Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Blog

Filtering by Category: Travel

A Reflection on Bikini Beach Photos with Supermodels

Danika Brysha

7270.9481541

I recently got back from a trip to Miami with two friends.  Did I say friends?  I meant supermodels...

I spent so many years of my life trying to lose weight.  I wanted to be a model.  I wanted to be those pictures of my friends above.  I wanted to be recognized as the beautiful one- the one that society takes and puts a big skinny stamp on saying "you're special".  I wanted to be anything but the chubby, class clown with tons of friends and no boyfriends.  And so I spent 15 years dieting, bingeing, throwing up my meals, taking appetite suppressing drugs, and starving- and then beating myself up over the fact that my willpower wasn't strong enough to get me to where I needed to be.  The place where I thought happiness lived. Somewhere in the gap between my thighs.

It took me a long time but I finally got burnt out and decided I was ok with the hand I'd been dealt.  I started focusing on my strengths rather than shortcomings.  I was tall and felt beautiful most days, and years of having to work to get people to like me landed me one kick-ass personality and some impressive bantering skills. And then one day while at Bank of America, I was scouted and signed with a modeling agency.  At a size 14.  I would be what the industry calls a "plus size" model.  I'd been called a lot of names in my life from "whale" to "fat girl" to a "liability"- but this certainly had a more positive ring to it.  I got to live my dream without trying to be someone I wasn't. And three years later I'm living in New York City as a full-time, plus-size model with my face plastered up on Wilhelmina New York's website. A dream come true- and one that came to fruition when I finally stopped trying to be somebody I wasn't.

But with finding extreme love for yourself comes a new desire to really take care of yourself.  I finally realized my value and decided I wanted to be the best possible version of me.  Through nutrition, exercise, meditation, and a lot of self-reflection- I managed to reinvent myself in the last 9 months that I've been a Manhattan resident. I've lost 30lbs and various jobs but I've chosen my health as a priority. My mind is functioning at a level I couldn't even imagine and I feel more joy, energy, and clarity than ever before.  I am beginning to live my passion and purpose and it has come along with a new found sense of confidence.

Which is important when you take a vacation to Miami with supermodels.  Because honestly, three years ago, you could have paid me $10,000 and given me a free trip to the Greek Islands and I still wouldn't have dreamed about putting on a bikini and posing for a picture in the Aegean Sea. But when my friend Holly suggested a primarily free weekend trip to Miami, the new Danika said HELL YES!

And it ended up being the perfect weekend getaway.  We relaxed on the beach, cooked healthy dinners at home, spent time meditating and journaling, and managed to soberly out-twerk everybody at club LIV.  But throughout the entire weekend, I still found myself feeling different.  Identifying myself as the "big friend". Feeling like the third wheel to two bombshells and having to make up for my shortcomings with my exuberant personality and ability to ask strangers questions for an hour straight without being bothered that they haven't even asked how to pronounce my weird Croatian hybrid of a name.  Dan-uh-kuh. Thanks for asking.

And so on the last day, when our tans were the darkest they'd be getting, Holly and Alexis suggested a group bikini photo by the ocean.  I quickly responded "I'm good, I'm just really comfortable" which really meant "I'm not good and I'm really uncomfortable posing next to you freak shows".  But because I am quite possibly the biggest pushover in all of the land, I finally obliged and struck my pose for the 75-year old Italian men that were one Instagram filter away from a heart attack- and for the one picture ever that I hoped for a finger over the lens, they managed to snap with pure precision.

We returned to our chairs and I requested full approval before posting rights.  And then it happened. I really looked at the photo.  Rather than seeing some version of negative thoughts and assumptions of my differences, I had no option but to admit that I looked GOD DAMN AMAZING! And I also looked just like my friends. Did I say friends? I meant supermodels.

The supermodels who had spent the weekend equally concerned with their own bodies. All of us too busy tearing ourselves down inside to notice that we were all in this together.  Feeling "bloated" or "saggy" or "too pale" or "not toned".  The ones who asked if they looked good in their outfits and the ones that borrowed MY makeup and wanted to know how I ate and what I was cooking and what kind of workout I did at the gym.

