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.
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.
Growing up I didn't see plus size people in the media. Fat models were just not visible. So to be in a room surrounded by bodies like mine, watching them model for major brands generally be successful is a real treat. Seeing clothes I want to buy on larger bodies is invaluable - seeing this in real life is indescribable.
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.
One the biggest lessons I learnt for dealing with summer was to show a little skin (although not too much or you end up with severe burns but that's another story!). It can be intimating to show off arms or wear something that shows your legs off, but trust me, it's worth it!
The video proves that #yoga has no size. Showing the bloggers having fun and enjoying their practice. Sharing their yoga experiences, previous perceptions and how it has changed. It is hoped the video will get more individuals to experience the many benefits of yoga.
Your negative and judgemental stereotypes make a mockery of all the work people (especially women) have done to remind women and young girls that health (both physical and mental) not size or looks are a priority.
After all, platforms like Instagram allow us to choose the content we consume, so instead of being battered over the head by the body shaming bumf of traditional women's magazines, I've carefully curated a community that reaffirms my self worth rather than systemically dismantling it.
I have to say, I love being a plus size blogger. As hobbies go, I can't think of anything that I would be more suited to. I love that my social media feeds are filled with other bloggers and people talking about similar topics.
Let's stop segregating models by their measurements. Let's stop letting hip sizes dictate whether someone is model-worthy or not. Let's start finding more Maya's and Barbara's, and bring modeling back to what it's best at: discovering charismatic, unique and beautiful faces, that all women can aspire to.
As a chubby teenager I grew up without any real role models. Yes, I had teen idols and boyband crushes but I could never open up an issue of Sugar magazine and see someone like me staring back. Surrounded by thin friends and people who told me I should lose weight, it sometimes seemed like a lonely place. Thankfully I discovered the world of social media...
When I was smaller I was still insecure, things didn't come easier to me and I was told I was too skinny. In fact I was miserable but yet I keep thinking that something magical will come of losing weight, like all my shit would suddenly be together because I was skinny.
Whatever you think about the current state of the plus size fashion market, no one can deny that we have come along way. I remember when SLiNK began just five years ago I could count the number of plus size brands I knew on both hands and the idea that the likes of River Island and Boohoo would've launched trend focussed plus size lines a mere and lofty dream.
I don't think I quite comprehended the question when the BBC rang me for a comment. In a week where it felt like a tiny step had been made for mankind (the potential for brands to be financially punished for not cutting sugar out of their fizzy pop) I was genuinely being asked if I thought we should ban elasticated trousers as they might encourage obesity.
The collection is loud, fun and daring. The prints make a bold statement, like Beth herself, immediately saying 'I've arrived' in the most exaggerated fashion. This is no random collection. I felt Beth's energy and presence in every piece.
I decided that if I couldn't find models that I could relate to, neither could a huge portion of women. Size-wise I'm around the UK average. Where as fashion model's measurements represent less than 5% of the population. So it became my mission to try and promote diversity in the industry by showing that #everyBODYisbeautiful.