When I thought of the word “model”, I used to think of girls who have really skinny bodies, gorgeous faces and close to perfect skin and hair.
Now, when the same word comes to mind, I don’t really think of perfect, skinny girls anymore.
I think of big girls, I think of women who can model as men and vice versa, I think of amputees and so on. It’s like everybody else was put in the mix and I’m loving it because fashion has really adopted the idea of giving importance to a person’s individuality.
If you don’t have any idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a list of some of the models I look up to because they have, in their way, reshaped the world of fashion with their individuality:
1. Tess Holliday
Ryann Maegan Hoven, more popularly known as Tess Holliday, is a plus-size model based in Los Angeles. She describes herself as a feminist who strongly disagrees with society’s basic standard of beauty. She headed the Instagram campaign for body positivity (#effyourbeautystandards) in 2013 and 2 years after, she became the first plus-size model to have been signed by a mainstream modeling agency – Milk Model Management. On the same year, she appeared on the cover of People’s magazine as the world’s first size 22 super model. Beat that!
She inspires all women to embrace the body that they already have – no diets and sacrifices needed.
2. Carmen Dell’Orefice
Believe it or not, this beautiful lady is about 83 years old. For me, Carmen Dell’ orefice is the contradiction to the fashion industry’s obsession with youth. This year, she was featured in the magazine New You where she talks about sex, diets and modeling. In this same interview, she shares her love for ice cream (not clothes) and for life. Aside from the fact that she looks absolutely gorgeous at the age of 83, I feel like she still wants to live each day to the fullest and she doesn’t let her age get in the way.
3. Rebekah Marine
Rebekah Marine is a 28-year old model, inspirational speaker and humanitarian. She was born in 1987 without a right forearm but she didn’t allow her disability to hinder her from becoming a model. She’s been featured in numerous publications such as People Magazine, Mashable, Daily Mail, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post and many more. In her interview with Mashable she expressed the importance of adding more diverse models into the fashion scene. I couldn’t agree more and, evidently, we see this happening in recent times.
4. Madeline Stuart
Madeline Stuart is actually the second model with down-syndrome to walk down the runway. She was included in the New York Fashion Week where she received a standing ovation. If this isn’t inspiration enough, I honestly don’t know what it. She’s focused and determined to pursue her modeling career and she’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
5. Winnie Harlow
Last but certainly not the least on my list is Winnie Harlow. I first saw her joining America’s Next Top Model Cycle 21. Tyra Banks saw something special in her despite her having a skin condition known as vitiligo. She wasn’t able to win the competition but that wasn’t a failure on her part, I think, because she was later on featured in a few stories on the internet. She also landed several campaigns – one is from the prominent Italian clothing brand, Diesel. She also made the covers of Glamour and Cosmopolitan.
Here is a video of her where she met another aspiring model
Why they are my favorites
I know that I’ve mentioned a few reasons as to why these ladies are my favorite models but it all boils down to their drive to really reshape society’s view of what is beautiful. I don’t see models the same way I used to because now, I have models (role models) who allowed me to look at beauty, fashion and modeling from a different angle.
My favorites make me think that I am beautiful.
They inspire me to also be an inspiration to others and they tell me that being myself is enough – I don’t need to put on a mask for people, I don’t need to pretend.
This is a very strong message that every girl needs to hear.