meet a new generation of body positive pioneers
From viral hashtags to YouTube videos, meet the activists paving the way for a more body positive future. Because beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes.
Charli Howard is the 23-year-old, size 4 model who was dropped by her agency for being "too big." But instead of conforming to the emaciated image her agency demanded of her, Charli took to Facebook with a now viral open letter to call our her agency's body shaming bullshit.
Denise Bidot is the half Puerto Rican, half Kuwaiti model who proves there's no wrong way to be a woman. Too pretty to play the best friend, too big to play the leading lady, Denise's dreams of being an actress were crushed in one fell swoop -- so she tried her hand at being a plus size model instead. Fast-forward to today and Denise is one of the most successful models in the business. Most recently, she took part in Swimsuits For All's Beach Body, Not Sorry, campaign which aims to celebrate un-retouched forms of beauty in every shape and size.
At 5'11" and with a BMI of 17.5, Agnes Hedengård would make the perfect model. But having been rejected by many major modeling agencies for being "too fat," it would seem that it wasn't actually the case. In response, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty posted a video to YouTube calling out the industry for its impossible body type ideals.
Naomi Shimada is a size 16. She used to be size 8, but who gives a f? She's the model who refused to conform to the industry's unrealistic ideals of beauty. She's also becoming a bit of a whistleblower within the plus size modeling industry, revealing that most plus size models are encouraged to wear extra padding, and some even wear fat suits. She's also keen to change how we think of the term 'plus,' emancipating it from notions of obesity and unhealthiness.
Like Naomi, Barbara also wants to redefine what we think of as plus size. At size 12, she's the Me & You model who is turning the industry's standards of beauty on its head. With 190,000 followers on Instagram, she's also becoming a role model for young girls to look up to -- the kind of voluptuous and beautiful role model that Barbara wished she had when she was growing up.
Jordan Bone is the British make-up artist and disability activist who has been reshaping what we think of as ideal body types. At the age of 15, Jordan was involved in a car crash that left her paralyzed from the chest down, but this didn't deter her. Fast-forward to today and Jordan has amassed over 100,000 YouTube subscribers following her artistic passion.
Never one to conform to mainstream standards of beauty, Tess never thought she could make it as a model. But at size 26, she's made history by being signed to a major modeling agency. An inspiration to millions (check her huge Insta following), in 2013 Tess launched the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, a defiant retort to the volume of bullying she was receiving online. Since then the hashtag has gathered momentum, and her call for body positivity is being spread all over the world.
Like her BFF Barbara Ferreira, Diana Veras is a role model to hundreds of thousands of young girls. Diana -- who at 19 has already modeled for #mycalvins and Opening Ceremony -- is living proof that size and shape have nothing to do with beauty. What's more, she actively encourages girls to accept who they are no matter what they look like.
Petra's baby sister Anna Collins is the go to girl for advice on body issues. Her YouTube channel, Female Fiasco, features numerous videos on things like body dysmorphia, accepting yourself, and feeling confident. Having struggled with her own body-related issues, her knowledge and compassion on the subject make her messages super relatable.
We all know what Zendaya thinks about cultural appropriation, but you might have missed her views on body image. After having her body totally manipulated by Modeliste magazine, the singer took to Instagram to release the unretouched image of herself. "Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso quite manipulated," she wrote. "These are the things that make women self-conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self-love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it."