What do Ashley Graham, Precious Lee, and Nicola Griffin have in common? They are all banning together to redefine the standards of beauty in the modeling industry.
For many years, designers were known for using models that only wore sizes 2 to 4, and anyone over those sizes could be assured that if they were interested in modeling that they would either need to lose weight or consider a different career path.
One model I interviewed had this to say:
“Although designers were looking for women between the sizes of 2-4, many of them could only obtain models that were over a size 6 to 8.” They continued to state, “In the real world 67 per cent of US women are size 14 to 34 so I am unsure why designers were always seeking to find what I considered the needle in the haystack! It was and it still is unrealistic!”
Last year, model Ashley Graham told the Huffington Post, “Everyone deserves to see themselves being represented equally.”
I could not agree with her more.
Anyone who views magazines, social media sites, and television has a pretty a good idea of what America considers to be beauty’s ideal.
She must be tall and thin.
She must have a buttocks but not too big.
She must have the perfect skin tone without blemishes.
She must be surgically enhanced but not too many enhancements.
But, as most of us know, the so-called idea of perfection not only creates an almost impossible image for women to follow, it drives huge profits in the beauty and diet industries. It also fuels an obsession with plastic surgery that as left many women thinking that beauty really can come in one form, at least for anyone with enough money can obtain it by taking a little “snip” or “tuck” wherever there’s something to change, hide or get rid of.
And although what is considered beautiful screams at us everyday, many women are screaming back, “That’s, Unrealistic!” And it is these women who are redefining for themselves what beauty means and what it should look like.
As societal beliefs about what size a model should or should not be have evolved, so has the definition of beauty.
In embracing this new definition, many women of all shapes and sizes believe their dreams of becoming a model can actually come true.
Recently, that dream was realized for plus-sized model Ashley Graham, who became the latest rookie to grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. That’s a plus, no pun intended, for the majority of women, especially curvy types.
Graham once publicly recalled how people would react with raised eyebrows when they found out she modeled for a living, giving her unconventional body type. But that did not stop her. She continued to pursue the dream and now the dream is paying her off in a big way.
Congrats to all the women who continue to fight the good fight to redefine beauty for us all? We salute you!