Editing a fashion magazine when you’re a size 14 (on a good day) is not always a barrel of laughs. The flesh may be weak, but the mind must be strong to withstand the daily onslaught of socalled ‘perfect’ bodies and fashion that I can’t fit into. Believe me, I’d happily spend more of my pay cheque on designer labels – if only they went past a size 12. And I know I’m not alone. It is endlessly frustrating to me that so many luxury brands think their customers don’t have curves. And I find it hard to honestly and ethically represent the diversity of the female body in the pages of ELLE when fashion samples generally come in one size – zero.
Thankfully, attitudes are shifting. Labels such as Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, Coach and Dolce & Gabbana are among the vanguard offering a wider range of sizes, while the old cliché that ‘fat’ bodies are ‘unhealthy’ bodies is finally being exposed for the patronising lie that it is. I have been everything from a size zero to a size 16, and the truth is that some of my skinniest years were also some of my unhealthiest and unhappiest. Now, I work out as much as I can, but I also have a demanding job, I travel a lot, I prefer to lie in bed reading on Saturdays than go to spin class and I really enjoy food. (And wine! I really enjoy wine.) Sure, I want to be stronger and more toned, but I don’t wake up in the morning hating myself because my bones have more flesh on them than they used to. There’s so much more to life.
If you could use a little body positivity, turn straight to page 60 and read Grace Wong’s ‘Scrolling for body goals’. Instagram isn’t always the safest place for people with selfesteem issues, given its invitations to judge and endless fuel for #FOMO, but there are bright points once you know which accounts to follow. If you want a fun new way to get fit, try trampolining like we did (page 62), then check out the beauty products we recommend for a relaxing spa night at home (page 64).
Above all, remember that it’s all about perspective, as superstar writer Roxane Gay, author of the staggering new memoir, Hunger, points out in our exclusive interview this month. “Many of the people talking about body positivity are size 12, size 14, even size 16,” she says. “I understand there is a lot of cultural pressure for women that size to be smaller, but I’m like, honestly, you have a problem being positive about your body? Really? For me, in this body, it’s hard to take that seriously.”
Shoes, RM3,890, Manolo Blahnik
Swimsuit, Eres at sianswimwear.com. Earrings, approx. RM280, Maya Magal, mayamagal.co.uk
John Galliano for Christian Dior S/S ’97, photographed by Michael Thompson (1997)
Babes ChloÉ Signature EDP, RM489 (75ml)
Panthère de Cartier watch in pink gold with diamonds, RM119,000, Cartier
Chanel Huile de Jasmin, RM550