Meet Heart of Hollywood Cover Model Contest Winner Anita Lain, Who Overcame Tremendous Obstacles to Reach Career Success and Personal Joy
Our most recent Cover Model Contest Winner Anita Lain, who graces this issue, was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. She chose to participate in order to inspire men and women over 50.
“Anything is possible to achieve if you’re consistent and put your vision and dreams into action. As a little girl, I always dreamed of being in the spotlight as a supermodel,” says Anita, born in 1968 on Christmas Day. “I would dress up and look in the mirror with my grandma’s 1970’s wig on. I would put her makeup on my own face, like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. But I grew up and entered the medical field. Long story short, I wasn’t satisfied, so when my boys grew up I went back to school at the Illinois Center For Broadcasting. This was in 2012, and that’s when I realized I wanted to be in front of the camera.”
Being selected as a Heart Of Hollywood Cover Model Contest Winner was one of several career achievements Anita has had so far.
“My experience during the process, from the beginning up until being in front of the judges and waiting for a final decision was nerve-racking. I wanted it so bad. After the jury said that I won, I was so emotional and crying with joy. This experience was such a blessing,” she remembers.
Anita, who had been married for over four years to her loving, supportive husband Larry Stigler, played the role of mother to her five children until they flourished into adulthood. She is now living her lifelong dream.
“I am a runway and print model, and I am also in the medical field taking care of others. My entire life I have had a deep passion for the entertainment industry. I chose to start my career by attending the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, in order to learn the behind-the-scenes aspects of production. While there, I experienced being in front of the camera as well and found my niche in the spotlight! Shortly after, I took photos to create my portfolio and began to learn how to pose. I found out I was a natural. I received offers to be shot by many photographers and was invited to participate in many productions. I have made cameos on TV shows, music videos, and local movie productions. I have also participated in several stage productions in the Chicagoland area, but I found out my true love is modeling,” explains Anita.
So far, she has traveled for shows locally within Illinois, and also to Atlanta, Puerto Rico and New York. On an international level, she has been to the U.K and the Dominican Republic. Her most recent work has been with the Fashion Life Tour and House of Ikon, London, traveling with Destinationmodelshoot for different runway shows, such as Passion 4 Fashion in Indianapolis and Rise NYFW - The Model Experience. She has also graced many magazines.
What was your life experience like when you were growing up?
My childhood was not easy. My siblings and I lived with my grandparents until one night there was a bad house fire where we lost my aunt and her two little children. My siblings and I had no choice but to move in with my mom and her no-good man friend. He was verbally, mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive to us all. It was a terrible time in my life, but the terrible times unfortunately don’t end there. I moved out at the age of 16 because he sexually assaulted me and at the time I didn’t know I was pregnant.
I then moved in with my friends and their family and started night school to get my GED. While trying to get my GED, I gave birth to my first child. I was still living with friends, and shortly after I was pregnant with my second child. I then began my young life raising two boys on my own as a single mother, while working and still in night school.
When I was 17, I met a man that I thought was the love of my life. We loved each other very dearly and we were together for a very long time.
With him I had my other three boys and life was good until alcohol and drugs came into play. Extreme jealousy and abuse came into our relationship along with that, and on Fathers’ Day in 1995, he thought another man was coming on to me. He shot a shotgun and shrapnel sprayed on me and others over a misunderstanding. During another fight we had, he was coming after me.
I feared for my life so greatly that I jumped from the fourth floor of a building to get away and prematurely delivered the baby I was carrying. He was born four months early but survived.
Later, we moved to the South in an attempt to better ourselves. I started to establish myself spiritually and began going to church with the next-door neighbors. While I was a stay-at-home mom raising the kids, he was working on the oil rigs offshore. He would spend 30 days at home and 30 days offshore. The alcohol abuse continued and got to an extreme level, and he had a meanness in him that scared me, so I was always afraid when it was time for him to come home. He turned into someone I didn’t know anymore and continued to physically abuse me. Because of what I saw growing up I thought this was normal, but as my children got older, they started questioning what was happening, asking me why I allowed him to hurt me in this way. I realized that this was not only hurting me, but it was also hurting them.
My children speaking up gave me strength. I had to leave for myself and for them. At that moment, I made the decision that I was done. I packed up my kids and came back to Illinois to get myself together. My ex followed me with all the craziness and drama again. He used his family to fight me for the kids we had together. This caused my three children I had with him to be taken away from me, and my children were placed in the foster care system. My kids kept running away and coming back home to me. The authorities threatened me and accused me of kidnapping my own kids if they found my kids in my home. This went on for six months until the investigation was over, and the judge ordered them back home to me. I was finally free, raising five boys on my own. As they were going to school, I went back to school myself for my medical license. My life was finally back on track.
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What are some happy memories of your childhood?
The most memorable moments were family picnics and Christmas, because it was also my birthday. I used to love that my present would say both “Happy Birthday” and “Merry Christmas”, until I grew up and figured I was getting gypped! But I still love Christmas and the holidays in general.
Who are some of your role models?
My grandmother was one of my role models. She was also in the medical field and cared for others. My grandmother was very loving and a hard worker who took care of her family.
What would you like people to remember about you?
My positive energy. I always find a way to laugh and enjoy myself, no matter what is going on. I would like to remember my story so I can inspire others with my life experiences.
Why should a model agency or a brand want to work with you?
I am more than a pretty face I am determined and resilient. I’m fun to be around. I listen, I pay attention and I’m reliable. When given a task, I get it done. I can inspire mature women and men over 50 and let them know that if you work hard at what you love and take action, anything is possible.
Please describe your experience at the Heart Of Hollywood Magazine cover shoot.
It was epic and emotional. My vision and dreams are finally coming true. Everyone on the team was very professional and they treated me so special. I felt on top of the world. I felt so good. The Heart of Hollywood Magazine team is now my family!
What is your message for all our Heart Of Hollywood Magazine readers?
Push fear aside. Whatever your vision and dreams are, they shall come true if you put in the effort. Believe you can be who you want and stay focused, because the enemy can come and take it away if you’re not paying attention. Be strong and resilient, and be aware of who you keep company with that’s not on the same path you want to be on. Even family or friends could hinder you; don’t let it happen. Step out of your comfort zone and go for it! If it can happen for me, it can happen for you! Love, peace and light, my friends!
I am happy and thriving in this industry now, and I am excited for what comes next!
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