author, body shaper, high heels, Oprah, Samoa author, Telesa book., Victoria University

Taking it All Off…

The thing about being a full-time writer and domestic slave to too many children, is that it means the only work clothes you own are sweats and pyjamas. Which can be a problem when you get invited to fly to another city to do a book thing at your old university. Somehow, I didn’t think that a 20yr old high school sweatshirt and the Hot Man’s very comfy trackpants were going to go down very well at Victoria University. So what’s a fashion clueless and kinda overly luscious fat woman to do?

Consult with the fashionista maestro for larger sized woman everywhere – Oprah.

According to the experts at the Oprah website, there are a few essentials when trying to look your bestest. The first is something like this.

 (Why is it that the women who model these things are always skinny already anyway?)
1. A “body shaper.” Otherwise known as a fat-squeezing, stomach-sucking, air-defying, pain-inducing, hallucination-causing instrument of torture. If the experts are to be  believed, then every skinny woman you’ve ever seen in Hollywood, is secretly wearing stuff like this underneath her skimpy, skin-revealing dress. (And all the loopy smiling and plastic waving they do must be caused by the shortage of blood flow to the brain.) Oh, and you must make sure that the body shaper helps your assets to defy gravity and raises them up to hi heaven. I quote from one pair of experts on YouTube, “It’s very important that a larger woman wear a well-fitted bra that really lifts ‘the girls’ up. The skinniest part of your body is directly underneath ‘the girls’ and so you need to accentuate it with a great boosty bra.” (My fashion research is teaching me new biological terminology. Who knew one’s assets were referred to in fashionable New York circles, as ‘the girls’? Not I.)

2. A very sleek black pencil skirt. Black of course. Because anyone with half a brain knows that black is a slimming colour. Indeed, for maximum slenderizing effect, one should wear all-black. Like Goths. Bats. And ravens. Vampires. (Real ones, not the sparkly variety.) And sky-scrapers.

3. High heels and sheer stockings. If you want to look sleeker and have a kind of vertical optical illusionary impact, then stunning heels are the way to go. You know, it makes people look up and down. As opposed to side ways…blobby blubbery tire sideways.

My exhaustive research dictated that I should combine all these things with a killer confident attitude and then I would be guaranteed to look NOTHING like myself at all. I would be transformed into this Goddess Author of Chic Elegance. And NOBODY would know that I was nervous. Freakin out. Or that I ate Doritos in between writing every paragraph of my book. And celebrated every new page with donuts.

So how did it go then? When I left my house that morning, I was stupidly convinced sure that I looked like “The Shizz.” I strode thru Auckland Airport slaying people left and right with my glamourous shizz-ness. Our departure gate was really really really far away. By the time I got to my seat on the plane, my new shoes were a little uncomfortable. Sitting scrunched on those silly airplane seats that only Barbie dolls could be comfortable in was making my body shaper a little bit uncomfortable too. But I was a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance so it didn’t matter.

My Dad had come all the way from Samoa to go with me. ( And to make sure that I didn’t embarass the family by crying, fainting, vomiting or getting mad at anyone who dared to say bad things about my book.) We flew to Wellington. We walked a really really long way outside the airport to the taxi stand. We got to Victoria Univ three hours before the book party was supposed to begin. I had to carry bags. And a box of books. We sat in a cafe to relax over hot chocolate for a while. Which is when I began to realize that “body shapers” and “relaxing” don’t go together. I couldn’t breathe properly. I couldnt sit properly. I couldnt even eat a muffin properly dammnit, because my salubrious stomach was so squished. I started to get very anxious. Not about my book speech. But about whether or not pieces of my innards were going to start seeping out my ears.

It was time to walk up the hill and up loads and loads and loads of stairs to the Univ library. I realized that buying a new pair of black high heeled ankle boots THE DAY BEFORE I had to wear them for seven hours straight – was a really dumb thing to do. Every step felt like I was shoving my feet into jagged rusty herring cans. And in spite of the rain and the fog and the Wellington wind, I was getting really sweaty. And out of breath. And I remembered why I was a skinny lissome thing when I was a student at Victoria Univ. Because of all those *@^#&$% hills and stairs everywhere. By the time we got the library, I was gasping for air. Which is very difficult to do when one is squeezed into a steamroller squish-shaper garment. There was imaginary blood seeping out of my stupid shoes.

