Master ClassModel & DAY/WON Founder Candice Huffine on the Art of Confidence
5 Tips to Being Yourself
From my heart, please remember:
1. Success is not a size.
2. You are exactly who you say you are. Words matter, choose kind and empowering ones for yourself.
3. You can actually do anything you set your mind to. I promise. You really CAN.
4. Visually consume things that inspire and motivate you. This is a choice. Choose NOT to follow anything that makes you feel inferior.
5. YOU GOT THIS BABE!
Buckle up, I’m taking you on a journey…
In the winter of 2016, I accepted a dare from my husband to run a half-marathon. To paint the picture more hilariously, I accepted this dare while tipsy from a margarita brunch and laughing because running was sooooo not my thing. In fact, when I became cheer captain in high school, I cut it from our practices. I was that kind of non-runner.
But it was December and I was closing it out stressed, run down, high strung, and kind of miserable—so blame it on the tequila or the eye-opening fact that I was in desperate need for a change in my life that focused on my well-being and happiness. It allowed me to shout an “OK, why not” into the air and accept said dare.
I started training and actually stuck to the plan I made… a first! Running was hard, hard, harrrrrd, but also so needed. It became my escape and with every step that slowly became easier—it became a gift to myself.
You know what also should have been gifts to myself? Great new gear to help facilitate this new journey of mine. I was shocked to find that the same issues surrounding size-inclusion I had been battling for 20 years as a plus-size model in the fashion industry were haunting me in the overlooked fitness world now. It appeared that size diversity among fitness apparel had not become a game-changing conservation in that industry yet and, boy, it really needed to be. Here I am, a size 12 woman with the goal of a lifetime staring her in the face and a desert-land of tools to actually accomplish them staring right back at me. It was a sad reality to face that the fitness industry was implying that a woman over a standard size has no use for high-performance athletic apparel. This we know is pure baloney. In fact, seeing the diversity of bodies on race courses is a huge reason why I actually continued running and felt at home and inspired in the community. All bodies do all the things. Period.
Anyway, this body was stuck doing all of the training runs—I had moved on to training for the Boston Marathon now—in leggings that were made for yoga. I had to cut a hole to keep my keys because that is all that fit, and they didn’t need to be hiked up every quarter mile. Not ideal, but I learned to make it work, something curvy women are all too familiar with when dressing themselves—having to MacGyver pieces to get the job done.
Enter a fluke encounter with an up-and-coming, female-founded, NY-based manufacturer specializing in athletic apparel and the lightbulb was on 100 watts. I never again wanted a woman to feel like she couldn't chase her dreams based on the limitations a clothing brand was putting on her. And I never wanted a woman to have to cut her walk, run, class, or plans short again because her outfit was failing her. There is literally nothing worse. I missed out on so many training runs because of this and there is simply nothing more infuriating than a piece of spandex holding you back from your goals. I wanted to step in and provide all women of all sizes the tools she needs to do whatever the hell she wants and feel supported, both by the garment itself and the brand behind it.
In April of 2017 I asked this new manufacturer I had met, Ziel, to create my dream legging for me as a prototype to wear while I ran the Boston Marathon—the ultimate test. And on that day when there were 26.2 miles to cover and a million things on my mind, my leggings were not one of them. I crossed the finish line in tears amazed at my accomplishment. I instantly vowed to never tell myself “I Can’t” ever again.
So, starting my first company? Yes, I can!
The first sustainably made, size-inclusive performance activewear ever? Yes, I will.
In October 2017, DAY/WON hit the market offering every piece in the collection in sizes 0-32 and made for any BODY to do anything that makes them feel their most wonderful.
Shop the Look
I was on the verge of launching. We had samples and prints and plans, but no name—it was plaguing me. Up until this point I had been toying with a play on numbers signifying the date that I laced up for the first time and started running, a day that changed my life and career in incredible ways, but nothing in the realm of 126 really stuck.
Afer a 20-mile training run—I was training for the New York City marathon—I plopped down at Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a giant burger and beer. I’ve never been more thankful for the fact that they don't have menus and only write the offerings on the paper on the table. I felt tired, but proud of myself for what I had just done. The NYC marathon was fast approaching and, unlike my first go-round in Boston, I felt ready and strong. I sat at that booth feeling on top of the world, victorious. I told my husband I felt like I crushed this day. He said, “Hell, yeah, this is a weekend earned!”
