Irrespective of the changing times, our idea of a model hasn’t really evolved much. Even today, when we say ‘model’, most of us imagine a tall and slender woman with striking features, sashaying down the ramp. This is why we are taken aback when we see someone who isn’t a “conventional model” walk the ramp. We all have an equal part in creating this stereotypical image or rather body image of a model.
For teenagers, runway models are icons they look up to; I remember how my younger cousins want to do what their favorite model does and be like her. This desire to be like someone they look up to sometimes leads to teenagers becoming victims of various eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. What they don’t realize in this impressionable age is that every body is different and unique.
But things are changing slowly; many celebrities are coming forward to promote a healthy body image, proving to everyone that being tall and thin isn’t the only chic thing. A few models are working towards breaking the stereotypes associated with a set body image.
The most recent example coming from the ongoing New York Fashion Week, where, artist Maria Ruth Lee, walked the ramp for designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, proudly flaunting her baby bump. According to a report in Vogue, Lee who was wearing a lavender snap-front cardigan dress, unbuttoned her dress at the middle to reveal her pregnant belly. Appreciating this positive change, the Vogue director Nichole Phelps, shared the photo on social media saying, “I’ve been going to fashion shows for 21 years and I’ve seen a pregnant model on the runway exactly one other time. Something to think about.”
Phelps’ astonishment isn’t really misplaced; the sight of a pregnant woman walking the ramp is indeed rare. However this is not the first time that a model has come forward to break the stereotypes associated with the body image, in India, supermodel Carol Gracias had walked the ramp last year at the Lakme Fashion Week, flaunting her baby bump and creating waves in the Indian fashion industry. Following suit was none other than Bebo, who went on to prove that pregnancy is definitely not the end of her career.
Image source: news.indiglamour
Image source: rediff
Another incredible model who is breaking stereotypes like a boss is the American model Liza Golden-Bhojwani, she decided to be a plus sized model after being a size zero model, proving to everyone that size cannot define beauty. Tess Holiday, the first size 22 model is a body-positive activist and the face of a number of feel-good campaigns that are going viral, like the #EffYourBeautyStandards and #SimplyBekini. She feels that fashion needs to embrace diversity and that women should not shame themselves or others, by seeing them only in terms of their weight. “Our relationships with ourselves and our bodies are the most important ones we will ever have,” she says.
Who is coming to my book signing TOMORROW in London?? I'm so excited!!! This is my last stop of my book tour in England so please come out & give me hugs & let's take selfies & let me hold your babies plz???????????????????????????????????????????????????? Location: @waterstones Piccadilly, at 17:30 ????✨ (Also anyone that has disabilities & cant stand long in the queue please let me know so we can make sure you are looked after) #notsosubtletess #thenotsosubtleartofbeingafatgirl #effyourbeautystandards
The “oldest working model”, Carmen Dell’Orefice, started her career as a face on Vogue’s cover, when she was 15 years old. Today, at 85, she is again running the show, with a graceful silvery gray mane. “I’ve always considered myself a silent actress. The story line is what a photograph is all about,” she proudly says. With a 70-year long modeling career, she is definitely getting rid of the ‘tags’ imposed on models!
All these models are not only breaking stereotypes associated with the fashion industry but are also promoting a healthy body image. These women and their work go on to prove that it’s high time that the world of glamour embraced diversity. Everyone is unique and it’s unfair to expect them to mold themselves into a fix body type and affixed mindset. With these baby steps, we are actually learning to celebrate uniqueness.
Cover image source: styleby