We all have our speculations about the waif-thin modeling industry. We wonder about their eating habits, we contemplate their exercise routines, hypothesize about drug use and question their ages. We comment amongst ourselves about their weights, body mass indexes and whether or not there should be standards set. Yet few insiders take part in this conversation. Rather, even those of us lucky enough to garner backstage access during fashion week know little about the models’ perspectives. It’s rare, after all, for a model to speak out about the industry that’s providing her livelihood.

Click here to see what some of our readers had to say the super-skinny models during NY Fashion Week.

British fashion model, Jessica Clark, though, is an exception. And it’s (one of the many reasons) why we love her. Not only is she one of those show-stopping stunners that you just want to be close to with the hope of her aura (and looks) rubbing off on you via osmosis, (which doesn’t work, trust us); but also, she is one of the most eloquent and objective observers of her own industry that we’ve had the pleasure of speaking with. And we’re not merely swayed by her English accent.

As a model (having walked runways worldwide and appeared in numerous editorial spreads and advertising campaigns) she is undoubtedly successful and, as she says, “lucky.” But, as a victim-turned-victor of the pressure for body perfection and a registered life coach, she is looking to contribute more to the wellbeing of others. And if this doesn’t embody the definition of beauty inside and out, we don’t know what does.

So, we sat down with Jessica Clark and asked her to weigh in on real beauty.

What do you think makes someone beautiful?

I think what makes someone beautiful is someone who has the inner peace and glow of knowing, accepting and loving who they truly are without needing to pretend to themselves or others.

How do you deal with the pressure for body perfection in our culture?

Body perfection has been something that I’ve struggled with personally and professionally for many years. I strive to be courageous and not depend on others approval to validate who I am. That being said, I am very conscious to eat cleanly and nutritionally and to keep my body strong and fit. If I have been taking good care of myself in those respects and I still feel pressure and anxiety, then I work to remind myself what my true needs and desires are and that even if I do look ‘perfect,’ if I am doing it unhealthily, I will still be miserable inside.

An inside look at a personal journey for body-acceptance.

If you could give your younger self advice about beauty, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to think of my body as an amazingly clever, fascinating machine that I’m lucky to be walking around in. I would want myself to appreciate my body for all it can do for me if I take care of it and love it for more than purely for what it looks like.  I would stress that perfection is truly unobtainable and that there were so many other things more worthy of getting happiness and validation from than that. Happiness itself is beautiful. Eyes full of light and laughter are beautiful!!

What’s your one, can’t-live-without-it beauty product?

My can’t live without beauty product is the old staple Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour cream.  Can put it on anything and it’s amazing when my skin is exhausted and dehydrated from too much flying.

See how else to stay beautiful after a long trip!