The wheels started spinning. I grabbed a pen. On the table, I started jotting down variations on slaying a day, crushing it… feeling like it was medal worthy. WINNING. DAY WON stared back at me for the entire meal and it was a done deal, the search was over. (The sideways one in the logo still represents that first day I ran, the one that changed the course of my path in life dramatically and I like to think serves as a nod to taking the leap towards your day one.)
There's something to be said about accomplishing a goal solely for yourself—no matter how big or small—that makes you feel like the most badass queen on the planet. I felt like that was just the reminder we needed to live by. Do something every day that makes you feel like you’ve won.
I haven’t jumped from one to the other in any way, I’ve just added more to the platter. A platter that already felt like a filled charcuterie board as it is! That, I would say, was the biggest concern, being incredibly honest with myself about the time I had to devote to another thing, because you should not go into anything half-assed, in my humble opinion. We’ve all watched enough episodes of Shark Tank to know that if you are that guy partially doing a dozen little things, nothing is going to be “THE THING.” I knew, though, as a body-positive leader in the fashion industry and someone that consistently championed for size inclusivity among all brands for the better part of two decades, that launching Day/Won was exactly what I had spent my life's work preparing for. And I was all in!
Research the hell out of your idea. See what’s out there and how you would set yourself apart. Silently prepare—sometimes we give away the house too soon, sending the idea into the big world for reassurance and oftentimes that’s as far as it gets. Believe in yourself. Recognize your strengths and, more importantly, your weaknesses early on and ask for help immediately. There is no prize for being the do-er of all the things—it limits your own potential. Above all, have no fear. I mean whatever you set out to do WILL be scary and you’ll question it every step of the way because we are human, but you cannot let the unknown and the things you cannot control be your barrier to entry. Do you want to be in your nineties talking about the thing you “should have,” “would have,” “could have” done? Exactly. The time is always now. (After you do all the prep work, of course!)
Getting out there to do something I know my mental well-being will be positively affected by is my number one motivation. Movement is my meditation and my reconnection back to myself. In a world where I feel we give so much of our energy to other people and things, doing something for yourself becomes a coveted and much-needed practice.
“There's something to be said about accomplishing a goal solely for yourself—no matter how big or small—that makes you feel like the most badass queen on the planet.”
My ritual is to do it when it feels right and not force it. You are your own boss so if the weather feels great, you feel energized, you want to jam out to a new album, or you're in a beautiful setting, just go. You write the rules here regardless of what the fitness industry might lead you to believe—which took me a long time to realize and then undo. I didn’t need to be a 6 AM runner going the fastest with all the high-tech gear in order to BE a runner and utilize the internal benefits doing so brought me. So I would say, make your ritual just getting out there for you on your own terms.
And when you do so, here is the running playlist I have been making since I ran my very first race in 2016!
It might sound cheesy, but there is so much truth in the saying “Do something you love and you never work a day in your life.” I never feel like I’m checking off a daunting to-do list and there's a thrill that I feel with each day and new experience. Sure, I get stressed, but I always remind myself of two things: 1.) There are a lot of rock-star women out there doing even more in a day, juggling jobs and babies and dreams and 2.) I wanted this.
Ooooooh, unplugging is one of my favorite things to do, and I am proud of my ability to do so often with ease. (Tips hat to oneself.)
Honestly, I think this is one of the most underrated forms of self-care out there. We are inundated around the clock by the media in multiple forms, electively or not. We keep computers in our pockets and “office hours” seemed to have gone by the wayside since you can just email all day, every day, from anywhere—and, trust me, that expectation is the new norm. If you don't make the choice to unplug, when are you truly taking time for yourself? To give attention to your loved ones? To enjoy doing your favorite things without experiencing it through a story filter? You have to just BE to breathe.
I just decided I would devote myself and page to being a reminder to women that being unapologetic and happy in your skin is the number one goal every single day and that I would be their BFF and hype girl every step of the way. There is no greater relationship in the world than the one we cultivate with ourselves, so let's find out who that is and celebrate it!