And something really struck me.  Even the girls that the media prints in the pages of your magazines- in store windows and taped to teenager's (and murderer's) walls have the same insecurities that we all do.  They wake up having days when they feel amazing but they also wake up feeling less than their best quite often.  They're looking for the latest beauty tips, the best workouts, and the healthiest dinners. They're feeling insecure in their skin because not even THEY feel like the photoshopped version of themselves that's glued to your fridge in an effort to empower you to stop eating.  Empowerment comes from love by the way, not hate or fear.

And so here I am, sharing my Supermodel Bikini Beach photo with the world.  Because someone out there is looking up to me and wanting what I have. And to be honest I don't blame them.  Cause I look good.

And so do the supermodels.  I mean, my friends.

Health Challenge: Cutting Out Processed Foods… without obsessing

Danika Brysha

I had the privilege of interviewing health and wellness expert, Chelsea Hise-Strate, of Life Balance by Chelsea.  She is like my own personal Dr. Oz.  Except not really anything like that.  I recently decided that I want to do whatever it takes to live my best life ever and that it was time to start questioning almost every behavior that I have.  I told Chelsea this and she decided to give me a personal challenge.  The challenge was to not eat any processed foods for one week and to keep a food journal documenting what I ate, when I ate it, and how I was feeling.  Chelsea sent me over a cheat sheet and some info for my first day of the challenge which you can see here.  Check out the video to see how the challenge went.  Spoiler alert:  I’m addicted to clean eating!

And if you missed the original interview, you can see it here

There you have it.  I’ve been sucked in to the healthy living lifestyle and I don’t see myself leaving it any time soon.  I love that feeling when something just clicks and you know you are on to something.  I knew I could do the challenge but I had no idea just how much it would change my body and ultimately my life.  If I feel this great after a week of eating like this then I can’t imagine how I’ll be feeling in a few months or even years.  I’ve always had some acne and it has been clearing up like crazy.  My energy and positivity is through the roof and I have had multiple friends comment on the physical change they see in me, specifically in the brightness of my eyes!  I sound like a total hippy granola lover right now (raw, organic granola that is).  And I’m ok with that.

If you’re interested in seeing what I ate over the course of the week and how I was feeling, click here.

Food has always been an issue for me.  As some of you know, I had a pretty severe eating disorder for about a decade of my life.  I spent all my energy being consumed with weight loss and food.  I have to admit that when I was given this challenge, I was a bit fearful.  Afraid that consuming my mind with food would plunge me back into the disordered mindset I had finally fought off.  Scared that putting so much energy into recording my every bite would flash me back to the years I spent counting every single calorie.  But after honest consideration, I decided that I am at a healthy enough place in my life that I could take on this challenge.  And I am more than grateful that I did.

women-food-and-god

So much of my eating issues have been based around control.  I’m not sure if eating disorders ever fully go away but I can promise that they lose almost all of their power with each and every day that you commit to overcoming them.  Not only was I altering my diet and recording my every bite, I was continuing the ongoing process of learning to eat out of physical hunger rather than emotionally. I have to fight every day to not reach for comfort food any time I feel stressed, tired, overwhelmed, sad or bored.   Geneen Roth is an author who has changed my life and I highly recommend her books to anybody suffering from emotional eating or who feels like they are constantly in a battle with food and their body.

But with this challenge I found that I felt more in control than ever before.  I didn’t obsess over what I was eating- I chose to eat things because I started listening to my body and paying attention to what made it feel good.  I was able to recognize that I didn’t need to be perfect with this.  All that mattered was that I did my best.  I was more in tune with my body than every before.  Where I used to look for food as an escape from how I was feeling, I was finally able to get fully in touch with myself.  I felt like I could finally shift my thought process from seeing food as an evil, to recognizing how wonderful fresh nutrient-rich food could make me feel.

