MEET CAROLINE LUNNY
VN: In 2014, you won Miss MA USA. What prompted you to start competing and what was your new norm as a Miss?
CL: I was also Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 2008, and it was the most amazing experience so I always knew I wanted to compete for Miss one day! And it’s a whirlwind! Especially when I was a teenager from Holliston, MA, a small town with 3 stop lights.
I was 16 and traveling the country, meeting the coolest people and tons of celebrities, attending huge events, working with some of the best charities. I fell in love with using my voice and my platform for good. It opened my eyes to a completely different way of life. It was all so exciting and completely changed the trajectory of my life.
VN: In case our readers didn’t know, you were on The Bachelor season 22. Did this show affect your life path or plans you may have had? How did you keep yourself grounded and true to who you are during and after the show?
CL: Going on The Bachelor changed my life. You initially sign up to go on the show hoping to be one of the rare few who actually find true love. I’m a hopeless romantic and was hoping for the best, but am unfortunately still searching for Mr. Right. But because of The Bachelor, I’ll get to be a mom.
Everyone reading this is probably very confused how a TV show is linked to me being a mom. But with the show comes a little piece of fame and is a fast track to becoming a social media influencer. Because of an instagram ad that all my Bachelor friends were doing with a company called ‘Modern Fertility’, I was able to catch a very serious problem with my fertility health before it was too late.
I caught it in time and was able to be proactive by freezing my eggs with this amazing doctor out in San Francisco called the “@eggwhisperer”. Because of Dr Aimee and Modern Fertility I’ll get to be a mom one day… and none of this would have fallen into place without The Bachelor. So maybe I didn’t find a husband on The Bachelor, but I sure as hell found my kids.
As for staying grounded, I have great friends and family who love to give me shit and keep me humble. They’ve been dealing with me being in the public eye since I was sixteen, so they know how to navigate these waters with me and always remind me who I am and what’s actually important.
VN: I love that you are also in real estate and nonetheless a dual licensed agent in Massachusetts and Florida, which is impressive! I also relate to how you keep your instagram well rounded on who you are. Being a woman in the business of real estate can often times feel difficult, especially when your whole life is on display.
Do you feel that sometimes it’s difficult to maintain that balance for both your professional and personal worlds?
CL: Oh absolutely! It’s a weird line to follow when clients watch my stuff sometimes, because I don’t hold back on the real stuff! I love real estate, but I feel like my real purpose in this world was to use my voice to help break the stigma around a lot of issues that many of us women go through.
And besides, women are so multi-dimensional, I don’t want to ever put myself in a box. I love being able to be a successful business woman, and everything in between.
I love my job, I’m great at what I do, and I’m very blessed to consistently be a Top Producer with RE/MAX. I think that allows me some freedom with my clients to be real and let them see all sides of me, because at the end of the day they know they are in great hands. I love that I don’t take the most traditional professional approach with my clients, I fight for them like they’re family and they know I’m going to bat for them and get the job done.
VN: You’ve talked passionately about your past in dealing with an eating disorder. When did these feelings come about and how did you create a safe and healthy mindset to remove yourself from those feelings?
I believe about 30 million Americans struggle with an eating disorder, do you feel there’s enough support and an open narrative to help those suffering?
CL: I’m not sure how I found the strength to beat my eating disorder or when it officially stopped. But truthfully, I still struggle with body dysmorphia. It’s hard to be in the public eye and to be midsize because I hear it from both sides. I’m either too fat, or not fat enough.
When I recently opened up about needing to size up and buy new jeans and the emotions that went along with that, I had people getting upset with me because I’m a “privileged bitch who doesn’t even know what fat is”, and then I had others telling me I shouldn’t be condoning gaining weight and that my “fat ass just needs to go to the gym and lose weight”. Haha it’s rough out there, man.
You can’t please everyone and someone will always have something to say. All I can do is own my truth, own my curves, and try my best to embrace this beautiful body of mine and give her as much love as I can. My body has been through hell and back the last few years, so it’s easier to have some grace with myself after having nine fertility treatments and dealing with the emotional trauma of escaping an abusive relationship.
As for support, I think the world is a far more inclusive place than it once was. I love to see us embracing all body types, especially in advertising. It plays such a massive role on our subliminal minds, and will hopefully one day lead to less ass holes who feel like they are entitled to comment on someone else’s body.
