Throughout 2016 I worked really hard to make my portfolio more diverse and to try to do my part in making this Industry more fair. I've worked with people from different genders, different ethnicities, different ages, different origins... But one thing I haven't done yet is work with people with different body types. And it might not be entirely my fault as most of the times I have no control over the castings but I feel like I must do something about it. Isn't it about time we stopped believing that beautiful only means skinny?
Alexandra Shulman, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, wrote on her editor's letter for the December 2016 issue of the magazine how hard it was to get clothes for the cover's model Ashley Graham. Apparently, none of the designers that usually work with the magazine wanted to dress her because she doesn't fit the impossibly skinny sample sizes that these brands make. And like Mrs. Shulman, I too believe that the we are at a historical moment in fashion where the Industry is craving diversity from within. So how narrow-minded and retrogade can a brand be to not be able to realize that people, not only from the inside but also from the outside of the Industry (customers), want diversity? People want to relate, they don't want to feel ashamed anymore for not being white enough, or tall enough, or skinny enough; they want to get inspired by brands and their ethos and feel like the brands are talking to them, not looking down on them.
Beautiful means "pleasing to the senses". It doesn't mean "this" size or "this" colour or "this birthplace". It means that I see someone or something and I like them. And I see Ashley Graham and I feel like she is such an amazingly gorgeous woman that I would give anything to be able to photograph her and I just can't understand why a designer would not want to dress her?! And it's not only about women. Men are also prey to this nonsense. Beautiful guys from all backgrounds and sizes pass in front of my lens every week and they tell me about the things that agencies or clients tell them about their bodies and how they are constantly shamed into eating less and working out more or lie about their age and height and all I can think is "Why??? Is it even possible to make them more perfect?!".
And I'm not saying that I don't support a healthy lifestyle. We should all take care of ourselves. But I do believe that you can be healthy regardless of your size. You can most certainly be naturally skinny and healthy, but that doesn't mean that you can't be a bigger size and healthy as well. And that's the keyword: healthy. And not only physically, but also mentally. There is nothing more beatiful than someone with a healthy self-esteem. Happy is the new beautiful.
Photo credit: behind the scenes by Andrew Clark.
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