It is early to say this, but I’m fairly certain that this is the start of a lifetime of health, wellness, and self-appreciation.  I have no plans to be perfect but I have every intention of giving it my best shot.  This challenge has woken me up to how connected everything truly is.  Because I am feeling so great physically, my mind is clearer and I am happier.  I am infinitely more productive, driven, and present, and I have been spending my new excess of energy on trying to bring joy to all those that I come into contact with.

Have any of you experienced similar results from a change in your diet and lifestyle? I would love to hear your story of transformation and share it with other readers so we can continue to inspire people to live their best lives possible.

I will keep you guys posted on how this all progresses but as of now it has been two weeks since I started and I have no intention whatsoever to stop.  Thanks for supporting me in this journey and if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, I would absolutely love to hear it!

Check out Chelsea's website here: Life Balance by Chelsea

Style: Zip, Zap, Zop

Danika Brysha

Two weekends ago I was so kindly invited to tag along with my best friend and her family for a weekend in Vegas.  I am sorry to report that I did not make any form of VIP list at Wet Republic, but what I lacked in bottle service and boob tassels, I made up for in fine dining and my own little quadruple bypass that I like to call The JERSEY BOYS!

I saw this blue/black minidress on Forever 21 plus sizes and that was that.  I knew the second I slipped in to it that my milkshake would undoubtedly bring all the boys to the yard.  Needless to say I was right...

On our last night in Vegas we headed to the Palazzo and dined at Emeril's restaurant, Table 10.  The highlight of my evening?  SRIRACHA Chicken Wings!!!  I would tell you more about them but I might be too tempted to eat my computer.  There was also an outrageous Banana Cream Pie involved.  I love when desserts have fruit in the title and you automatically think you're eating something kind of healthy.  Peach Rings, Fruit Roll Ups, Appletini, Stoli Blueberry... you get my point.

Even a simple dinner out in Vegas requires careful style choices.  One thing I've learned is that you never know where the night will take you.  Another thing I've learned is that what happens in Vegas usually finds a way to leave town for a while.  Metaphorically of course.  I thought this dress was sexy but still classy for dinner, and the vibrant blue is one of my favorite shades to wear.  I also found out that the zipper on this dress is... in fact... a working zipper.  Good times.  Such good times in fact that we decided to stay an extra night, and because modeling is somewhat like being unemployed(?), I had nobody to call in sick to.  And that's something I can get down with.

Dress- Forever 21+; Shoes- Sam Edelman; Silver Circle Earrings- A generous loan from the lovely Mrs. Karen Lupinetti

What Lies Beneath:  Maidenform Self Expressions in Black (Purchased at Target)

Beauty Boyfriends: Mascara McConaughey

Danika Brysha

While I don't have a boyfriend of my own, I do have a strong support system of beauty products that I'm pretty sure get me just as... excited.  Fortunately, some of my favorite male celebrities offered to help me spread the good word as the weeks go on.  "Why am I not dating them you ask?"... "EWWW... we're BEST FRIENDS... he's like my brother"...  right.  Now on to the eyelashes...

It seems like every time that I shoot I end up on Amazon.com right after we wrap, ordering whatever new beauty product I learned about that day.  I feel lucky to be learning from the pros and it wouldn't be fair if I kept it all to myself now would it?

What I lack in hair on my head, I for some reason was rewarded with in eyelashes... And I'm not complaining.  The thing is, I am naturally a dirty blonde and therefore my eyelashes and eyebrows (and that's where we'll leave this discussion) are very light.  Mascara makes a huge difference for me and I've tried too many to count.  There are two winners but one has a clear advantage.

Runner Up goes to Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils

A friend turned me on to this mascara in high school.  A very wealthy friend.  It truly makes your eyelashes look fake but the price tag is a bit higher than I prefer at $30 a pop.  I've also noticed that it tends to dry out rather quickly so I was frequently purchasing a new tube, which started to add up.  If you don't mind splurging then I highly recommend it but otherwise I'll let you in on my little "not so" secret...

