‘The point is to make women feel bet­ter, not worse, about them­selves’

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - COVER STORY -

Win­nie Har­low is another model known for chang­ing per­cep­tions of what mod­ern beauty is. She is the first suc­cess­ful model with vi­tiligo – a con­di­tion that causes some parts of the skin to lose pig­ment.

‘Peo­ple will say things like, “Oh my gosh, you’re so brave for go­ing out and be­ing your­self” and I’m like, “No, I’m not brave, I’m con­fi­dent,”’ she said in a doc­u­men­tary for the BBC. And then there’s plus-size model

Ash­ley Gra­ham, who is win­ning at In­sta­gram. While she may not have the high­est num­ber of fol­low­ers, hers is one of the most in­ter­ac­tive ac­counts in the fash­ion in­dus­try, gar­ner­ing more pos­i­tive re­sponses un­der her shots than al­most any other model. This is a tes­ti­mony to the ex­tent to which Ash­ley’s fans see her as a role model, and specif­i­cally some­one who can chal­lenge the long-held idea that only one body shape can be beau­ti­ful.

Ash­ley has posted hundreds of In­sta­gram shots of her size-18 body in all its nat­u­ral glory un­der the hash­tag #beau­ty­be­yond­size. ‘I would never re­touch cel­lulite, be­cause the point is to make women feel bet­ter, not worse, about them­selves,’ she says.

Fol­low­ing in her wake is Candice Huffine, who is cat­e­gorised as a plus­size model, de­spite hav­ing a sim­i­lar body shape to most women in the UK and SA. And af­ter a slow start, con­stantly bat­tling to lose weight to fit in with pre­vail­ing ideals of beauty, she ac­cepted her larger body type – and within months was shoot­ing with Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia.

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