach belly dance. I love to take spin classes and swim laps when I can as well. It’s important to know what you enjoy and makes you feel healthy, that’s the only way to be able to maintain healthy eating and exercising. Suffering to be beautiful is not healthy. That sounds obvious, but a lot of people do it. I did it.”
What Meara thinks when others are critical:
“People are going to judge and criticize no matter what. I dated guys when I was younger who told me I would only be beautiful if I lost some weight. That was so heartbreaking, but now I know how shallow it is. It has no bearing on the real me. I know some people are even going to criticize me for not being big enough to represent plus size women. I can’t please everyone, there’s always going to be something. What other people say about me doesn’t reflect who I am. I hope I can inspire other women as well. We are all totally unique but with more in common than we realize. By loving ourselves as we are we make the best example for anyone.”
Meara understands what it takes to really dedicate oneself to success:
“I went to University of Iowa on a full scholarship to become a classical pianist. Before recitals I would sometimes practice up to 8 hours a day. On those long days, I had to ice my hands in the evening. It’s similar to training to become a serious athlete, on a micro level. Now I teach, I write my own songs, I’m working on my singing voice. I’m happy. I especially love teaching high school kids, kids who want to be challenged, want to learn. It’s very gratifying.”
“What inspires me are women who don’t fit the classic “beauty type” who are putting themselves out there, who are having success in media, in film and in music. They’re not letting their body type determine what they can accomplish. I was inspired by (plus-size model) Ashley Graham, I was actually staying across the street from her when I first moved to Brooklyn. People criticize her for being too big, and for losing weight. She’s pretty happy with being herself. I think she’s absolutely amazing, and I look at her and think, I could do this!”
On wearing Blue Fish Clothing:
“Blue Fish clothing is so comfortable! I love that it’s made close to home and with sustainable materials. The organic cotton is so soft and smooth on my skin and the styles are so unique! Thank you so much for having me, Blue Fish!”
Meara’s message to you:
“I want people to know that you have to figure out what works for you, stay tuned into your body, notice how things make you feel. Listen to your inner voice. Don’t try to force yourself to be something different than who you really are. Who you are is different than anyone else and that is a good and beautiful thing. I hope I can inspire a few friends, a few people to feel good about themselves.”
During a recent photoshoot, we were graced with the company of an extraordinary piece of furniture—a beautiful grandfather chair.
This colorful chair is truly original, and that’s exactly what drew Blue Fish founder and owner Jennifer Barclay to it in the first place.