Although I've proudly declared myself Not A Model, I still admire the beautiful, strong, real models out there who help represent a healthy image for young women. Lately, it seems that there is a lot of talk about diversity on the runways and the pressure for current supermodels to stay afloat in the stiletto infested waters of the fashion industry.
I respect models such as Coco Rocha, who has spoken out about eating disorders and her struggle to model within a strict standard. Also there's Doutzen Kroes, (my favourite Victoria's Secret angel) who has spoken about her refusal to lose her curves. The Fall 2010 Louis Vuitton runway show featured models of all ages, including 46 year old Elle Macpherson.
I'm inspired by people like Ben Barry, of the Ben Barry Agency who started his own modeling agency that "represents models of all ages, sizes, cultures and abilities." He's started a movement towards recognizing and appreciating beauty in its many forms. Healthy bakery owner and blogger Angela Liddon of OhSheGlows has a contest for her readers where she tells people to write "Size Healthy" on the tags of their clothes and submit their photos.
Don't get me wrong, I adore the fashion industry. I love the creativity, the art and the expression that fashion provides for people all over the world. There are tons of talented people behind these models such as photographers, makeup artists and designers. Instead, I criticize a system that idealizes adolescent girls and then chastises the same prodigy when she develops womanly curves. Ahem, I still think you're stunning Gemma Ward.
The reality is that people will age. They change shape; their bodies develop, sag, tighten and mold to the different harmonies and stages of life.
My hope is that young girls will look at magazine editorial spreads and understand that behind that model is a photographer who has a story to tell. A magic (computer) wand gets rid of blemishes, cellulite, lazy eyes and imperfections. If every woman and man can appreciate the art without trying to fit into some standard themselves (or find that replica in their significant others) there may be a shift in the perception of self-esteem and body image of many people.
I've had my photo professionally taken. I've watched the little tricks of the trade to attain the poreless skin and the soft hazy edges. So I leave you with a photo (same series as my logo) that was taken a few years back as part of Stefania Sgambelluri's photography portfolio.
You see, I would never vacuum wearing high heels and a cocktail dress but it's part of a show, a story and an image. It's definitely not the reality.
Until then.. stay healthy & critically aware of the media around you.