Who would have thought being surrounded by hundreds of beautifully, purportedly perfect human specimens would have made me love my body? My image-obsessed 17-year-old self would never have thought so.
Knowing from a young age that I wanted to work in fashion, I gobbled up every fashion magazine I could, staring in awe at the like of waifish Kate Moss and gamine Nadia Auermann, entranced by their beauty. I was always mesmerized by beautiful people, I still am. Seemingly perfect human specimens, their allure is captivating. There is something glamorous about them. And that is just that -- a magical spell to bewitch us.
For over 14 years working in the fashion industry, I've seen my fair share of stunningly beautiful women -- of all ages, heights and sizes. I booked models for major fashion and beauty brands, local fashion designers, catalogue houses and international commercial products and services.
Luckily for me, I worked in a market that is forgiving of an inch or so for models. Toronto being a predominant commercial model market, the agencies I worked for had a wide range of beautiful women of all ages and sizes. I've represented women from the age of 13 to 75, and dress sizes 0 to 16.
It's the young teenaged girls who have the international "look" of the moment who are tailored and trained to maintain hips of no bigger than 34 inches so they can travel to other markets in the hopes they might gain fame and a big paycheque. If a mother agent finds and cultivates such a girl, that's a major coup -- and a major cash influx. Once a girl becomes a woman, it's rare that she remains her prepubescent size. It's at this moment that the pressure to maintain that gamine figure mounts. Scouts scour the far corners of the world seeking the rare creatures that have those heavenly type bodies in the hopes of finding that next star.
I've never been particularly skinny, nor have I ever been overweight. I'm in limbo as a 5'7, dress size 8/10. I've never been on a diet. I avoid many sample sales knowing that I'll never fit the items made for a 5'10 girl with 34 inch hips. I will never have 34 inch hips, I am fine with that. I enjoy my curves and my womanly figure, and celebrate it as much as I can.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to the images we see. The marketing industries cleverly make us feel inferior so that the masses will believe if they buy a certain product then it will help make us "perfect." Trust me, models aren't perfect either.
Flaws are beautiful and are what makes us all unique. Our bodies tell our stories; from stretch marks to wrinkles, to age spots and cellulite. Don't believe the hype of the marketing machine. Believe in yourself. Be confident in your body -- it will be with you for the rest of your life. Embrace it, thank it, fuel it, but most of all, love it. That is the ultimate spell you can put on yourself.