|Swimsuit model Nicola Mar, www.nicolamar.com|
We are getting closer every day…the dreaded SWIMSUIT SEASON…dun dun dun (cue scary villain music) is slowly creeping up on us. It’s almost March and before we know it Memorial Day weekend will be upon us when most of you will scatter off to the Hampton beaches, Jersey Shore, Nantucket, Fire Island, or wherever you choose to lay your beach bum. All I know is, I need some expert advice on how to look my best in a swimsuit (I loathe bathing suit season btw.) So I am turning to a swimwear expert. My good friend and gorgeous swimsuit model, Nicola Mar.
Born in Austria and raised on the tranquil Caribbean island of St. Maarten, Nicola Mar was discovered at the tender age of 15. She was recruited to appear in the local Hawaiian Tropic pageant and fell into modeling shortly following that. Nicola’s incredibly fit and enviable body have landed her television spots with some of the world’s most coveted supermodels including Bar Refaeli and Joanna Krupa, where she appeared on Access Hollywood and The Situation Room modeling swimwear and lingerie. Her incredible curves are due to her strong belief in fitness and nutrition. Always the advocate of healthy lifestyle choices, Nicola plays soccer, tennis, volleyball, and spends numerous days a week in the gym to stay active.
I sat down with Nicola who has modeled and worked with countless swimwear companies. I wanted to pick her brain and get some insider secrets to finding the right swimsuit, what looks good, what to avoid.
JJ: Ok so first off, I just want everyone to know that everything about your body is 100% natural so they don’t mistake your ridiculously amazing (ahem)…assets…as anything but a lucky gene pool and hard work. So—there it is everyone.
NM: Thank you! I get asked almost every time I’m at a casting if I have had some “enhancements” done. It’s sad that the first thing people think of is not all the hard work that has gone into getting your body into great shape. But I guess with our day and age, plastic surgery is more common than not.
JJ: Being so exposed in the swimwear and lingerie industries all the time- do people question you about plastic surgery often?
NM: All the time. People don’t believe that I haven’t had any work done. They ask where I’ve gone and how much it costs. I tell them I’ve gone to the gym and it has cost me a pretty sweat.
JJ: What are your feelings about going under the knife to alter one’s “bits and pieces?”
NM: I think it’s a personal choice and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’ve always been happy with my body so it’s hard for me to relate. But, if changing your nose, breasts, or any other part will make you feel more confident and sexy, then why not? At the end of the day, we all deserve to be happy. But when you start doing 2,3,4 operations, it’s time to re-evaluate what’s going on. Many people never become happy by changing their physical appearance, because it’s something deeper that is making them unhappy.
JJ: What are some of the things you do to take care of your body?
NM: I moisturize my face and body every night (especially in the winter!) I also drink a lot of water. If I don’t hydrate my body from the inside AND from the outside, I get cracked, red skin. I’ve always had sensitive skin so I have to work extra hard at keeping it beautiful. I also work out every day. My workouts don’t always have to be rigorous, but I try to get my heart rate up daily. I love to do the elliptical, so usually when I’m in the gym I will work on that machine for about 45 minutes. If I don’t feel like going to the gym, I work out from home doing dips, sit ups, squats, stationary lunges etc. Working out makes me feel good so it’s not a constant battle for me. Another thing I like to do weekly is get massages and manicures. Looking good is also about feeling good. A little splurge or indulgence every week can keep you on track.
JJ: Do you stick to a strict diet?
NM: Because I work out a lot, I am able to eat what I want, in moderation. I love home cooked meals with fresh ingredients. I never deny myself anything because I will end up eating it anyways, and usually in a larger quantity. If I want a cheeseburger, I will eat a cheeseburger. But, I have to say, I don’t eat any processed foods! I NEVER go to fast food restaurants like McDonald’s. I recently saw a YouTube video about a lady who had a cheeseburger sitting on her counter, unwrapped and not preserved, for 4 years. And guess what….the burger had NO mold on it, and 0 decay!!! Now that’s just scary. We need to be responsible with what we put into our bodies.
