Meet the Bride-to-Be’s New BFF
Michele Paradise has had a long and successful career as a catwalk model in London, Paris, Milan and New York. She has worked for most of the top designers of her time and was the muse of Philip Treacy and Zandra Rhodes.
When Michele finished her modeling career, she turned her skills to training upcoming young models for the major agencies in London and informed them about surviving in the world of fashion modeling, teaching them to be more confident and honing their skills in walking on the catwalk, posture and presentation, which increased their success rate for getting model bookings.
Michele’s model training caught the eye of several TV producers and she has appeared as an expert and judge on Britain’s Next Top Model, Model Behaviour, Make Me A Supermodel, ASBO Teen to Beauty Queen, and Britain’s Missing Top Model just to name a few. Michele was also a consultant on How To Look Good Naked and 10 Years Younger.
Over the past five years, Michele trained with Paul McKenna in some of his key personal development skills, giving practical solutions to everyday problems like boosting confidence and self-esteem, as well as overcoming unwanted or bad habits, getting rid of fear and phobias and becoming more motivated and getting things done. Michele has a unique approach and understanding of how to control emotions and she helps people who get stuck in life showing them the choices they have and improving people’s quality of life. Michele gives you the instruction guide to looking good and feeling great. She now assists Paul when he is in the UK with courses such as Easy Weight Loss.
Over the past year, Michele has brought together all of her skills and offered them to brides to be. She discovered that there was a lot of stress and lack of confidence about being a bride and realized that she had the tools to teach them how to feel good inside and out.
What made you want to work specifically with Brides?
I was a successful catwalk model for over 20 years and was a bride in several fashion shows. This gave me the idea that being a bride was like being a supermodel for the day with all eyes on you as you are the centre of attention, cameras pointed at you from all directions and having to wear and walk in clothes and accessories that you have never worn before, some that present a challenge like a train, a veil, corseting and the rest. And the worst aspect of the day is that you don’t get to practice like a model does. On top of all that, most brides get very stressed out from planning the wedding and looking after a large budget and as a therapist, I know I can teach them tips and techniques to stay calm and make better decisions. Being The Bridal Coach brings together all of my skills and enables the bride to look and feel good inside and out.
What is the most common request you receive from Brides-to-be?
The most common request I receive is to help brides to relax in front of the camera and to teach them how to stand, what to do with their hands so that they don’t look like a meringue. So many brides do not like the way they look in photos but most of them don’t even look at themselves in photos in order to find out what they can do to look better. When I go to the bride for a session, I dress her as a bride with all the accessories, such as the veil, tiara, flowers and any other accessories that she may be wearing, as I have discovered that this is one of the most overwhelming moments of the whole wedding. When the bride puts all of this on for the first time, she can easily become overwhelmed and emotional and by then it is too late to do anything about it. I also bring my camera and laptop and photograph the bride from all angles, upload the photos and make her look at them to find out her best points and areas that she can improve. We take photos several times until the bride relaxes and learns how she can stand in the photos to look her best. I then give her the photos so that she has them to refer to and practice with until her big day.
Have the expectations of brides changed since you started working in this area?
The one area that I have noticed a big change in is the competition that brides create between each other, whether consciously or unconsciously. There are now so many wedding/bridal TV programmes on at the moment and so many bridal magazines and exhibitions that the consciousness of the bride has been heightened and she has so many choices. The bride also has more knowledge of what other people’s weddings look like and where to source everything you need for the wedding. Choice is a great resource to have but too many choices can be overwhelming and create inertia. Organisation, timelines and goals are your best friends when organising your wedding. Break down the large event that is the wedding into smaller, easier to deal with chunks and don’t move onto the next area of decision making until you have finished the current one. And stop comparing your wedding to anyone else’s. It’s your wedding and personalising it is the most important aspect of it. It’s not about how much money you have spent, how many people you have invited or even about the food. It’s about creating a memorable experience for everyone, including yourself, and that is what people will remember and talk about afterwards.
What are your three essential tips for the perfect wedding?
Before I answer this question, I have to remove a word from the question…”perfect.” I never use this word for weddings because there isn’t a perfect wedding. If you mix emotions, alcohol and relatives together you will not get the perfect wedding, whatever that is. I’ve spoken to many wedding photographers and they have never seen the perfect wedding and neither have I. In fact, I tell all of my brides to take the word perfect out of their vocabulary so that don’t set themselves up for unrealistic expectations. I think using the word perfect in relation to weddings creates a lot of unnecessary stress and unrealistic expectations. How about using the phrase “best for me?”
With incidences of post-nup depression on the rise, are you considering helping to coach newlyweds too?
As I am a therapist and hypnotherapist, when I work with brides-to-be I frequently move into the area of therapy with them as sometimes brides need that more than learning how to work with the camera. As a result, they sometimes recommend that their husbands-to-be see me also on a one to one basis to deal with their stress like the fear of public speaking. Once I have built a relationship with one or both of them, they continue to see me for issues that may rise up after the wedding for a period of time until we can resolve the issues. The type of therapy I use is relatively quick and I usually only see clients for 1 to 6 sessions, so it is a quick and economical solution to issues that might arise before and after the wedding.
What do you think newlyweds expect of marriage and are they way off the mark?
Some newlyweds expect the fairytale of the wedding to continue after the wedding and honeymoon and this can cause you to hit the ground with a huge bump. If you spend six months to a year or more planning a big event like a wedding, you have allowed a lot of extra time and energy to deal with the demands of wedding planning. When it’s all over, you now have extra time and energy to fill and the topic of the wedding is now gone and you may struggle a bit to readjust to these gaps in your time, energy and conversation. That is why it is best not to become obsessed with the wedding plans before the wedding at the exclusion of everything else. Take a least one or two days off a week where you don’t discuss anything about the wedding. Make these days a wedding free zone with friends, family and your fiancée. Everyone will thank you for it! Not everyone is as excited about what flowers you want or what DJ you have recently heard as you are and this will make the transition back to life after the wedding a lot easier.