Happiness is finding and living your dream (whatever that might be)

Happiness is finding and living your dream (whatever that might be)

Duke University Grad Drops Stereotypical Career Path to Inspire Plus Size Women


Have you ever had a dream? That insatiable desire to do something big? Have you ever taken a chance and pursued it?

In 2002, Danielle Jackson arrived at Duke University, eager to start working on her pre-med track. Her innate passion to help others drove her to pursue medicine. But as she advanced in her college career, she found that the track she was on was one that others wanted for her, and not what she wanted for herself.

During her senior year, it became her dream to pursue a career in fashion, but she graduated from Duke in 2006, with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and psychology.

“It was difficult to talk about my dreams when everybody around me was interested in IBanking, ” Jackson said. “It’s so hard to go against the grain when you see that a safe career works and it’s promising. ”

After a little bit of soul-searching, she moved to New York. Standing at 5’8, Jackson had the height of a runway model, smooth, toffee-colored skin and a vibrant smile. But at her weight, she thought that she would be more fit behind the scenes, buying or possibly designing clothes.

“I was never the pretty girl’ and I’ve always been the bigger

girl,” Jackson said.

She dabbled in merchandising, but became discouraged and started taking LSAT classes. “I didn’t even make it halfway through the course, Jackson said. “I was always thinking about modeling. ”

At that moment, Jackson had an epiphany. “I realized that my fears and insecurities had been stopping me from what I really wanted to do, ” Jackson said. “I couldn’t let that happen. ”

On a whim, she set up a photo shoot. The feedback she received was promising, and she decided to pursue a career as a plus size model. Since that shoot in 2006, she has graced the cover of Plus Model Magazine and signed with Model Service Agency in July. ”

So many people spend so much time doing what they don’t want to do, ” Jackson said. “You have to do what you want to do. ”

Jackson said that she loves representing the full-figured community and hopes to serve as a role model for plus-size women. She is currently working in her community to develop a program for young women that focuses on building self-esteem. “I want to make a difference and I want women to know that it’s okay to be you, whatever size you are, ” Jackson said.