Is the modelling industry really becoming more inclusive?

"At the office meeting agents & inspecting which markets are expanding there beauty size requirements. Mixed news to report back.. So far we have a few promising leads and a few questions about whether I could ‘lose a little’.. It’s a strange thing having your income linked to your hip measurements.."

I've just finished meeting another agency, this one was on Skype in my home in London. At the call time they asked me to get into my bikini, they had a look at my body, told me I had wonderful potential in their market IF I can 'tone up' and make my hips a little smaller. Overall a lovely interaction but I am just shocked that we are still having this measurement conversation.

There has been a lot of hype on social media over the last year about the fashion industry supposedly becoming more body size inclusive. As a model who came from years of eating disorders which were linked to trying to stay thin to get modelling work, the emergence of more successful 'plus size' models has been inspiring for me to see and it has helped me to re-define how I perceived beauty to being beyond physical size.

But is the industry really changing?

Based on my experience so far - yes - it has changed to now include this plus size category in most modelling agencies which is for women who are over 100cm hip size BUT for other fashion models you still must have a hip 91cm or below for most agencies to want to work with you.

It's no question that fashion and advertising influences the beauty norms in society - so where is the representation for any women who have hips between 91-100cm? That's size 8-12 which is ALOT of fit and healthy women. It just seems crazy to me at this point as a 24 year old fit, healthy woman who trains a few times a week and teaches yoga that I am still being encouraged to lose weight to fit into a box of measurements that is largely made up of 16-22 year olds.

Aren't women supposedly in there prime in their mid twenties? Can't we enjoy the occasional croissant, sleep in once a week instead of going to the gym & have some gentle exercise days and still be beautiful looking a little softer?

I took a year out of the industry in 2019 to deliberate this topic and take the pressure off my body as I really wanted to heal my mind-body relationship after 6 years of modelling full time. After the year focusing on my studies of yoga, meditation, personal development and doing some freelance modelling work, I realised that the change I was seeking had to come from within the industry and I decided it was time to come back in and embody the change I wish to see.

I agreed with myself that I'd work out and eat well (which I do and love naturally) but only to the point that it still felt nourishing and empowering for me. I no longer want to push beyond what my body tells me is right for me just to meet old standards that cause so much stress for women outside the industry too. So over the last few months, I found a great mother agent, re-built my portfolio and am now looking for agencies to book me work in individual markets. With the recent feedback, I'm currently in a tricky phase of deliberating how much I can stick to my ideals about changing the beauty norms whilst actually making a living to support myself or whether I want to take the route of making some new personal fitness goals and pushing myself to reach my peak athletic physical condition which will also make me ‘fit in’ again given the current way the industry runs..

Either way, I’ve learned so much about how I relate to my body throughout this journey with modelling and I feel confident that I’ll be able to make an empowered decision and keep doing work I love in the world regardless of how that looks.. and I guess that was always the ultimate goal for me and so regardless of what happens next, I’m proud of myself!

I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences on this topic.