this body positivity model is making fat a positive word

Iceland’s Isold Halldorudottir is paving the way for body positivity with the hashtag #fatgirloncam

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Aug 9 2018, 6:15am

I am not sure what you have heard about Iceland lately -- it’s growing it’s economy, it’s home to several festivals, the tourist population has grown by ten-fold, but it is also a country of equality, freedom and community. Isold Halldorudottir is a 22-year-old filmmaker, activist and a model who came to our attention after being shot by Kendall Jenner for LOVE magazine. She talks us through why she wants to make the word ‘fat’ one with positive connotations.

image by Berglaug Garðarsdóttir

Hi Isold! What's your average day in Iceland like?
Very much like any other artist trying to make it. I wake up five minutes later than I should have, cuddle my one-eyed cat because if I don’t he throws a tantrum at me, and then I’m off to work, where I spend most of my time plotting my success. I currently work in retail and have been for a while. Of course I wish I could focus all my energy on art and modelling, but in this economy I’m just grateful to have a job. I live in downtown Reykjavik with my mum -- Iceland can be really isolating, all of my dreams are miles away and I’ve lost a lot of opportunities because of that. That said, there's a great support system here. My friends are mostly all creators and they understand the hard work that goes into each project and how sometimes you have to hustle and then hustle some more.

Iceland has changed a lot lately -- is this good or bad?
Compared to other countries Iceland is a lot more progressive and equal. Icelandic women have always been very independent, which is still something people find intimidating, but after the #metoo movement and #freethenipple, Iceland has become a lot louder. It opened more opportunities for women to speak up on what they believe in, like consent.

You come from a creative background, how has that influenced you growing up?
There was a lot of freedom to explore. My mum raised me as a single parent and always made me believe that I could do anything I set my mind to, which is something I still carry with me today. My opinion was my own and so were my choices.

"When I was younger I used to think that I needed to lose weight to be beautiful. Those ideas still exist, not just in the minds of young girls but in everyone’s. There are countless of people trying their best to sustain their individuality, and yet the world continues to knock them down."

Your Instagram bio says model, artist, activist, what do you stand for?
First and foremost I stand for equality -- everyone deserves a fair chance at success no matter your gender, race or size. People of colour, trans people, and non-binary people, we’re all working our asses off trying to achieve something, and there's enough room for all of us to succeed.

I also find it important to stay vocal about showcasing diversity and inclusivity. I want women to love their bodies. It’s so important to know where your insecurities come from and to understand why they’re there before making changes to your body. I want to help raise awareness to those who feel discouraged to go after their dreams because of their size.

image by Berglaug Garðarsdóttir

You were photographed by Kendall Jenner, what was this experience like?
To be able to say that my first experience with modelling was when I had the opportunity to work with LOVE magazine and be photographed by Kendall Jenner, is not something I take lightly.

When I met her on set, she was very low-key, but her being such a big name in the industry I also felt intimidated... I had no idea of what I was doing. I was insecure and felt very out of place and she could probably tell that just as much as the rest of the crew did, I think I only did one pose, not really knowing where to look. I’ve definitely learned a lot since then, and have grown to be more comfortable in front of the camera. I’ll forever stay grateful to have had that opportunity as it was my starting point and the main source to what I aspire doing today.

On Instagram you use the hashtag #fatgirloncam, why did you choose to do this?
#fatgirloncam is an honest representation of who I am and what I look like. I find it important to use the word fat to describe myself as it has been turned into a negative. It's neither positive nor negative. It's something so many people have used against me. But now I own up to it because there's nothing wrong with being fat, just like there's nothing wrong with being skinny or average.

image by Barbara Haas

Why is it important to shift the meaning of beauty in 2018?
When I was younger I used to think that I needed to lose weight to be beautiful. Those ideas still exist, not just in the minds of young girls, but in everyone’s. There are countless numbers of people trying their best to maintain their individuality, and yet the world continues to knock them down. That is why it’s important to challenge what it means to be beautiful The idea that you can only be accepted by society at a certain weight and a specific age is outrageous.

Finally, when did you shave off your hair and dye it blue?
I first shaved off my hair in 2014, at the time my hair had been completely destroyed by bleach and hair dye so it only seem reasonable to start from scratch… I only recently dyed it blue, maybe two weeks ago.