‘PLUS-SIZE’ MODEL, FOODIE, 24
‘I’m normal size. I wish we could all be known as
models, rather than ‘‘plus size’’’
I’ve got big hips and a big body. I’m double, triple the size of other models and I embrace that – I own it.I don’t feel pressure to lose weight as I’ve been this size for years now and I don’t want to change or diet.I’m normal size. I wish we could all be known as models, rather than ‘plus size’. Being a plus-size model in an industry where there aren’t many, means there are some opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. But there are also fewer jobs available, particularly in mainstream and high-end fashion.There’s a sense of,‘Oh,she won’t expect as much money.’ I am not accepting that. People are surprised when I turn up on a shoot and I can model. But why shouldn’t I be able to do it just because I’m a size 16? Plus-size models are being used more in magazines and in the media but not on the runway. I’d love them to use more curvy girls but it’s like a taboo and I don’t know why. It screams lack of diversity. We need a range of ages and ethnicities. There are just very thin, white, 16-year-old girls on the catwalk and that has to change. It doesn’t send out a good message to teenage girls who are impressionable. I once heard anorexia was ‘the look’ of the season. What message is that sending to young women? They’re not coat hangers; they are girls and it’s bad for them to only see skinny frames on the catwalk. I hope I can be a strong role model for them but there aren’t enough of us plus-size models. I’d like for magazines to go Photoshop-free in the most extreme ways they use it. The images are so unrealistic. Girls have enough to deal with when they’re teenagers without that.I have girls as young as 12 writing to me with such body hate, which can distract a girl from achieving what she should. I wish those publications could focus on women scientists and soldiers. Curves don’t epitomize a woman. People use me as a figurehead, and to me that misses the point and is blatantly offensive to thin women – my sister, for one. Saying ‘skinny is ugly’ should be no more acceptable than saying fat is.I find all this stuff a very controlling and effective way of making women obsess over their weight, instead of exploiting their more important attributes, such as intellect, strength and power.We’re too busy being told we’re not thin enough or curvy enough.We’re holding ourselves back. I’ve always worked, from the age of 13, because I was desperate to earn my own money. Seeing how little my dad [a fireman] was paid for what is a hero’s job made me want more from life. I didn’t like the idea of being dependent on anybody. I wanted to be self-sufficient. Of course, my parents encouraged that. If I hadn’t gone into modelling, I would have been a chef. As a child, I helped my mum bake cakes and learnt recipes from her 1960s cookbook.I made lemon-meringue pies at [age] 10 because my grandma loved them.I’ve done a pilot for a cooking show in Australia, and would like to write cookbooks. My boyfriend suggested I should write a food blog. He came up with the idea after I’d made a vegetable bake with Brie in the middle. In my tiny New York kitchen, I cook something and then photograph it. My favourite dish to make is mulberry tart. I can only make it in Australia with fruit from my mom’s tree. It takes seven hours to make; it’s a lot of work but it’s delicious. My boyfriend is my number-one fan. He doesn’t understand the headlines about plus size; to him, I’ve got the greatest body alive. He helps me; he says,‘All I want is for you to be confident, because you’re beautiful when you’re confident.’ People think, ‘Oh, if I lost 10 kilograms life would be so much better.’ Actually, it’s not better; it’s worse, because then you struggle to keep the weight off. I have a personal trainer; I’m a good,healthy weight.I eat like a normal person, indulge occasionally, but never eat fast food. If you feel guilty about food, it stops you from being in the moment. I love food. I don’t hold back from eating what I want. I just make sure it’s portion controlled.