Beauty and the Muse

Interview: Deirdra MacIntyre Cowen

Posted on: March 14, 2015



(Photos: Brian Menz Photography)

LV: What was style for you growing up?

DM:  I was a tomboy. I built things and worked on houses with my dad and lived on a farm. I was very athletic; I loved natured and went hiking. So there was no need for fashion. I kind of stumbled into myself and fashion when I turned 18.   LV: How’d you end up modeling? DM: When I was 18, a co-worker of mine encouraged me to model. That’s when I really started getting into fashion. It was a hobby at first. Then I went to Australia and got hurt rescuing someone who was drowning. So I came back to Michigan and went full force and it became my career.


(Photo: JRosa Photography)

LV:  What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced in the industry? How did you overcome them?

DM: I have a body that is sexy, but I love working on high fashion, edgy projects. People always wanted me to do lingerie when I wanted to do editorial. It was hard to break out of that and to get people to see me in another way. The other obstacle I faced was that they considered me plus-size even when I was a size 6. I really got picked on; photographers would say they wouldn’t work with me because I was plus-size or too fat. I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers and a lot of them were rude. I lost 50 pounds just to try and fit the mold. I got down to 90 pounds. I was disgustingly skinny. I got to a point where I was like “this is me, I like to eat, and I’m not going through this just so someone can accept me”.


(Photo: Summerfrost Photography)

LV: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

DM: If I was to do it again, I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t let people get to me, but it’s a learning experience. I have a strong backbone now. You have to be able to face rejection and keep your head up. I have body confidence that I didn’t have before because of modeling. I’ve grown and met different people throughout my career. I realized that there is only one me and that I should enjoy myself.

LV: Advice for aspiring models.

DM: I always tell people to really think hard before you do it. Not to be harsh, but take a look at yourself and ask yourself if you can really model. Just having a pretty face isn’t enough. You need to be mentally strong, have confidence, and work your butt off. It’s not just a pretty picture on Facebook. You have to be direct. You’re just a glorified clothes hanger, so if you’re willing to sacrifice then make it happen, and follow through. 543808_10151511129877606_248160087_n

(Photo: Leza Foto)


LV: Describe your fashion as of now…

DM: Leather jackets and boots, rocker chic. Black leggings and a white t-shirt. I wear minimal makeup when I’m not working.

LV: What if you had unlimited money, what would your dream outfit look like?

DM: A fitted dress, lace with see through panels, neon yellow or green, and some sparkly heels. I love rhinestones. Give me some bling. 58266_10151177682207606_310850684_n

(Photo: JRosa Photography)

LV: How do you feel about body image in the media?

DM: The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine. When you look at them, know that no one looks like that. Don’t take it seriously. Models are photoshopped. Embrace what you have and work it. Everyone else is already taken, work with what you’ve got.

LV: Leave us with a quote…

DM: “Stop looking at girls on social media and thinking that their lives are perfect. We all struggle, we all cry, and we all use filters.


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Over pizza, a friend and I talked openly about hijab and sexism we’d experienced around it. 
Many people assumed that because I wear hijab it means I’m married. Hence, the idea of a woman wears hijab for a man and not herself or for God. 
She shared a story about going to a club with her hijab and being told that she shouldn’t be there by random Muslim men because she was hijabi. She bluntly replied, “Neither you or I should be in the club as Muslims.” Her story triggered me because I too had been through the same scenario. In addition to that I remember when my ex used to constantly tell me that I didn’t love God enough or I wasn’t Muslim because I doubted wearing hijab. But the chick he ended up going out with, during our marriage, was a non-hijabi 🤔 
My friend said something that resonated with me. “If it’s so easy to wear hijab, then why don’t men do it? They won’t. Because it makes them visible.” Being visibly Muslim, for some of us, isn’t easy. To wear or continue to wear hijab isn’t always easy. So, why are we so harsh on non-hijabis? 
When I went to California this summer, I decided that I was going to wear a bathing suit and ditch my hijab. For so long, I always wondered what it’d be like. Although, I felt guilty for showing my body as a Muslim I also felt empowered because I had the choice. And that I was very much so still Muslim whether I was covered or not. 
As a Muslim woman, I applaud you for wearing hijab, but I also understand if you aren’t there yet. Not all Muslims come in one size fits all. 
What are some common misconceptions about Muslim women that you’ve heard? What’s your take on hijabi vs non-hijabi? And anyone can chime in on this discussion ☕️
Photo: @funlens 
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