Sick Of Size 0? This Plus-Size Model Has An Idea For Change

Myla Dalbesio is leading the size zero backlash...

Sick Of Size 0 Models? This Plus-Size Model Has An Idea For Change

by Zing Tsjeng |
Published on

Once upon a time, there were the supermodels. Amazons in 80s power suits, striding down the runway and refusing to swing their size six limbs out of bed for anything under $10,000 – women like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. But fast forward to 2015 and it still feels like we’re still stuck in the age of heroin chic. Despite huge strides in ethnic diversity on the runway, most models are still thin, leggy and size zero. And even though it feels like more women than ever are speaking up about body image, we still have to kick up a storm to get sexist ads removed from the Underground. So what gives?

Calvin Klein campaign star Myla Dalbesio thinks she knows the answer. In her recent column for Elle, she interviews a casting director who’s been in the business for 20 years. The reason why fashion is still hung up on the waif look? Those supermodels of the 80s and early 90s became way too powerful for their own good, and people were not okay with women with that much control. Because, y’know, #PATRIARCHY.

‘We had this huge Eastern European movement, where we really brought very young girls,’ Cast Inc founder Julia Samersova explains. ‘Bland, emotionless, powerless, they became interchangeable. And once you become an interchangeable commodity in the industry, you’re not worth anything. So again, the power lies in the client and not with the talent.’

Myla herself is the polar opposite of those powerless Eastern European models. The UK size 14 model is also a performance artist and published author who has openly spoken out about the ‘fucked up’ sizing hierarchy in fashion. When she was cast in Calvin Klein’s underwear ad earlier this year, she sparked controversy because many members of the public didn’t regard her as ‘plus size enough’. But now she’s on a mission to get women of all sizes and shapes into fashion – and she’s got an idea how.

‘Take the power back from the brands and give it to the girls you want to see in front of the lens,’ she urges. Basically, if you want to see change happen, all you need to do is get active on social media. Tweet at brands, follow your favourite plus-size models on Instagram and get all your mates involved.

‘If you do it enough, or get enough people to join you, someone will notice,’ Myla writes. ‘And if it's not the brand that first takes notice, a member of the press will. And once press picks up on a story, the brand will have to take notice. It's the Insta Age, and you're a part of it.’

OK, at first I was sceptical – it can’t be this simple can it? But it makes sense. Think of Insta-girls like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, who parlayed their massive social following into contracts with Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Maybelline contracts. And it works for plus-size girls, too. Just take Aussie model Stefania Ferrario, who just signed to Models 1. Ferrario was the public face of the #DropThePlus movement, a hugely popular social media campaign to get fashion to stop using the term ‘plus-size’ for models just because they didn’t fit into sample sizes. Almost 100,000 Instagram followers later, she’s now been signed to a leading agency.

Myla goes on to recommend voting with your pay check: if you don’t like the kind of advertising a brand is putting out, just don’t buy their clothes. But I’d go one further: if you’re side-eyeing a brand for casting only skinny girls, make your feelings loudly known online. I’ve got friends who only signed up to Twitter to complain at companies in the hopes of getting a refund or freebies. Basically, you’d be doing just that – but for a better cause than a £10 voucher for Shreddies.

So if you’re sick of size zero, changing things might be as convenient as hitting follow on Instagram and liking your favourite plus-size models’ pics, or sending out a quick tweet on the bus. Easy enough, right? Thank god for hashtag activism.

Liked this? You might also be interested in:

Demi Lovato Is Glad We've All Moved On From Idolising The Size 0 Girls

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#EachBodysReady Looks To Destroy ‘Beach Body’ Expectations Of Sexist Adverts

Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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