Diet and exercise habits of an Oscars Designer Challenge model

Ashland High School graduate Melinda Rader, now a Los Angeles-based model, has proportions many women, including myself, dream of having. She stands 5-foot-10 and has a circumference of 34-26-36.

On Wednesday, I interviewed her over the phone about her job as a model in the Oscars Designer Challenge for an article published today. A prequisite for the job wearing an Octavio Carlin gown was the ability to carry a water bottle, presumably about the weight of an Oscar statuette, with a steady hand. When she told me some models don’t have the arm strength to hold a water bottle without shaking, I couldn’t resist asking her about her own diet and exercise habits.

Prepare yourself for a severe case of envy. I already had a spell of it yesterday.

Rader, 22, apparently doesn’t need to restrict her diet to fit into a Size 2 nor does she have a regular exercise routine.

Sure, she grew up on the standard Ashland fare of organic food and did gymnastics as a teenager. But in the past year, the only diet change she’s made is to cut out foods with gluten, a protein composite found largely in wheat products.

“When I turned 21, I started having stomach problems, and I found out I’m allergic to gluten,” she said. “Other than that, I have a normal diet, no crazy dieting.”

That’s good to hear, or is it? I had to pause to consider.

It’s refreshing to know a model who doesn’t have to starve herself to maintain her physique and hence, her career. On the other hand, there’s a part of me that yearns to believe that if I eat the perfect diet and exercise daily, one day I will be able to wear a pair of skinny jeans without causing my thighs to resemble encased sausages.

There is something I could do to combat the sausage illusion: I could stop using weights when I’m exercising my legs and try one of the Victoria-Secret-model routines to tone my legs.

But as Rader said, most of her looks come from genetics. That’s actually a liberating thought. It doesn’t free me or anyone else from the responsibility of being our personal best, but it does provide the first step toward accepting that which we cannot change. After all, even after three to six hours of yoga per week, I still haven’t stretched myself past 5-foot-4 ¾, but I have eliminated once-chronic lower back pain.

While you’re working on your own process of self-acceptance, you can find out at 4 p.m. Sunday on the ABC Television Network, local channel KDRV 12, whether Rader and her gown’s designer, Carlin, won the Designer Challenge. The winner gets to hand out the Oscars at the Academy Awards at 5 p.m. the same day. You can also try some of the Oscar snack ideas in the Mail Tribune’s food blog.

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    Paris Achen

    Paris Achen writes stories about fashion and education with the motto that a frugal fashionista must be a well-educated one. Her blog weaves together commentary on fashion, beauty and fun, frugal tips on how to net the looks on the catwalk. You ... Read Full
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