“There isn’t a category to describe me as a model,” says the gorgeous star of our March issue fashion feature, “The Shape of Clothes to Come.” She gets real with us about her ups and downs in fashion.
My whole life I’ve been a boundary breaker. I went to a Christian school that had a dress code, so I dressed like a goth. Coincidentally it implemented uniforms the next year.
The same applies to my career as a model: Over the course of 12 years, I’ve basically had three modeling careers. A decade ago I was what the industry calls a “straight-size model”—and suffered from an eating disorder. Luckily I realized that I’d be a better woman and model if I could actually function on the job and not be starving or crazy. I saw an opportunity to model at a different size while I could recover from an awful thing, and I took it, becoming plus-size. That was my second career.
But then I noticed there was this huge distinction between different types of models: You’re either straight-size or plus-, with nothing in between. I was very thankful that plus-size had become an option, because it allowed me to heal. But forcing myself to gain weight [to keep plus-size bookings] is as much an eating disorder as forcing myself to lose weight, and I didn’t want to go back to that mentality.
The truth is, in modeling we have a big, big, big middle ground that is not acknowledged. In the late eighties and early nineties, modeling at a “middle size” [a 4 to an 8] was normal, but it has not been normal now for many years. Still, I have chosen to accept myself in this middle area. It is my happy medium. I am a woman, and changes are naturally going to happen. I cannot predict what my body will do next year.
This is not about weight; that’s not my fight anymore. I don’t want terms like plus-size and straight-size, or even a clothing size—currently I’m an 8—to define if I’m beautiful or not. Why do we have to be a category? Right now there isn’t one to describe me as a model, and I actually love that. Even if there were some word for it, I don’t want to own titles anymore. I’m not supportive of one body type versus another. I encourage women to accept themselves as they are.