Stratford woman Bobbi Jaye wants Maxim magazine contest to inspire others

Stratford's Bobbi Jaye, 36, is part of a contest to be featured on the cover of Maxim magazine. Submitted photo

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Bobbi Jaye’s first foray into modelling didn’t go well.

The 36-year-old Stratford woman was 15 at the time and went to a competition in Kitchener. Her dad borrowed money for her to go, and she advanced from that audition to the next phase in Toronto.

Agents from around the world were showing interest in Jaye, but she needed a legal guardian to be with her at all times if she was going to proceed, and her parents couldn’t afford to quit their jobs for her to chase a career in front of the camera.

Jaye was five-foot-10 and 130 pounds, and agents suggested she drop another 10 to 12 pounds. She secretly ate popsicles all summer and, that fall, while taking a Grade 11 class in Grade 10, a senior student made fun of her for being too skinny.

“When I look back at how I thought about myself even a couple years ago with my body and image, I was so concerned about what people were thinking and not how I felt when I looked at me,” she said. “Even if they have an opinion, yours is the only one that matters.”

Stratford’s Bobbi Jaye, 36, is part of a contest to be featured on the cover of Maxim magazine. Submitted photo

Jaye lives in Edmonton now, and 21 years after her initial experience she’s once again part of a modelling contest, this time to make the cover of Maxim magazine.

Jaye followed an Instagram ad for the contest last Friday, and 24 hours after submitting her name and some details she was asked to compete in the public vote.

“It’s always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t figure out what I wanted to do as a real career until recently,” she said. “I always wanted to be an actor, but it takes so long to break into the industry … and I’ve always been afraid to give 100 per cent. This doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t take much time aside from saying thank you to those who voted for me.”

There are five categories each with dozens of women, and Jaye quickly shot to number one in her category. She’s since remained in the top three and is likely to advance past the top-20 cut June 4. The contest runs until early August.

“When I think of a positive body image it’s not just being a size 10, 11 girl who has a pretty face – it’s loving myself and trusting and not giving up,” she said. “As I go forward, I’d like to be able to pass something along from my own life, and I would like to be able to relay what it means to have a positive body image.

“I just got lucky enough to have a certain look at a certain age, so to be in this competition is a blessing.”

The St. Mike’s alumna graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours bachelor of science in psychology plus a double major in English literature. She’s dabbled in modelling and acting through the years while working various jobs and picking up different skills, like carpentry, painting and AutoCAD.

Winning the Maxim contest also comes with a photo shoot and $25,000 that Jaye would use to become a teacher – the type she remembers listening to her concerns as a young student struggling with self-image, depression and anxiety.

Those concerns haven’t disappeared, but Jaye – now 185 pounds – wants to use this experience to inspire others in a similar situation.

“Being curvy or athletic is not frowned upon in the industry anymore,” she said. “I’m 36 now and everything is different. You have to work so much harder to maintain your physique, and I’m thankful the whole body (image) is accepted right now. It’s a beautiful thing.”

cosmith@postmedia.com

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Each vote costs $1, and a minimum of $10 is needed to vote. Proceeds support the Homes for Wounded WarriorFoundation, whose mission is to raise money to build and remodel handicap accessible homes to suit the individual needs of injured veterans.  

To vote for Jaye, visit maximcovergirl.com/2020/bobbi-jaye 

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