This week we find ourselves inspired by media personality and model Meredith Shaw.
Life works in mysterious ways sometimes. I got into the music writer/photographer game a few years ago, and one of my first festival experiences was Canadian Music Week. It was my first ever “pit” (the area between the crowd and the stage where photographers shoot from) and I was nervous as well. I was shooting Big Sugar, a band I loved, so I was a little intimidated. As I scanned the stage, taking in the faces of the band members I’d admired for years when a familiar face came into my line of vision. That face was Meredith’s Shaw, a face I hadn’t seen since I’d graduated high school back in 1999, and she just happened to be singing on stage with Gordie Johnson and his merry band.
That was the first time that our new career paths had brought Meredith and me together. We facebook chatted later that night, marveling at how small the world is and congratulating each other on how far we’d come since our days as school girls in kilts. And this interview marks the second time, and I’m so happy to feature this fabulous lady in Addicted!
Model. Fashion Blogger. Writer. Activist. Entrepreneur. Singer-Songwriter. Media Personality. These are just a few of the titles you’ll see listed on Meredith Shaw’s resume. And now you can add body positivity spokesperson and role model to that ever-growing list.
Born and raised right here in Toronto, Meredith began her meandering journey through her passion for music. She has three albums under her belt, Place Called Happy (2010), produced by Gordie Johnson, Trouble (2013), produced by Joel Plaskett, and her latest Hardest Goodbye (2014) produced by John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews. She’s been a staple on multiple radio stations, including Boom 97.3 and 104.5 CHUM-FM. She’s also a regular contributor on The Marilyn Denis Show, The Social, Your Morning and more. But it was a passing comment from a make-up artist, on the set of a shoot for one of her musical projects that lead her to consider modeling as her next career move.
Now represented by B&M Model Management, Meredith has walked in Toronto Fashion Week, appeared on the cover and in an editorial for DARE Magazine and ad campaigns for Hudson’s Bay, Pennington’s, Marshall’s and more and was recently chosen to represent model & author Ashley Graham’s lingerie line with Addition Elle in Canada. Meredith is also now a contributing columnist for Canadian Living Magazine, dispensing fashion tips and advice in her monthly #WeTheCurvy feature.
For her mission to make body positivity a reality for everyone, we are so very inspired by Meredith Shaw!
How did you get involved with the work you currently do?
Every part of my career today started with music. Music is my passion, my great first love, and as it turns out, a valued guide throughout my life often pointing me toward opportunities I would have otherwise missed. I’ve been involved in music as an artist, performer and songwriter since I was 14 years old, I’ve released 3 albums so far and opened for some of my musical heroes on tour across Canada. Music taught me how to tell stories, how to feel deeply, how to connect with people through vulnerability and how to own a stage. I use all of that in what I now do on the radio, on television and in the pages of fashion magazines. It’s about connection, it’s about confidence and ultimately it’s about creativity.
What is your WHY? (The reason why you do the work you do)
My WHY is to take up space so others can too. It is to create a world where all bodies feel safe and celebrated, to offer women & men the opportunity to feel enough, to fully step into their true life purpose by seeing me do the same. Style has no size, everyBODY deserves fashion are words that I live by but that statement is about so much more than fashion. To me? Fashion is power. SO really, my WHY is about allowing others to OWN their power.
What are the biggest challenges/setbacks you’ve had to face?
My biggest challenge is a common one – myself. My own inner critic has QUITE the mouth on her and I’ve had to learn ways to keep her in check and muzzled up. We really are our own worst enemies and saboteurs. Some memorable setbacks for me are a few key opportunities that I didn’t get, all I can say for those is that the universe really does have a plan. You gotta work hard and show up but if you do, the opportunities that you don’t get that after time, will make sense. But MAN do they sting eh? Lol!
What are some of the successes (big or small) you’ve had?
As someone who has had MAJOR body issues my whole life, the fact that I have dug deep, done the work and am now in a position to help other women fall in love with their bodies is a BIG win for me o one that still makes me mist. It’s a real privilege, I KNOW how hard it is to get on your own team so to write the first plussize style column for a major magazine in Canada, to be talking about curvy style on 3 national television shows and to be a curve model in Toronto, NY and Miami is cray y’all. CRAY.
What’s piece of advice would you give to someone trying to do what you do, or trying to follow their own dreams?
Say yes, a lot. Be prepared to work harder than anyone else. LOVE what you do – BE REAL, if you don’t feel it, don’t do it, don’t say it and above all don’t sell it. Reach out to people that you admire that are where you want to be, I meet with people every Thursday…sometimes all you have to do is ask. Remember that what makes you different makes you interesting, so nurture that, don’t waste time trying to be someone else – it won’t work. I fully believe that if you love what you do and work hard, good things happen. So go for it!
How do you do manage to do it all?
Coffee. Good friends. The LCBO? Lol! Honestly I don’t know how anyone manages it all – life is A LOT. Some days are better than others, there ain’t no magic but I do know that I try to be kind, move my body, eat things that aren’t just French fries and hope for the best. Also? I know technology is a thing but love to write everything down, I’m a big believer in to do lists and I find that when I write things down I remember them.
If you could pick one charitable organization to ask our readers to donate to or volunteer with, which would it be?
Girls Inc. This is an organization that I’ve been involved with for years – specifically the chapter in Durham. The programming that they do for young girls is unlike any other and now more than ever we need to support our girls as they come of age at a time filled with a lot of unease. They work to create girls that are strong, smart and bold. I could not be more on board with that aim!!