Thursday Thunder: Julie Henderson

Julie Henderson interview

‘True confidence is not needing approval from anyone’

It’s Thursday! Time for some thunder! As you’ve probably noticed I’m a big fan of the ALDA Women collective. Julie Henderson is one of the five models whose goal it is to empower women and change the perception of beauty. I love their message and I am very excited to feature Julie today! This curly goddess has been modeling for 13 years and lives in Brooklyn New York. On The Publisized she shares her boost of thunder, talks about what ALDA Women means to her and how important it is for women to put self care first.

“I grew up an athlete and spent my childhood on the basketball court. I wanted to be strong and powerful, and I never understood why anyone ever wanted to be ‘skinny’ because the ‘skinny girls’ were always getting pushed around on the court. My dad was always in my ear telling me how strong I was and how I was built to be a ball player. My perception was that a good body was strong, in shape and one that could handle all the abuse that playing basketball brings. As a child I was only aware of how my body performed, not how it looked, and my confidence came from my skills and talents as a basketball player. I am so thankful I grew up unaware of my looks. Being pretty didn’t help you on the court, so I never worried or cared about being pretty. It wasn’t until I was in college that I become aware of my looks and started to comb my hair! I went through a tough time when I stopped playing basketball because that was all I ever knew. Who was I without basketball? It’s been quite a fun journey discovering who I am beyond basketball, who I am as a model and who I am as a woman.”

Julie Henderson  Photo: Yumna Al-Arashi

‘ALDA is such an important part of my life. The bond I have with these ladies is incredible’

“I also gain confidence being around the women of ALDA, a collective I’ve co-founded with four other models. It definitely helps when you hang around women who love their curves and their bodies. When you surround yourself with women who take care of themselves and focus on health, it helps you to do the same. The ALDA women have a healthy body mentality -we like to keep our curves moving. No matter what size they are! Taking care of ourselves is top priority. One of the reasons I love being a part of ALDA is because we are all so different: different heights, shapes, colors and personalities. I’ve seen each of the girls have a bad day or go through something tough, but the one thing we all have in common is that we believe in ourselves. No matter how many times we are told ‘no’ or ‘not yet’, we will not back down or give up. All five of us have something important to say. We each have our own unique voice and life experiences to share with the world. ALDA is such an important part of my life. The bond I have with these ladies is incredible. We are all so different, yet we come together so nicely.”

Julie Henderson Photo: Chadwick Tyler

‘The more I take care of myself the better life seems to go’

“Knowing and being your authentic self is my definition of true confidence. It takes a lot of work and self discovery, but I’m finally realizing my authentic self. And the older I get, the more I’m liking the woman in the mirror. I like who I am without all the makeup, without all the fuss. True confidence is not needing approval from anyone but the inner voice that resides in each and every one of us. Meditation is crucial for me, even if its just 15 minutes a day. I also chant. Through my chanting and mediation, I am usually able to work out most of life’s problems. I also do my best to amp up my ‘self-care routine’ whenever I’m feeling a bit down or unhappy. Eating foods my body likes and getting a good sweat really have a way of changing my energy. I find the more I take care of myself the better life seems to go.”

Julie Henderson Photo: Danilo Hess

‘It is in my unhappy times that I have really learned and grown the most’

“I would say I am programmed for happiness. Not to say that I am always happy, but my ‘natural temperature’ is happy. I have learned to allow myself to really feel whatever life brings me, whether it is good or bad. Letting the bad pass through and really letting myself have a bad day or a good cry allows me to go back to my happy place more naturally. Also, girlfriends are always a good pick me up! Happiness lives inside of me, and I know that I will always find it. Being unhappy can really push me to new levels of myself that have yet to be revealed. It is in my unhappy times that I have really learned and grown the most. It seems that unhappiness has a way of revealing things about myself that I would never see, and I am thankful for the pain it brings me because I discover a whole new me at the end. Every single time!”

Julie Henderson Photo: BUST Magazine – Danielle St Laurent

‘I am lucky that I grew up in an environment where the men empowered the women in their lives’

“Modeling has taught me how to be a woman. I was such a tom boy. I barely combed my hair. I remember when my very first manager took me in the bathroom and taught me how to model in lingerie. She was like, ‘You need to be soft and gentle’, I had no idea what that meant! I took ballet and other dance classes to learn to be graceful and know the curves of my body. Modeling has made me more confident with being feminine and soft. I’ve always had good self esteem about my body because I grew up an athlete. My self confidence came from having a loving father and family who told me I was a strong, powerful girl everyday. And their voices are pretty hard to shake! Whenever I begin to doubt myself, all I need to do is call my dad or one of my uncles and I feel like a million bucks because they believe in me so much. I am lucky that I grew up in an environment where the men empowered the women in their lives. But even with all that confidence my dad gave me, there are still times I feel not as confident as I would like. When that happens, I go back to self care. When I take care of myself and really spend the time to listen to my body, everything seems to fall back into place. ”

Julie HendersonPhoto: Grazia Magazine

‘If my tank is filled, I have so much more to give to others’

“It’s my perception that women as a whole are not encouraged to put themselves or their self care first. I think being more ‘selfish’ is imperative. Making sure you make time to work out, take a bath, make that personal phone call, get your nails done, read that book -whatever it takes to make you feel more in your skin should be your number one priority. I’ve learned that if my tank is filled, I have so much more to give to others. I love women who you can tell are really happy in their skin. Barbara Streisand and Tina Turner are two women whose interviews I enjoy watching. They have reached the point in their lives where they aren’t trying to please anyone but themselves. They feel good about themselves, what they have accomplished and who they are in this world.”

Julie Henderson Photo: Romney Mueller-Westernhagen

“Beauty is all around us. I feel beautiful when I’m in nature or spend time with animals. The more grounded I am in myself, the more I am able to see the beauty around me. Beauty is something that radiates from all things, it just depends if your eyes and heart are open enough to see it.”

Want to see more of Julie Henderson? Follow her on Instagram!

Opening image: Romney Mueller-Westernhagen

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