Personally, after years of trying to be skinny, doing modeling jobs at my current body shape is empowering for me. I understand the point of other women who find the term insulting, but to be able to show others who have the same body type as me that they can love their curves, too, is a message I want everyone to hear. For many girls who struggle with body issues, we were always put in a different category and were limited to the things we can do. Modelling was always out of the question. To be able to represent the plus-sized women and make them feel better with themselves is a positive experience I’m celebrating.
Again, I understand the hunger for true inclusivity – the desire to be called just a model without any other adjective to describe it. But then again, what’s wrong with that? I can imagine that models with vitiligo or with tattoos or with psoriasis or models who are physically disabled, are all proud to be a model with their distinct identity because it represents other people who can identify with them. Again, this is empowering.
You know what’s actually more disheartening? That is to be a model who doesn’t fit into a size “box”. You know, you’re not thin enough to be a “straight size” model – a term uses for models who fit the traditional sample sizes, which in the US is size 0 to 4 – or not curvier enough to be considered a plus size model. If you’re a size 6 to 10, you are all but banished from the industry. Agents won’t know which box they will put you and this dilemma is being solved by forgetting your existence entirely. This leads to missed bookings and, for some, eventual bankruptcy.
In a perfect world, what would the modeling industry look like? If I have the superpower, I would love to see models, in all shapes, sizes, and colors appear side-by-side on the catwalk, on their agency’s website, and all the magazine covers. No labels. There is equal treatment of all sizes and gender preference, reflected by equal pay, and it requires an industry effort to achieve this. If sample sizes are made to be inclusive for all body type, and if store mannequins are designed not to be too skinny, and if glossy magazines will be more conscious to practice inclusivity – then it is truly possible.
It is truly liberating to finally let go of my body issues and not worry about fitting into a dress. In all honesty, I’m still in the process of completely loving myself. But right at this moment, I have never felt more confident in the way I look and feel, and I intend to keep this healthy mindset for life.