JJ: Food weaknesses? Indulgences?
NM: Brownies! If I see a brownie, I will eat it. No matter where it is and what time it is. It’s surely a BIG weakness of mine. Mmmmmm brownies!!!!
JJ: Swimsuit season is so hard for a lot of us “normal” people, we can feel insecure and unnatural in bathing suits. Do you ever have moments of insecurity?
NM: All the time! I’m in a business where agents and clients measure me constantly. If I gain a pound, they know it. Also, in the modeling world, you never know what the client is looking for. I’ve been “dismissed” from castings because my waist is too small, or my hips are too big. It’s not just about a girl who has a good body and looks good on the beach; you have to fit the clothes perfectly, and you have to have the look a client is requesting.
JJ: What advice would you give to women regarding their body image?
NM: Don’t seek a look or a body that someone else has. It’s nice to get inspiration from others, but everyone’s body is built differently. It’s not all about a certain weight or certain proportions. You have to find what looks right on you. I’ve seen girls that said, “I want to be 115 pounds,” but when they get to that point, they look anorexic. It doesn’t work for them. Work with your body type! And never, ever think ‘the skinnier the better’!
JJ: There is always a lot of ridicule and speculation about the modeling industry- especially now with reality TV we’ve seen agencies tell girls they need to lose weight…what do you have to say about that?
NM: It’s just TV. I don’t watch most of those shows, because they don’t portray the industry correctly. People want to see drama, and that’s what the reality shows provide. Also, most of it is made up and scripted.
JJ: So now for the actual swimwear…what are some of your favorite swim lines and why?
NM: My go to swim lines are Vitamin A, Vix, Anna Kosturova and Beach Bunny. Vitamin A uses very soft fabrics and their suits always fit perfectly. They also have suits for every body type. I love Vix Swimwear because they always have the nicest embellishments. Anna Kosturova makes the best crochet bikinis and cover-ups. Beach Bunny is fun because their suits are very sexy and lingerie like.
JJ: Are there any particular silhouettes that you think are more flattering on certain body types than others?
NM: If you have a small bust, it’s always helpful to wear a halter shaped top because it pulls everything together and upward. Also try a top with underwire. If you are trying to hide a tummy, put on a tankini or a one piece. Choose one with lots of lycra because it helps suck in everything. If you have a very boyish figure, I’d recommend a skirted bikini. But keep in mind that you must have very small hips to pull off this look. It does not look good on a curvy women – I can’t even pull it off myself. If you are trying to draw attention away from a pear shaped body, try a ruffled top or a top with bright colors. Many bikinis nowadays are mix and match. In my opinion, the darker color should always be worn on the bottom piece. Pairing a black bikini top with a pastel orange bottom just doesn’t work because it draws your eyes downward. Many of us have more flaws on the lower half of our bodies – stretch marks, cellulite, tummies. Keep all eyes attracted upwards towards your beautiful face!
JJ: What do I want to avoid when it comes to buying a new swim suit?
NM: Always avoid suits that are too small. Check out the material and make sure it won’t be see through in the water. Also, many of the suits today are made with crazy fabrics and sequins, glass, metals etc. Sadly, most of these scrape and itch the skin. It’s best to walk around, lie down, and get a feel for your new swimsuit. If it’s uncomfortable, return it!
JJ: You must have a zillion bathing suits from working on all those photo shoots; do you have one favorite above all the others?
NM: You’re right – I have like 300! It’s funny because my favorite suit is a plain black bikini and it was one of the first ones I ever got. It’s by Andres Sarda.
JJ: Any other valuable words of swimsuit-wisdom you have to impart on us?
NM: You don’t have to spend a lot of $$$ to get a nice suit. If you can’t afford to change your whole swimsuit collection every year, but want some new pieces, try Victoria’s Secret Swim collection. I have worked with them and they have dozens of great bikinis at really affordable prices. They even sell some of my favorites on their site like Vix and Luli Fama. They also have great sales all the time.
Here are some incredible shots of Nicola in action, as well as links to her favorite swimwear lines!
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