I was lucky enough to run into Louise Varns a couple of weeks ago. I've been a fan for a while. As someone who's always struggled with being larger, I watch the plus size models in awe. I think I'm brave if I dare to show a bit of leg above the ankle or a hint of cleavage, and yet, there they are strutting their stuff, seemingly without a care in the world. No apparent body image issues; not worrying what others think.
There are certain things that I've noticed no longer hold the same level of power over me as they once did and I've realised that there are a whole bunch of things that fat women shouldn't be afraid of, here are six of them.
With the likes of Tess Holliday, Candice Huffine and Ashley Graham hitting the headlines on a regular basis, I decided that now would be as good a time as any for me to finally ditch the obligatory fat girl uniform of baggy, saggy and black clothes; and slide into something less like a sack with arm holes.
I have lost count of how many times I have been invited to comment on older women wearing bikinis, the question always being at what age they should stop. As a model, I am rarely hired to shoot lingerie or swimwear, I have only done it a couple of times, which I find rather bizarre.
I'm currently residing in the trendy east London area that is Shoreditch and I would classify myself as a 'fashionista'. I go shopping on the High Street almost every week but I still don't see images of people like me staring back from the hundreds of advertisements.
There are probably not many people that would claim fashion changed their life, but for me I would say it's pretty close to the truth. Of course there are different circumstances that have changed my life, changed the path I am on and helped me to be happier, but hand on my heart I put a lot of that down to the discovery of plus size fashion and learning my own sense of style.
Women need to be able to relate to the model - how can you invisage yourself in an outfit if a teenage girl with a body of a boy is modelling it? I want to open a magazine and see all types of bodies looking back at me, because the world does not come in one dress size. Everybody is different and that is what makes us beautiful.
If companies are going to represent body positivity, then they need to be FULLY inclusive of all body types, sizes, backgrounds and lifestyles - not conform to the cookie cutter humanity that we've so far been subjected to in society for financial gain.
Bianca Von Stempel is a fashion designer motivated towards changing perceptions of visual impairment through her love for fashion design. Raising awareness of sight loss through her creative and dynamic deisgns. Out to prove that sight loss isn't a barrier to achieving your aspirations in life.
In the 80s and 90s, Madonna established herself as an unapologetically strong, female role model. She pushed the boundaries of sexuality and femininity to become the ultimate sex symbol and global superstar. Now, she's expected to revoke all that, because society can't handle it when women age. We like our older women invisible and devoid of sexuality.
Schumer aside, I'd like to know why Glamour decided to have an issue to celebrate plus size women in the first place. Is it making up for (decades of) lost time? Having an entire issue to plus size women only serves to highlight how exclusive the magazine is the other 11 months of the year - and has been every year since it first launched in 1939.
Beauty adverts are many things to many people - iconic, aspirational, dishonest, Photoshopped, damaging. But, universally, they are inescapable. But with great spending power, comes great influence - want to play on the insecurity of women and girls to sell your product? Sorry, we're just not buying it anymore.
The world and it's perception of beauty is changing, and in the UK, the black and minority population has doubled over the last 10 years, and the mixed race population is one of the fastest growing ethnic groups. I now see more and more advertising campaigns and magazine editorials that feature a wider range of ethnicities.
As the Minister for Disabled People, I see the incredible skills and talents of people battling physical and mental disabilities every day. This includes individuals like Amandeep from Wolverhampton; fed up of her drab grey crutches she worked hard to redecorate them - turning them from appliances to fashion accessories. She now runs her own company, Stride Style to make them available to lots of others.
From the age of 10 I was obsessed with models and fashion I loved the creativity and the glamour. I would look at these images and wish I to could look like those models in the magazines, being young and naive I was unaware about the hard work that is put into creating an image and that what I was really looking at were images of fantasy.
I am proud of my uniqueness and believe individuality should be celebrated. Why try and blend in when you were born to stand out?! I refuse to be labelled. I am not a robot, or a carbon copy. I am a human being. My arm does not define me as a person. It is just part of me, like every other part is.