Lifestyle 22 March 2018
World renowned supermodel, Madeline Stuart is continuing to do amazing things in 2018. The world's first supermodel with Down Syndrome, we have watched her walk the runways of New York Fashion Week, the Art Hearts Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, and Melange Fashion Week along with many other shows around the world.
On a mission to prove the doctors otherwise, who once told her mother that she wouldn't amount to anything, she's working to completely change the face of beauty and be the fittest she's ever been this year.
Being committed to healthy eating and exercising, working out 6 days a week with a personal trainer and sprinkling in time on the basketball court and on the cricket field has been her main focus. She's subsequently lost over 40 pounds (an especially challenging feat for someone with Down Syndrome), and has gained her access to the runways at London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week and in Istanbul - experiences she says are unlike any other. “There is nothing better than being on the catwalk, I love it, I feel my happiest when I am up there. I have found travelling the world so educational and have met some amazing people I hope I can continue to work with in the future," she shared with SWAAY.
Her accomplishments don't end with modeling though, as she's also busy with philanthropic work. She recently received the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award at the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, with celebrities such as actress and activist Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, Matt Dillon and more. The event helped raise more than $2.6 million for research and medical care for Down Syndrome and the Special Olympics of New York.
Sticking with a fitness routine is definitely not the easiest thing, but she's certain that even the women who hate getting up and getting to the gym or a class can keep with it.
If you're wondering how she even finds time to get to the gym, I'd say that we're having similar thoughts. But she makes time for it because she loves it and her health is so important to her.
With the next thing on her already pretty epic to-do list being a major bikini shoot, she's sharing how she keeps motivated to hit the gym those 6 days a week and never lose sight of the life-changing goals that she's made for herself. Sticking with a fitness routine is definitely not the easiest thing, but she's certain that even the women who hate getting up and getting to the gym or a class can keep with it.
Focus on the exhilaration of the workout
Getting up and putting those kicks on your feet is half the battle, but once you do, so many amazing emotions will wash over you as you get that adrenaline pumping. Madeline shared that she concentrates on the way she feels post-workout to help her get up and get moving. “I just hate sitting around doing nothing, I do not really watch tv or play on my computer, I have always been active and I love to socialize at the gym. The feeling after a workout is exhausting but exhilarating." We all know how good that post-workout glow feels, so shifting our focus could just be the key we all need to make fitness just as much of a commitment as we have with our businesses.
"The feeling after a workout is exhausting but exhilarating." Photo Courtesy of DMac Photography
Stick with your favorite classes
While most of us are on a mission to try new things in life, sticking with what you know you already love when it comes to hitting the gym might help you get closer to your goals than always trying something new. Madeline sticks to a few of her favorite classes to make the biggest impact on her body and burn the most calories. “I really love boxing, the battle ropes, and dance. These are definitely my favorite," she says.
When in doubt, think about the upcoming bikini season
There's nothing more motivating than thinking about putting on a bikini. With her upcoming bikini shoot in the works, this is a feeling that Madeline knows all too well and says she's preparing with “lots of Cardio, you need to get rid of the carbs and get moving on the treadmill."
Photo Courtesy of Wildflower Portraits
Madeline's three key tips
We've all had those sluggish moments when the last thing we want to do is get up and jump head first into a sweat sesh - but it's so necessary and so good for our bodies. Here's what Madeline has offered as her tips for pushing through those tough moments.
- You may hate work but if you want to pay the bills you do the job. Your health is way more important than the bills so you must work out.
- We look after everyone around us, women are always putting others first. Take the time to put yourself first, especially your health and go to the gym for you. It will relieve stress and you will feel great, especially after a few weeks.
- You only hate it if it is hard to do, once it is easier you will love it so get fit and fall in love with exercise.
Looking at everything that Madeline has accomplished over the years, has me motivated not only to get to the gym, but about life in general. She's persevered through so many moments where others might have just given up and there's a huge lesson in that.
Even through her success, Madeline is still the most down to Earth and humble woman and she reminded me to focus on simplicity and never underestimate the power of a smile.
“Never give up on yourself," she shared, “and always remember that a smile can make someone's day, sometimes we are so busy we forget that we all need someone and we all need to feel wanted. Life is short and is so much more than a big house and a fancy car, some of your best memories may come from the most simple things in life."
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.