Which is when I decided to accept the facts. I’m NOT a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance. I’m just me. The fat chick who wears sweats and pyjamas all day. So what did I do?

I went to the ladies’ room and stripped off the body shaper. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. The sweet relief as air reacquainted itself with my lungs. As fat molecules dispersed and did a happy dance.

Back in the lobby, I took off the shoes. Aaaaaaaahhhhhh. Feet rejoiced. Crushed toes uncurled and realigned.

My Dad frowned. “I don’t think you should take your shoes off. Your mother wouldn’t like it.”

But I was beyond caring. Even the threat of my Vogue magazine mother’s disapproval did not faze me. By the time Telesa readers had arrived and the panel discussion had well and truly begun – I was barefoot, shapeless,  sloppity and slouchy.

And comfortable.

I had a blast. Even though I wasn’t a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance.The Telesa book panellists were witty, funny, incisive and insightful. The discussion and questions from the audience were interesting and enjoyable. Meeting with readers afterwards was the highlight. The Pacific Studies organizing team did an amazing job.  Thank you all so much!

My next book trip is to Brisbane at the end of April. There’s a very real possibility that I will wear sweats. Or pyjamas.

Strategical cropping of the photo so you can’t see the shoe-less evidence…

21 thoughts on “Taking it All Off…”

  1. Way to go, however to me, you are a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance, you hold yourself well and are naturally an elegant woman from what I see and what I hear. The fact that you have pride in yourself, who you are and what you have achieved and feel good about yourself really at the end of the day is all that matters. That's what shines through, not whether you wear body-shapers or high heels. You were more real and magical just being your true self, true comfortable self. As you already know. You're a credit to yourself and all that you've achieved and an inspiration to the rest of us, who wish we could be like you and to achieve our passion in life! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Well according to my sources (Sina) you were VERY Goddess Author of Chic Elegance! I'm betting you rocked it just like you rocked the Auckland launch 😀

  3. LOL @ your Dad and his comment about taking off your shoes. Having met your Mother I can kind-of imagine her face seeing you walking around without shoes…. with all that said…you looked very beautiful….and girl…YOU'RE AN AUTHOR…. you've got bragging rights straight up without the shaper thingie……My first rule when I dress up is to be comfortable. I envy the girls with all the beautiful high heel shoes…but that aint me….I love getting around in flat comfortable shoes so I can really run-a-muck and if I do wear heels I make sure I put them on right outside the venue (like in the car….I carry my thongs in my bag for backup )Oh I hope I can make it up to Brisbane…any chance of a stop off in Sydney??? I'm after your book online…I want a print version. Let me know if you can find anywhere that has any in stock so I can purchase it. My friend said she couldn't put it down. The last book like that for me was The Hunger Games and I actually only read it when I was in Samoa on holiday. My friends teased me but every spare moment I had to open my book :)So happy to follow you 😀

  4. So regret not going to see you at VUW library! I really, really wanted to go but had a lecture on at the very same time in Karori, and it was about statistics (which I know practically nothing about due to my dyscalculia) so I had to attend or FAIL. Anyway, looks like your visit went very well and judging from the photos – you looked very stylish even without shoes. You're 'The Shizz' Lani – with or without shoes. I was in our school library today when one of our Year 13 girls came in to return your 'Telesa' book. Last week she was moaning about not having anything good to read. I recommended your book and she took one look at it and said, "But it's so thick! I'll never get through it". I told her that once she got into the book, she wouldn't even notice how many pages there were. Well, look who came in DEMANDING your next book 'When water burns'? She couldn't put it down and was soooo disappointed when she came to the end of the book. The librarian told her that we would order the next book as soon as it was available to purchase. Thanks for inspiring another young Pasifika student.

  5. Thank you for those beautiful and eloquent words. The best part about being an author with a book out there in the universe (that some people actually read) – is that it gives me the opportunity to meet so many inspiring and positive people, both in person and on line. I appreciate your comments.

