Growing up I had my share of "chubby stages" (unfortunately, my mother has kept photographic evidence of every one), but I never really considered myself unattractive. I suppose in the back of my mind I always knew I had my sense of humor and smile to fall back on if I never grew out of my awkward stage! It wasn't until my Senior year in High School that I noticed my face beginning to thin, revealing complimenting cheekbones and my waist becoming more defined from my "love handles". For the first time I noticed I felt beautiful rather than awkward!
I recently read on a modeling agency's website that being a model was more than people just telling you that you are beautiful. Well...I agree with them to some degree. They are right that modeling is more than other people telling you that you are beautiful. Modeling requires a sense of confidence (not to be confused with pride) that when projected to an audience can make a person flipping through a magazine cram-packed with advertisements, stop dead in their tracks and say to themselves "Now there is a person who is happy with who they are!". Even so, most modeling agencies do not follow their own advice, since the entire modeling industry is thriving off of what other people think. The irony is that the whole cycle begins with the agency.
Not even five years ago "plus-sized models" (you will learn I am not a fan of this wording) were unheard of in the modeling industry. To my full-figured female friends and myself it has been a delight to see more differentiation in the sizes of models featured in advertisements as well as the runway. More modeling agencies have begun to launch plus divisions, showing that the long lived skeletore thin ideal body type for models is changing. It is a very exciting change, but we are still a long way from the modeling industry accepting all women for who they are.
Last week I decided that it would be fun to stop by a few open calls for modeling in the Chicago area. I understand that being a size sixteen made my chances slim, but I believed that the confidence I have in myself would shine through! The irony of the whole industry is that my size was not the reason for me being turned away from more than two agencies...it was my height! That's right folks, I was informed that I was three inches too short at five feet and seven inches for a "plus-sized model". I was surprised by this, but I really found it more humorous than upsetting. Last season, modeling agencies were fighting each other for women with gaped front teeth and extremely defined brows, but I was not of any interest because I was a few inches too short! I am in no way bitter that I was not accepted to model for some of Chicago's leading modeling agencies, but my experience did make me think more about the irony and humorous, Catch 22 rules that they all follow.
It is my hope that someday not only full-figured models, but also short, old, un-air brushed and retouched models will be welcome with open arms, because there truly is much more to being a model than what other people say about you. No one should ever feel that they have to cater to someone else's standards in order to feel beautiful or accepted...that's up to you and only you.
"My friends think I am shallow. Sometimes I think they're right. Other times I think 'Hey, I'm a fucking model!'".
Sex and The City - Models and Mortals (1998)