 

THE WINNER: Maybelline theCOLOSSAL Volum' Express

This has been my favored mascara choice for a couple of years now and I'm often seeing it in Makeup artist's kits at work.  It is sold in almost all drugstores for about $7 and usually lasts me for a few months!  I recommend the "Glam Black" color.  I don't recommend the Waterproof one... unless you are planning on competing in a wet T-shirt contest.  The regular formula works just fine but will also come off when you want it to.  The first couple applications can be a little too heavy but after that it is the perfect little miracle!  I have a whole transition process when I'm at the end of one tube and the start of another which involves dipping the older used brush in the new tube for a few applications.  It keeps the old tube going strong for a few more uses and helps avoid the over lacquering that can happen with a new tube.  I'm thrifty... what can I say!

But wait... there's more.  The way you apply mascara is just as important as the kind you use.  I've put together a video blog of my personal mascara tips, live from my Milwaukee hotel room...

Tricks of the Trade: Glue-on Drugstore Nails

Danika Brysha

I would have to say that the one thing that is toughest for me to maintain regarding showing up to shoots "camera ready" is keeping my fingernails perfectly groomed.  Models are expected to show up to work with clean, filed, medium length nails, that are either natural or painted with a very neutral shade like beige or a very soft pink.  And though there's no guarantee Bruce Jenner isn't my father, I unfortunately do not have my own nailpolish line...

Now, I blame growing up with brothers and being a tomboy, for my complete inability to wear nail polish that is chip-free for any length of time over an hour.  When I first started modeling I would do my very best not to bite, bruise, or break my natural fingernails.  I would get a manicure and it would chip the next day, often leaving me helpless without the matching shade for touchups.  I later started painting my own nails and bringing the shades with me as I traveled.  Without failure they always exploded in my toiletry case, making everything smell strongly of chemicals, and having to throw away tons of my favorite colors along the way.  No matter how hard I tried to keep them in tact, I always found myself in hotel rooms late at night touching up chips before the next days shoot.

And then... one day, while browsing the aisles of CVS for more junk I don't need, it occurred to me that I may have just found my solution!  I picked up the pair of natural-colored, short-length, glue-on nails and figured I'd try them out.  I went home and diligently glued the appropriate sizes on.  I also managed to glue a couple of my fingers together.  I was instantly hooked and stocked up on three more boxes to have in case of emergencies.  The packs usually come with more than enough so I just bring my bag of backups and glue anytime I travel or shoot.  When one falls off, I easily glue on a new one in seconds.

And the best news of all?!  They now have fake TOENAILS!!!  So weird, so good.  I'll save that blog post for a special occasion.

And here I present to you the ONLY photo I could find that somewhat showcased my fingernail masterpiece.  Looks pretty real right?  Please forgive me as this photo was taken in an airport around 1:00AM waiting for my redeye to New York.  I guess I rest my case...

MONDivation

Danika Brysha

Lately I feel like my life is moving at a rapid pace.  I love this as I truly get pleasure from working and if I'm working it means I am busy making progress towards some of the many goals I've set out to accomplish.  I've been feeling that there are never enough hours in the day and any minute wasted tends to disappoint me.

That being said, one of my best friends had her Bachelorette Party this weekend and we spent Friday evening thru Sunday morning at Lake Havasu.  We stayed at one of her family friends' home and it was a huge, beautiful, desert oasis.  Complete with massive guest house, perfect lake views, and the coolest man-cave/garage I'd ever seen.  I know the word "Bachelorette Party" doesn't normally go hand in hand with the word "relaxing" but this trip was just that.  We spent time floating in the hot sun on the lake and riding around on the pontoon boat, eating home-cooked meals, and watching movies that involved Ryan Gosling in any way possible.  It was the first time in a while I let myself just hang out and do... nothing.  It was so refreshing to just relax and spend time with good friends and to shut my computer and brain down for at least a few hours.  I'm going to try to force myself to slow down more often and just enjoy the little things in life.  I am trying to remember that doing something good for myself and taking a break now and then is far from wasted time.

Here are some pictures from Lisa's Bachelorette weekend in Lake Havasu, Arizona...

I hope you found some time for yourself this weekend like I did!

Happy Monday!