  6. Im just very glad that I didnt have to dance a siva at the end like at Auckland launch! LOL Was awesome to finally meet Sina in person. But I wish we could have gone out for dinner and lots of rock-fobulicious talk afterwards.

  7. Oh dear – lol – this kinda reminds me of the part where Nafanua made Leila wear the clothes and shoes, only models could wear, – and she did not suit them at all let alone not knowing how to walk or sit in them, and was soooo uncomfortable – just to impressed Jason..and what happened?? – she ended up in the pool..with JASON lol. So you didnt end up in no pool cause you were at a book thingy, but you were shoeless and comfortable with a "who cares" attitude..knowing your father was there watching your every move, listening to every word of your speech and taking notes..(so he could report back to mother) I LIKE IT..When you go to Brizzyland for your next book visit – wear flat shoes, jeans, and a shirt. Dress up like Leila. You will feel much better, that way, you'll get to keep your shoes on.

  8. LOL…"I don't think your mother would like it." hahaha How funny that even your Dad knows this and he is trying to save you from her criticism. What a loving Dad. But I would have done the same thing. Or more like I've totally done the same thing going to a concert in some cute little heels that came off after an hour. Forget those little contraptions of torture. I vote for sandals and sweats!

  9. Hahahaha. Too funny. Believe it or not I may be "skinny" but I've accumulated a bit of a pooch from excessive chair sitting at work while eating everything in sight. Now I've been trying to do situps everyday (really 3 times a week, and only 15 situps each time which according to the boyfriend isnt enough if I want a beach body ha! – he got on my ignore list for the rest of the day) but I remember I wore this super sexy dress to a banquet one day with some spanks stokings that pulled in the pooch…unfortunately the stokings kept rolling down at the top forcing me to keep adjusting while simultaneously barring my ability to breathe. Not cute at all. Finally I ripped them out and decided that if anyone said anything, I'd stuff cake in their mouths, throw the spanx over their head and tie them to the tables.You look amazing in the picture by the way. Not sure what you mean about the whole shapelessness, because you look like a goddess!

  10. A good friend said to me later exactly the same thing – i should have saved the gorgeous impractical shoes for the actual event and worn comfy shoes for the plane trip etc. aaaaargh! Live and learn. Oh and wanted to say that I love your photography on your blog. am so envious of your camera and your creative "eye". My mum loves your blog by the way…You can get a print book ordered on line and delivered to Aust. It takes 5 days postage. The details are on this site, check the top of the blog page for "Where to Buy my Books". Hope this helps! I am a total Hunger Games freak. Me and the teenagers have the books and talk about them way too much.

  11. NAY!!!!! I think you pulled it off amazingly!! lol Very classic Chanel chic, but i recommend going with bright colors!! i know scary, but color blocking is totally in this season. I adore that pop of turquoise in your accessory! more is less 😉 but only sometimes. lol . Bodyshapers are equivalent to religion to me! lmbo, but shapers are so out of season, its embracing the body thats going hott!!! all in all your gorgeous, fashionable, and NEVER take advice from Oprah lol!!!

  12. Sorry we couldnt connect in real life! Loved hearing about that student having a positive reading experience, thank you so much for sharing it with me. I love libraries, SO grateful for awesome libraries that saved my book addict life so many times.

  13. Wow – youre right! LOL I had forgotten about that in the book. (It would have been nice to end up with a Jason connection…) I will defn be rethinking the wardrobe choices for Brisbane.

  14. I LOVE THIS. I would quote some witty part of it, but it was all hilarious! I had to forego my coffee and/or donut because my laptop was in danger every second of being spewed upon. I love that you stripped off the body-torturing devices! I'm a little jealous of your wonderful bravery. The panel must have LOVED you for it! Bravo! 🙂

  15. Wedges are your friend! They're the only high heels I can wear for any length of time without wanting to chop my legs off. That said, you look gorgeous and very chic in this photo, so I think you made the right decision to go with comfort rather than (uncomfortable) style

Comments are closed.