This Model Has Hyperhidrosis

by Mar 4, 2018#OMagInsiders, Hyperhidrosis4 comments

(This is part of a series of posts about my Share the Adventure cruise with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine. Disclosures: 1) I was not asked to write about the cruise, but so many amazing things happened on this trip I must tell you about them. 2) I paid for this cruise myself. However, the clothing you’ll see me wearing in the photos below is sponsored by Chico’s.)

Just Say Yes

Remember the Alaskan cruise I went on last summer with O, The Oprah Magazine and Holland America Line? Several weeks before I boarded the ship, I was asked to take part in the Love That! fashion show sponsored by Chico’s. Take part as in be a model. On stage. Wearing gorgeous clothing and shoes while simultaneously having an excessive sweating condition. Absolute panic took hold of me when the O Mag team floated this idea past the 10 Insiders who would be on board this inaugural Share the Adventure cruise.

When I found out I was one of just 50 people nationwide selected as part of the very first group of Insiders, I told myself I would say yes to whatever opportunities came my way during the one-year commitment. So, I practiced Mel Robbins’s 5-second rule before I even knew it was a thing. I didn’t overthink it. I just said yes, I’ll model on stage.  I didn’t want to live a moment of this experience with regrets, so I told my hyperhidrosis who was boss and moved forward, open to possibilities.

Fashion Show Prep

The day before the Love That! fashion show, we tried on all the different outfit possibilities as O’s Creative Director Adam Glassman oversaw everything. Let me tell you about Adam. This man helped me love my butt again. He is kind, authentic, and encouraged me to own the body I have in more ways than one. When I came out wearing this outfit below, I was petrified I would trip and fall on stage. Those heels! They came straight from the fashion closet at Oprah Magazine headquarters in NYC. I was scared of the slip and slide factor making an appearance that day, but these heels had an ankle strap so I felt much more secure. I practiced walking around on the carpet for several minutes and went through all of my outfit changes to make sure everything fit okay.

hyperhidrosis and high heeled shoes

Backstage during the Chico’s Love That! fashion show. These heels came straight out of the fashion closet at Oprah Magazine headquarters in NYC.

It’s Show Time

The morning of the show, I had my hair and makeup done, which definitely helped boost my confidence. The whole thing was surreal. Me, a model?! I can’t even. After I was all dolled up, I sat down for a few minutes and borrowed my friend Megan’s N.O.W. by Solu meditation speakers. Megan could tell I was nervous about going onstage, and she thought these would help. For three minutes, I blissed out and concentrated on the tones instead of the sweaty commentary running through my brain.

Maria Thomas O Mag Insider

Hair and makeup before the Chico’s Love That! fashion show

Thirty minutes and three outfit changes later, the fashion show was over. And you know what? I was dry the entire time. I still can’t believe it!

In fact, it was a Christmas miracle that I hardly sweat at all the entire week on board. I don’t know why. The combination of being relaxed on vacation, the cooler Alaskan weather, the comfort of being on the water – who knows? All I know is that I am grateful for the entire experience.

Maria Thomas O Mag Insider

Asking O’s Creative Director Adam Glassman if I can keep the heels.
(Image Credit: George Burns; used with permission)

You Can Do Anything Despite Your Circumstances

I’m tearing up as I write this. This was so much more than being a model on stage. I proved to myself, and an entire auditorium full of people that day, that you can do anything despite your circumstances. Just like Oprah said in one of her presentations on board,

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

~ from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley

You, too, can choose to become the captain of your ship. You can stand in all your sweaty glory (or maybe you’ll be dry when you do it like I was) and live your dreams. While my dream may not have been to be a model first and foremost, the experience allowed me to live out my dream of educating more people about hyperhidrosis, helping others to know they are not alone, and proving just how strong and courageous those of us who have hyperhidrosis are.

Sweat Today Smile Tomorrow

After the fashion show, a woman I’d met on board just a few days earlier called me to the end of the stage. I squatted down in those knockout heels and watched her reach into her bag for something. Out came the shirt I had complimented her on when we were talking after one of the shows. It says Sweat Today Smile Tomorrow. I asked her about the shirt because of my own struggles with hyperhidrosis. She then confided in me some of what she had gone through herself, not in relation to hyperhidrosis. But that shirt brought two people together, open and vulnerable, to connect with each other over the shared human experience. CoCo from San Diego, this is a shout out to you, girl! I am humbled that you – literally – gave me the shirt off your back.

Sweat Today Smile Tomorrow

CoCo from San Diego literally gave me the shirt off her back after I told her about my hyperhidrosis. LOVE.

Creating Hope & Awareness
One Drop at a Time

The next day, our last full day of the cruise, Adam Glassman and Jayne Jamison, Senior Vice President/Publisher & Chief Executive Officer of O, The Oprah Magazine, asked the audience what their favorite part of the cruise was. I waved my hand to get the microphone and did a bit of public speaking on the fly.

Hyperhidrosis on board Holland America Line

Holding up our O Mag Insiders sign and educating everyone about hyperhidrosis and the struggles I overcame to be a model on board.

I told everyone about how nervous I was over my modeling debut because of my hyperhidrosis, petrified I would ruin the Chico’s clothes and soak the heels beyond repair. And then I told them about CoCo from San Diego who gave me that shirt off her back. My voice was shaking and my eyes were watering as I told that auditorium full of people who I was and what I did. I used my voice to educate everyone that day and hopefully made them think a little bit differently about the trials we all face and how we can overcome them.

The morning we disembarked, I ran into Adam in the dining hall and thanked him again for such a fun time. It was then that my hands started sweating. I placed them palms up over the table and showed him my shimmer. If he didn’t know before, he now knows what hyperhidrosis is. See? Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time is how I roll.

#OMAGonHAL Love That! fashion show

Group photo after the #OMAGonHAL Love That! fashion show

Read more about my experience as an O Mag Insider. I’m looking forward to the new doors and opportunities that I know await me.

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