ROBIN Finding Value in Insecurities
From the Washington D.C suburbs in Maryland, Robin moved to Manhattan in 1983 to attend NYU’s dance department.
How did your dancing experience influence you?
Dancing got me involved in the theater and I began writing plays. I wrote a show that lead to a bra designer spotting me. He wrote to me and said he thought I was at least a 34DDD.
Were you hesitant to speak with him?
I could tell by the note he wrote me that he had experience in the intimate apparel industry. He was looking for a body to build upon. Just as he suspected, I was fit to a 34DDD. That was 17 years ago and it’s pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since. Any girl wearing a 34DDD bra is probably wearing one built on me.
Did your new career take you away from the theater?
No way! Any creative person in New York City is doing something else for money. I have continued to write and choreograph. Fit modeling is not a 9–5 type job; it allows me to do everything I love.
Did you know anything about bras before?
It was a huge learning experience. Back then I didn’t know they made bras above a DD. It was a revelation to feel an underwire actually lifting me up as opposed to strapping me painfully to my chest wall. The biggest thing I learned was that my large breasts were actually valuable and worth something. I stopped feeling like that little ninth grader hiding behind books trying to cover her breasts. I didn’t have to be ashamed of them anymore.
You felt ashamed of your breasts?
Absolutely! Look, I was in ballet from the age of six. I went to a very strict school. My teacher was from the royal ballet. He was a tough one. I admired him and looked up to him but he would say hurtful things. It’s a strange world. I loved the discipline and regulation of ballet. There is one way to do it; the rules are set and there is no room for interpretation as far as the placement of one’s body.
There is a point in ballet when you either make it or break it at about the age of 14, when the great blossoming happens. Puberty had done something to me and I felt very ashamed and guilty about having breasts. I don’t think that it affected my dancing but when he would make comments about my body, I felt that all of me was wrong. It gets into your head. I saw it as a character flaw and felt responsible.
Was high school difficult?
Oh my God, yes! High school was horrific. There was this old Roman Polanski movie based on the Thomas Hardy novel called Tess of the d’Urbervilles. There was a line in the movie that says: “she was a victim of her own provocative beauty.” That’s how I felt; that young girls with beautiful bodies were responsible for the actions of pedophile men. It took many years of self-evaluation to get over that shame.
What helped you through that?
I had a strong-willed mother and grandmother, they gave me a lot of support and promised life would be better after high school. It took a long time but when I was finally able to move to New York it began to happen.
New York, for me, was about reinvention. Once I got on my feet and found my way in theater I was able to express and reveal myself through different avenues without actually exposing myself. I suddenly saw the humor in these ridiculous things hanging off my chest wall. I could make fun of myself before anyone else had a chance to.
What do your breasts mean to you now?
At this point they are a huge part of who I am. They are a topic of my writing, my best friends. They are probably the most noteworthy thing about me—visually, that is. My personality is not all about my tits but they have influenced who I am. After all, I am a fit model.
What is the fit process like?
They call me in for an appointment and have me try on a prototype. I make comments about it. We play around with wires and components. If it’s itchy we change the fiber that it’s made from to make it more comfortable. I have input on all of that.
Do you feel pressure to maintain your measurements?
Yes, I feel some pressure. However, I have always been a physical person so activities that help me maintain my figure are something I enjoy doing. It’s not a problem to keep these things in my life.
What challenges do you face maintaining your bust?
Well, right now its middle-age. The things that happen to a middle-aged woman’s body are uncontrollable. My breasts are slightly fuller now. It does not show on the scale but I can tell they are filled out a bit. As far as them becoming soft, I feel freakishly lucky. I hit the jackpot genetically when it comes to my breasts. They are still spectacular, despite the random stretch mark. I rub cocoa butter on them every night and use a lot of sunscreen so the skin on my chest does not break down. I do a lot of pushups as well to help eliminate as much sagging as possible.
If you met your younger self, what would you say to her?
Keep a journal! Write about your body. Or do whatever creative thing you do that can express how you feel about it at the moment and how other people’s reactions influence your self-esteem. In the future, you can look on these works of art and acknowledge how far you’ve come since then. Examining your past—even if it was just last week—can propel you forward in amazing ways.