This photo was taken in Paris a couple of years ago. I'd forgotten I'd even uploaded it to Instagram as it's that old, but I do remember being too scared to post it for days in fear of being called "fat".
I'd barely eaten in weeks, was at my lowest weight and went in to take these Polaroids at my French agency for a famous casting director.
My French agent at the time told me I had to lose one or two more inches from my waist and hips and then I'd be 'parfait', which was literally physically impossible. I couldn't try anymore than I already was, and I felt exasperated.
You can't tell by looking at the photo, but my skin looked dull and grey and I'd broken out terribly into cystic acne. What people don't realize is that poor nutrition and stress sends cortisol (the stress hormone) into overdrive, breaking some women out in cystic acne all around the mouth, cheeks and jawline.
Yesterday, I posted this recent pic of my body on Instagram. It's taking time, but I'm learning to embrace my natural shape and feel confident with it; learning to disassociate the term "healthy" with "fat". My skin looks great, my mood is great, and I'm the happiest I've ever been.
But, then I was re-sent that old picture along with this comment:
I'm glad this twat thinks my body looked better then. Seeing as he feels so strongly over how he likes his women, perhaps he'd like to experience the misery I felt on a daily basis, trying to look that thin.
He was right in one aspect, though - it is my body, and I'll decide how I want it to look.
I'm only human. I'm not designed to starve myself to fit into anyone else's standards of beauty. And, model-wise or not, I certainly do not deserve to be told what body shape of mine someone else prefers.
Let me assure you, trying to stay that thin is a LIFESTYLE, not an existence, and certainly not something I ever wish to recreate.
I feel so lucky to be with an agency now who allow and encourage me to be myself. I'm getting work at the size I'm at, and if you'd told me that would've been possible a few years ago, I truly would've laughed.
With huge brands like H&M using girls of a variety of sizes in their latest campaigns, it's amazing to see fashion starting to represent models at their true size - helping women all over feel represented.
My weight shouldn't - and doesn't - dictate my ability as a model. And if it does, then they're not the right brands for me to work with.