5 minutes with: Stacey McKenzie
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Stacey McKenzie is one of Canada's most recognizable supermodels, a unique beauty who rose to fame promoting the very traits industry leaders once said would keep her from the catwalk. Now she's a spokesperson for Psoriasis Connections, talking about the skin condition and the self-esteem issues that plague even the most beautiful women.
How has psoriasis impacted your life?
In the beginning I was very embarrassed by it and ... I had to turn down certain jobs. There's this perception that models have to be perfect. (But) this is (just) another flaw. Either I let it control me or I control my flaw. I have this condition and I'm still doing what I want to do.
What advice do you give to girls and women when you talk about self-esteem?
Growing up I was bullied a lot, was always called ugly and made fun of. I decided to love and own me first. It's important to not let people define who you are. You have the one vessel to work with ... Own everything about you, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Where did your passion for fashion and modelling start?
When I first saw that picture of (Jean Paul) Gaultier and Madonna when I was like six years old. I was like, "That's what I want to be, I want to be a model and I want to work for people like that man."
What were some of the biggest barriers you faced as you were starting modelling?
Having to prove myself to people. When I first started out I would go see the agencies and they were all like, "No, you're too funny looking, you're too weird." I had to knock down doors. My Calvin Klein campaign, I wasn't even on the call-back (list) and I just showed up and told them I was on the list. I (got) inside ... and that's how I got the Calvin Klein CK Be campaign.
What's been the highlight of your career?
When I first walked in to my casting with Mr. Gaultier ... the same man I saw in that picture when I was six years old. When I walked up to him the first thing he said was, "Elle est belle." My first show with him was with Madonna. She saw me and the first thing she said was, "You are gorgeous." It made me realize that dreams can come true.