For a long time, there was only one type of body we would see represented in the media: tall, thin and “perfect”.
Models who fit that criteria would be the only ones splayed on the front covers of magazines, setting unrealistic body standards for women everywhere, because believe it or not, women come in all shapes and sizes.
Those models were what a lot of young women and girls aspired to be, not knowing that, because of excessive editing, not even the models themselves really look the way they are portrayed.
However, lately, more and more major fashion brands and magazines are becoming much more inclusive in regards to body-type representation. It’s not as uncommon to see plus-size models on the covers of magazines – for example, Ashley Graham who became the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Another model who doesn’t fit the typical model mold, but has managed to create a name for herself is Paloma Elsesser, a 26-year-old, Canadian-American plus-size model.
According to Allure, she moved to New York from Los Angeles in 2010 to attend the New School for psychology and literature and was then discovered on Instagram by makeup artist Pat McGrath. Despite not looking like the stereotypical model, she says that she is ‘special’ in her own way and believes her story to be “really inspiring to a lot of girls.”
Elsesser told the tabloid: “I wasn’t scouted in a mall as a kid. I went through my whole life thinking I’m a pretty, chubby girl. I’ve never been skinny, so it’s something that was really born out of the visibility that social media granted me. I’m not super tall, and I don’t have this classic plus-size body, but I’m special in my own way, and I think that story is really inspiring to a lot of girls.”
In another interview for Vogue, she explained the difficulty of growing up in a fashion industry that unfortunately doesn’t really cater to women of all shapes and sizes:
“When I was younger, finding jeans were like my hell, being a little thicker. I started wearing men’s jeans, and I remember going to Tilly’s, a fake skate shop in the Valley, and I found a weird stretch pair of women’s Dickies. I remember I wore them until they ripped in the thighs.”
Paloma is also part of the International Girl Crew, which along with Nike released a collection of sportive shoe wear in different vivid colors with the purpose of promoting diversity and individuality. She also appeared on an ad for beauty brand Glossier as part of their #BodyHero campaign.
On an Instagram post showing her billboard ad for the #BodyHero campaign she wrote: “I did this to show that being fat isn’t a burden. Being fat isn’t ugly or shameful. To prove to one person that it isn’t BRAVE to be fat, but bountiful. And for that young girl looking on instagram, or walking down Spring st, that she is fucking perfect despite the precarious and irresponsible versions of beauty we are urged to digest.”