How to Feel Good in your Underwear

Last Updated 13/03/2014
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You might think that lingerie models were born with ineffable body confidence and are naturally photogenic, but apparently they’re just women with really, really nice bras. Lingerie Model Tiny Millican tells us what’s important to feeling good with your kit off.

Tiny Millican and a guy

Chic underwear AND a fur coat - prepared for all weather conditions

I haven’t always been confident. Being a lingerie model has helped to build my confidence, but always in hindsight. When I’m doing a photo-shoot, my anxiety levels go through the roof: ‘Does this position make my arm look fat? Is my tan a bit orangey? Do I look like I’m trying too hard?’ It’s only weeks down the line when I see the photographs that I get a confidence boost and think ‘Actually, you don’t look half bad there!’

Lingerie Modelling is a marketing game – it’s not real. It’s an advertisement, just like everything else out there. I get that I’m selling a product and a lifestyle and that I’m a promotional vehicle for a brand. When you understand that it’s not really about you, and that you’re just a woman wearing a really, really nice bra, it’s a hell of a lot easier and a lot more fun prancing about in your underwear.

Modelling underwear for men is very different to modelling underwear for women. You have to hold yourself differently, pose differently, and look down the lens of the camera differently. For men’s magazines you need to look confident and sexual and for women’s magazines you need to look more natural and less like a sexual predator. Strangely, I always think I look better in the photo-shoots for women – I suppose that is testament to ‘if you feel good, you look good’.

Don’t hate me, but I have so much gorgeous underwear. I get given most of it and I love looking at it and playing with it; just seeing it in my underwear drawer makes me feel a little bit more glamorous. But day-to-day I wear traditionally boring stuff, based on what clothes I’m wearing. Silky stockings, suspenders and lace-ruffled balcony bras might look gorgeous in the bedroom, but that’s not going to work under jeans and a shirt. Being able to see a red lacy bra through my t-shirt? Not really the message I’m wanting to put across…

Lighting is as important as the underwear in my opinion. There’s a reason why lighting is used on a photo-shoot – lighting is a profession for God’s sake. It’s flattering, it sets the mood – it creates the right atmosphere. I feel sexy if I’m having a cocktail in a dimly lit bar or at home by candlelight. You can be sexy in daylight of course, but being sexual in daylight… it seems a bit… well, who am I to judge?!

People treat me differently when they know what I do, but I probably shared the same misconceptions before I got into the industry. Lingerie modelling, glamour-modelling, escorts, porn; they’re obviously completely different, but they all sort of fell into the same bracket in my head. And you can tell that’s what other people think. Men seem to think you’re sexually liberal or a bit stupid and are surprised when you’ve got some banter or make an intelligent comment, whereas women think you’re a bitch who’s going to try and steal their boyfriend. I’ve got my own boyfriend, thank you very much.

If I wasn’t a lingerie model I’d probably be really fat. I work-out and eat carefully, but only because of my job. I could definitely whack on a fair bit of weight and still be comfortable with myself, but I wouldn’t get commercial work. There’s a stereotype of lingerie models being chardonnay-swilling girly girls, but I’m a proper pint drinker. I went to Germany for my birthday recently, just so I could get involved with the beer festival. I’ll have a beer belly when I retire.

Being fit and strong is the ultimate way to feel good with your kit off. I’m sorry that there’s not a more enjoyable way! Confidence is basically feeling like a healthy version of you – when I feel fit and lean and I’ve got a tan from actual sunshine and not a bottle, I have so much energy and positivity. Maybe that’s it – maybe I don’t look any different, I’m just outrageously positive and think ‘Yup! I’m a goddess!’

I need regular fitness goals and challenges, otherwise I’d lose all motivation. I’m thinking about signing up for the Tough Mudder in June, but I’m scared! Though if I don’t have something to work towards the beer belly will be in the here and now. I know some other lingerie models who are doing it – that’s my motivation! Doing a Tough Mudder with a group of lingerie models should keep me disciplined!

Essentials? How long have you got?! For handbag essentials, I know you’re supposed to say just a slick of Vaseline and you’re good to go, but I leave the house with all my make-up. It’s only a make-up bag, might as well chuck it in. For weekend away essentials, I need some seriously comfortable trousers. They’re sort of symbolic; they’re meaningful pants! I spend a lot of time dressed up in fancy clobber and underwear, so my comfortable pants represent real relaxation. It means I know there’s going to be a comfy pants hour coming up. I’m going to chill.

If I could give advice to my younger self it would be to not grow up too fast, to remember how young you are, how you can do whatever you want. I thought I was grown-up when I was 16, then at 20, but I look back and see how young I was. I think you’ll do that forever, you’ll probably look back at your 50 year-old self and think ‘Damn, I was a spring chicken!’

Check out more of Tiny Millican at her swish new website, www.tinyblueshoe.com.