If I were to say I worked as a model, what would you imagine I looked like? What body type would I have? Would a figure that is in proportion, thin, a size 8 and below with a 24" inch waist come to mind? That is the problem. The first assumption of a model is to generalise that they are thin, in some cases under weight, and have a body that is non-representational of society. I am not the generalisation. I am a curve model.
I am raising awareness of the lack of diversity of body types in modelling, in particular where I am based, in Scotland. Scotland is a wonderful country and there are amazing creatives here. However, the curve industry is very limited. When I first started modelling, I unhealthily tried to lose weight as I thought this would make me successful. I had such a destructive and negative opinion of myself. I am now at a place where I am happy with my body and I aspire to help others who are going through the same detrimental path as I did. I first started to use Instagram to launch my awareness project where I promote body positivity and post candid shots of my modelling and the challenges I face. Recently, I wrote an article, I AM CURVE that was published front page and as a double page spread in The Daily Record. I have been interviewed by STV Glasgow and BBC Radio Scotland to raise more awareness. I have received such positive feedback that I have realised the potential my project has to actually make a difference. The next part of I AM CURVE is a lingerie editorial that will start a body revolution. The shoot features a Scottish lingerie designer, Serène Intimates, photographer, Clare Coulter and makeup artist, Alice Martin. Quotes made by the public in response to my article are inscribed across selected images to reflect society's agreement for diversity of body types in modelling.
I decided to launch my project after spending the summer in London. Here, I met with top agencies, worked with great photographers and saw how far behind Scotland was in accepting models larger than a size 8. I reflected on my own experiences and realised how much of a problem this is. When I attend castings or jobs I always feel anxious the night before that they wouldn't have my size in clothing. I felt it was a need to notify a photographer that I had not worked with before that I was a size 12. Sometimes this was an issue, most of the time photographers really appreciate what I represent. There are curve models out there, some signed, however little you see them. The work is non-existent and I have not yet seen a campaign in Scotland feature curve models. I have had photographers decline to work with me due my hip size. I was walking in a fashion show and the designer did not have the right clothes for me. I was embarrassed and the designer had to go back to her studio and pick up larger sizes. As I began to develop my book I reached out to bigger agencies in Scotland and was told on one occasion by a booker: "You do know that we sign girls that are aged 18 and have 34′′ hips." What upset me about this was not the fact I did not have 34′′ hips, but the attitude of the industry towards models beyond a 34′′ measurement. We are not accepted.
The purpose of my project is to raise awareness that curve modelling exists. The industry, for some reason, is hiding this revolution. There are models who are breaking the boundary. Iskra Lawrence, Ashley Graham, Tess Holliday and Robyn Lawley are models who have become Instagram stars and are campaigning for change. These are supermodels and they should be sought after and featured in the same campaigns as straight size models. There should be no divide.
Regardless of modelling, these woman are role models and have helped me believe in myself and embrace my body and beauty. I know that regardless of modelling I would still have a negative opinion of myself. Curve modelling has given me confidence and the drive to help others who feel or felt the same as I did. Society is very visually orientated and looks play a major role in everyday life. We are bombarded with images of perfection and feel like we are not good enough if we don't strive to look the same. If we stop caring so much about appearance or focusing so much attention in being 'beautiful' the constant critique of yourself will disappear. We are all unique and we all have different opinions of what is beautiful. However, why is the modelling industry and society so fixated on being thin if beauty is subjective? If there were more diverse body types we wouldn't be having this conversation. I am curve. Accept me.
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