personal stuff – randomness

dear body

Women love to bitch about their bodies. It’s true. We take pleasure in getting together and one by one, list all the things we don’t like about how we look. We take comfort in it. We think it’s normal. Well, I hate to break it to you girls, but it’s not normal. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. It’s exactly this kind of behavior that keeps us small and hating ourselves… and why would we want that, when it’s so much more fun thinking you’re an awesome babe who kicks total ass? Just saying.

So here’s a thought: how about we list all the things we do like about ourselves?

For all you lovelies in desperate need of some hardcore bodypositivism (so ehm, basically, all of us), I suggest a good way to start is by writing a letter to yourself… Here’s mine!

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Dear body,

I called you fat. I sat on the floor, my expanding thighs pushed against the floor, my belly sticking out, pinching and squeezing every inch of you I hated. I looked at the bumps on my thighs and the stretchmarks on my hips and hated you for it. I looked at you in and cried.  I called you disgusting, even though none of this was your fault and you did nothing wrong.

I called you weak. Too weak to stick to diets that were exhausting and confusing you. Too weak to keep pushing when I had already pushed you too far. Too weak to be something, someone, you were never supposed to be.

I called you worthless. I never said thank you. I never said I love you. I hid you and covered you up because I was ashamed of you. I was embarrassed to be seen with you. I judged you. I took everything you ever did for me for granted.

Dear body, I am sorry for the way I treated you. There isn’t a single person in this world that I have treated worse than you … and yet you carried me through all of this.

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Now I see your beauty. I see how long your legs are and how you arch your back. I see your scars and stretches and freckles, and they each tell the story of how I became the woman I am today. You are always a work in progress, but you are beautiful and perfect in every way.

Now I see your strength. You are strong and fast. You can run and you can swim and you can climb and you do everything I want you to, and you know how to push yourself without breaking. You still get stronger every day. You are a warrior and a survivor and perfect in every way.

Now I see your worth. You love and laugh with all your heart. You try and see the best in people, always. You lift other people up instead of pushing them down. You are warm and smart and patient and kind. You are amazing and perfect in every way.

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Dear body, I love you.

What would you say to your body?

pictures by arno nieuwhof, 100% retouch-free

What it’s like for me to be on the bigger end of plussize

Hello there, lovely people of the interwebz! Today I want to talk about what it’s like for me to be on the bigger end of plus. You guys probably know by now that I’m a plussize model. I’ve been modelling for 5 years now (it truly is ridiculous how fast time goes by) and I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon. As much as I LOVE modelling and as much as I love the person I’ve become, I can’t say it’s always been an easy road.

“Technically, plussize starts at a size 38 and goes up to a size 46-48, so even for a plussize model I’m big”

For those of you who don’t know how this part of the industry works, a quick explanation: “plussize” is a term to describe models who don’t have fashionmodelsize. That means that technically, plussize starts at a size 38. It goes up roughly a size 46-48, so with my size 46 I’m a “big” size for plussize.

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Contrary to the straightsize fashion industry, where all girls are expected to have the exact same size, plussize models come in various shapes and sizes. And while the “perfect” plussize fluctuates depending on market and trends, there has been one trend regarding sizes in plussize that seems consistent: plussize models are getting smaller. Generally speaking, a curvy size 42 is hot right now, and I would have to drop at least a size and a half to meet that standard

“size 42 is hot right now, and I would have to drop at least a size and a half to meet that standard”

There have been many moments in my career where I considered losing a lot of weight for modelling. I sometimes compare myself to slimmer plussize models and feel really bad about my own body and size as a result. I’ve been to plenty of castings where I was the only plussize model in my size, I’ve been to jobs where they photoshopped me skinnier or where I had to squeeze myself into clothes that were at least 2 sizes too small.

“at the end of the day, you’re being judged and picked apart based on how you look”

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At the end of the day, as much as I believe in sharing a message, this multi billion dollar industry doesn’t just run on inner beauty: you’re  being judged and picked apart based on how you look. And quite frankly, always being the bigger girl of your group (even though we’re all in the same line of business) can be extremely difficult.

“Is it worth changing what I believe if if means I can make my dreams a reality?”

So I have spent countless hours in doubtful nights staring at the ceiling, wondering if I would work more if I did lose weight (the answer: not necessarily), obsessing about it. In my heart, I still secretly dream of that Vogue cover and those big campaigns, so I wondered: is it worth changing what I believe if it means I may have a slightly bigger chance of making my dreams a reality?

In the end, I decided against it. I know I’m at my natural size, the size I’m meant to have. I exercise a lot, I eat right, I live healthy and I’m my weight is stable: this is where my body wants to be, and I want to respect that by giving it everything it deserves. On days where my body isn’t being picked apart by people who don’t necessarily understand it, I feel great about myself, which tells me that my unhappiness doesn’t come from within, but rather that it’s a result from hearing I’m not good enough in the size I am now.

“how can I admire girls for listening to their bodies and not do the same thing?”

So really, why should I? How can I admire fashiongirls who refuse to drop weight for their agency, and at the same time consider doing the same thing myself? How can I talk to models who are struggling with their body filling out that they are perfect the way they are, and that they shouldn’t force their body just so they can become a model, and not listen to my own advice? Crazy, right?

“I want to stay true to myself and my beliefs, and not lose weight just because it would make other people happy”

Plussize models come in many shapes and sizes, and if I’m proud of that diversity I should also be proud that I’m part of that diversity by being a model on the bigger end of plus. If I ever do make an impact in this world, I want it to be because I stayed true to myself and my beliefs, and not because I caved and gave in to the pressure of dropping weight just because it would make other people happy. Besides, all awesome models are the same size anyway… awesomesized!

 

“plussize models come in many shapes and sizes, and I am proud to be part of that diversity. Besides, all awesome models are the same size: awesomesized”

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Photography by Fanny Van Poppel, makeup and hair by Danielle Trilsbeek