VN: The strength you’ve needed to get to where you are today doesn’t go unnoticed. With that said, Where else in your life have you been forced to be strong for yourself? The saying goes ‘what doesn’t break you, makes you”, so how would you describe how you came out better than before?
CL: I was in a really bad relationship, I so badly wanted to be in love and make it work. I think as women we too often are forgiving and make excuses for the people we love. I don’t think I was able to see how abusive my relationship really was. Like you said, I’m a well respected this and well respected that. I’m a smart woman, yet somehow I found myself in a really bad spot and in a really dangerous relationship.
Truthfully, I didn’t really know how to be strong for myself. But after doing just one egg retrieval, it ignited something in me and gave me strength I didn’t know was possible. I knew I needed to be strong for my future kids. I now understand those mothers you hear of on the news who find this super-human strength to lift a car off of their child. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for your kids. Haha and yes, I don’t physically have children yet.
But whoever they are one day, they deserved a better life and father than this. As a child of an abusive parent, I knew the choices I made today would affect them for the rest of their life. So as crazy as it sounds, I owe it all to my future kids, they saved my life. It wasn’t easy, but they gave me the strength to get out.
VN: One of the more recent topics you’ve been candid about on social media is your infertility journey. You’ve been outspoken on the subject and shedding light on this when not many women have the strength or courage to. What has your journey been like and what would you tell other women who have gone through this, may go through this, or knows someone going through this?
CL: My fertility journey is very untraditional because I’ve had to do it all alone. Most people go through this with a partner after they have been trying and failing to get pregnant, however I found out I needed help years before I should have found out. I am so grateful for that because with my non-existent dating life, I would have been too late.
I do feel like because I’m single and not actively trying to have a baby right now, it took some of the pressure off for me and I could just focus on retrieving as many eggs as possible. I’m in no rush, I want to make sure I find my kids the best dad possible.
Fertility issues are SO COMMON, and there is this horrible stigma around it that for some reason makes women feel ashamed and not want to talk about it. Which is only hurting us. When women don’t talk about this, we don’t see how big of a problem this really is it is and we assume we’re all going to get pregnant easy. That’s just not the case. We need to be talking about this and raising awareness so more women can catch these issues earlier.
Early detection is key! I wish I froze my eggs when I was 18 years old when I would have only needed one egg retrieval instead of nine. Ladies, if you’re reading this and don’t know what your fertility levels are, it’s time to find out! My doctor initially told me I was too young to check, but thank God I didn’t listen and did the Modern Fertility at home test and was able to advocate for myself.
YOU ARE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO LOOK INTO YOUR FERTILITY HEALTH. Sorry for yelling, but it is important you hear me on this and look into it ASAP, even if your doctor says you’re too young.
VN: The new year is the perfect time to reflect and think about the past; Every phase, every failure, every accomplishment. When you reflect, what are you most proud of yourself for?
CL: I’m often my hardest critic. I think in the past I didn’t give myself as much credit as I deserved. But looking back and seeing all the shit I’ve gone through, and the fact that I never let any of it break me even though it tried its hardest… I’m really proud of my strength and my resilience. If the old me could have heard all the things I’ve gone through, I don’t think she would believe that I survived it all. But I have and I somehow keep doing it with a smile on my face and cracking jokes.
We all just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and have faith that there’s a lesson in our hard times, and that something better is on its way to us.
VN: With the new year also comes new goals and new hope. Is there anything you hope to achieve this year? What can we expect to see from you across your social media platforms?
CL: After recently getting out of an abusive relationship, he took my voice a little bit. My goal this year it to take it back and get loud about the things I’m passionate about, and get my *mojo* back haha. I’m excited to have that and my fertility treatments behind me, and be able to focus on real life again. I’m ready to share my story and I’m just done playing small. I’m hoping to finally launch the podcast I’ve been dreaming of doing for years, and to just be unapologetically myself and see where life brings me!
Oh, and I’ve been talking to some people at Netflix about a show and I’m going to try and manifest the hell out of that one! I’m just going to see where the wind blows me! I have no idea what this year has in store, but I’m ready and I’m excited!
All images courtesy of Caroline Lunny
Victoria Nasuti created H.E.R Page – BostonMan to help tell the inspiring stories of women around Boston successfully having careers and passions at the highest levels! A published model and real estate professional herself, Victoria knows firsthand the challenges of performing your best in both a career and passion. If you or someone you know would like to be considered for the H.E.R Page spotlight, please send Victoria a message here.