The October issue of SELF magazine came in the mail yesterday (this is one of my free subscriptions that I won in some drawing or another). There was an article by Jancee Dunn called “Strong is Beautiful” and featured supermodel Joan Smalls. The thing that really grabbed my interest (apart from the title) was that it opened with a story of a bucket list and closed with a fantastic quote on dreaming big.
Here are a few excerpts from this article.
Just five years ago, Joan Smalls was a struggling model–living at her aunt’s apartment in Queens, New York, taking the bus to catalog shoots and making homesick calls to her family in Puerto Rico. Things were not looking too good. One day, Smalls decided to motivate herself by filling a notebook page with a list of goals. They were big and highly specific. Model for Chanel. Get photographed by an iconic photographer like Mario Testino. Wear angel wings at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
These aims might seem a tad unrealistic–but only to those who have not witnessed Smalls’s unstoppable drive. Five years later, she has done all of those things, even adding in a few surreal bonus items (star in Beyoncé video, have Kanye West rap about you).
The article goes on to talk about how she pushed past “scoliosis in bother her lower and upper spinal column” and rejections from modeling competitions, to complete college in two years (instead of four) and land her first couture modeling job. Then, several pages later, this is how it ends:
She hopes to travel more in the next year. It’s one of the many items on–yes–her new list of goals. Some are small: Learn Thai kickboxing. Most, unsurprisingly, are large. She plans to act and would like to eventually expand into business, along the lines of Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. “That’s part of the whole grand scheme,” she says. She wants to be a force for diversity in fashion. And taking inspiration from her mom, who worked in a school all her life, she would like to do more charity work, possibly for kids.
Smalls sits back with a smile. “I know, I’m a dreamer,” she says. “But I think it’s amazing to have high hopes.”
I’m always so happy for people when they meet their goals! I hope she always stays a dreamer and continues making progress on her list (and making new lists as she finishes them). Read the rest of her inspiring story in the October issue of SELF magazine.