28, model, blog­ger and men­tal health ad­vo­cate

Women's Health (UK) - - NAKED - @jadasezer

‘It’s wrong to think larger peo­ple aren’t healthy. Yes, I have fat on my size 16 body, but I eat a healthy, var­ied diet – things like salmon with quinoa and broc­coli – and I work out three times a week. I love hot yoga – which helps con­trol my anx­i­ety – and run­ning. I’m hop­ing to do the Lon­don marathon next year.

My at­ti­tude to ex­er­cise has changed over the years: in my early twen­ties I worked out all the time in the gym, des­per­ate to be thin­ner and smaller than my 5ft 10in frame so I could look more like other girls. But af­ter study­ing for a mas­ter’s in child psy­chol­ogy, I learned that ac­cept­ing who you are is at the root of self-es­teem. Now, I’ve come to love my curvy body – es­pe­cially my hips. I know I can’t change my nat­u­ral size, and I’ve ac­cepted that. I’m never hard on my­self and if I have a take­away one night, then I just bal­ance it out with a healthy ve­gan meal and a green juice the fol­low­ing day.

It was af­ter I be­gan cam­paign­ing on so­cial me­dia for more di­ver­sity in the fash­ion in­dus­try five years ago that I was signed as a model by Models1. Since then, I’ve worked for brands in­clud­ing Asos and L’oréal, and I’m proud to rep­re­sent women of my size. But I hate the term “plus size”. In the UK, that means any­one who’s a size 12 or up, which is crazy. I’m not “plus size”, I’m just a model.

Of course, I’ve had some neg­a­tive com­ments on so­cial me­dia – but the over­whelm­ing re­sponse from my 140,000 fol­low­ers on Instagram is from other women who want to know how to feel good about them­selves. I’m ex­tremely pas­sion­ate about men­tal health. My dream is to be­come more than just a model – I want to build a body-con­fi­dence and self-es­teem em­pire, to help other peo­ple. When peo­ple ask me where I get my con­fi­dence, I tell them I’ve lit­er­ally grown into my body. If I can pass that feel­ing on to other women,

I’ll feel like my job is done.’

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