Author: Alessandra Thomas
Publisher: March 26th, 2013
Add to: Goodreads
NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+
Synopsis: Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two.
When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes.
When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.
Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again - confident and beautiful - as long as Nate's around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he's just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.
But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.
(This book contains sex and adult language.)
Alessandra, welcome to the blog! It’s great to have you here with us today.
Thanks, Lisa! I’m so excited to be here, I can’t even tell you! I LOVE this blog.
Oh! And you can call me Aless. ;)
I just have to say that I read PICTURE PERFECT and really loved it. It’s not often that we find the real issues women face – no matter the size – written in a story. I have to commend you on finding a shockingly real voice for Cat. Can you talk a bit about the idea for the story and the research you did for the book?
Oh, thank you so much! The idea for the story actually started way back in 2009. I was reading Glamour magazine and there was an article about learning to love your body that featured a tiny photograph of a nearly-nude model. The interesting thing about this model was that, unlike so many others in magazines, she looked real. The platform she was sitting on bit into her thighs, she was curvy all over, and her belly rolled over the tops of her underwear. (You can read about it here: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2009/08/on-the-cl-the-picture-you-cant.html)
And she was absolutely stunning. Her smile was like sunshine and you could just feel her happiness.
The editor of the magazine got so many letters thanking her for including this photograph. Years later, talking to some college girls I know about their not-so-confident body images, I wondered how they would feel if they looked gorgeous in a nude picture, too – whether that would help them feel better about themselves, too.
At the same time, I was talking to a friend of mine who was a design major in college. She told me that rounder models are actually considered the most exciting and beautiful to draw, because their curves gave the body a generally more elegant appearance. I loved the idea of nude modeling as a beautiful thing. That’s how Cat’s story was born!
While researching, could you talk about the statistics you found? And was there any that were shocking to you?
There is SO much research on eating disorders and body image in college aged-women that it’s easy to see that it’s a real issue that deserves real attention, and one that affects EVERY GIRL. Studies show that no matter what their size, a girl’s body image is worst in her first semester in college. Now, it’s great that it gets better from there, but the first semester in a new place away from your family and friends is pretty much the hardest and scariest time in general, and then you throw in a horrible body image? Ouch.
I also found that, the typical size for a fashion model is 0-2, and for a plus sized model, it’s 6-14. When you consider that ALL models are typically 5’ 9” to 6’ tall, you begin to understand that the typical American woman, who is 5’4” and 162 lbs, or a size 14, literally never sees a model who looks like her in a magazine? We can start to see why college women are having some body image issues.
I’m so sorry to keep giving you so many links, but I really want your readers to see this. It’s a series of sixteen before and after Photoshop pictures of celebrities, in .gif format. To me, the one that shows Catherine Heigl is especially telling – and sad. Here it is: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/17-mesmerizing-before-after-photoshop-gifs
What was the hardest part in writing Cat and Nate’s story?
I think the hardest part was making Cat sympathetic. After all, she’s only a size 12, and a lot of us would kill to be that size! So I really wanted to describe an experience of feeling really uncomfortable in your own skin without focusing too much on her actual size.
Can you share with us a favorite line or two that mean the most to you from PICTURE PERFECT?
“Whether the rest of the world saw me that way, I knew now that I was strong, and I was beautiful, just the way I was.
And girls like me needed gorgeous clothes too.
I loved this line from the end of the story, because it’s so CAT. She’s like, yeah, yeah, this new body image is great and all, but where are the CLOTHES? lol
Could you see if Cat and Nate would answer a couple of questions for me?
I’ll have to see if they’re not too busy with each other. Shoot, it looks like the door is shut…let me knock. Um…yeah. Okay. Here they are. ;)
-Cat and Nate – could you describe each other in 3 words?
Cat: YES. Nate is brave, sensitive, and passionate. And hot. (I just had to get that one in there.)
Nate: Cat is strong, sexy, and brilliant.
-Of all the dates you have been on together, what’s been a favorite for each of you and why?
Nate: Easy. Reading Terminal Market, shopping for fresh ingredients. I love to watch my food from pre-recipe to Cat’s gorgeous mouth.
Cat: Okay, this is going to surprise you, but I LOVED it when you took me rock climbing. Those straps that cut into my ass were horrible, but when I got to the top of that wall, I felt so powerful it was like I could break down a wall.
-And, what did you guys do last night?
Cat: Um. I….
Nate: I cooked for her, and we stayed in. We were…um…it was too cold to go out.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to answer these questions, I'll let you get back to.... whatever it was you were doing.
What would you like readers take away from the characters and the story after reading PICTURE PERFECT?
Wow, those two, huh? I think they need an extra day in the weekend.
Anyway. I want my readers, especially my college-aged readers, to know that being beautiful is not about getting a new body or face or WHATEVER – it’s about learning to feel amazing about the one you’ve got. And that it’s okay to lean on other people to help you with that, but that ultimately, it’s up to you.
Can you tell us what you’re working on now and if there will be more Cat and Nate in the future? Looking forward to reading whatever you’re working on next!
Right now I’m working on a story called SUBJECT TO CHANGE, which is about Cat’s best friend, Joey. She’s always followed all the rules in life, and dreamed of being a doctor. When her father’s dying wish is that she become a doctor, and creates a trust fund for her premed tuition, that’s the only path she can take. But then, it becomes increasingly clear to her that she’s just not cut out for premed. What’s worse is that the Professor for the business gen-ed she has to take paired her with Hawk - a tattooed, strung out loser for the huge class project. Even her easy classes won’t be easy.
When they have their first project meeting, though, Joey learns that Hawk isn’t everything he seems. He gives her a ride home in the pouring rain, and with one sexy kiss, shows her that what she always wanted may not be what she’ll always want. It turns out that Hawk’s much more that a strung out delinquent. He’s comfortable playing by his own rules, but can he teach Joey to make even one decision for herself?
(And, yes, both Cat and Nate will have cameos. I promise.)
Thanks again for dropping in! You’re welcome back anytime!
Thank YOU for having me! This was such a fun interview. And thanks again for reading PICTURE PERFECT – I’m so grateful. <3
Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since she's not, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and girls falling in love and really living life for the first time. When she's not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.
Find Aless Online:
Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Order Picture Perfect Online:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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