Despite body positive warriors like curvy model Ashley Graham taking the fashion world by storm, many others in the industry still face the pressures of maintaining thin frames.
For some, the pressure is so heavy that dropping or gaining a single inch off their waist could mean the difference between losing or booking a gig.
And that's exactly why one woman, Liza Golden-Bhojwani, decided to quit the modelling industry, and learned to embrace her curves.
Sharing a side-by-side shot of her when she says she was at the peak of her career, when she says she only ate 500 calories a day, to now on Instagram in early March, Golden-Bhojwani detailed her journey to self-acceptance.
"I was booking amazing shows that one never thinks they actually could, walking with girls who I once looked up to, it was a serious adrenaline rush," she recalls. "But after fainting one night in my apt whilst preparing one of my very low cal meals (I think it was 20 pieces of steamed edamame if I remember correctly), I called it quits with the diet and workout regime I was put on and decided I could do it on my own."
She then said that she began overeating and craving the foods she once forced herself to not eat. The former runway star also admits that while she was able to make it through New York Fashion Week without anyone noticing her weight gain, once London Fashion Week came around a week later, she started to notice her frame wasn't as slender.
"As it turns out I ended up being a 36.5 [inch] hip by the time castings started and I was pulled out of shows, because at that measurement you will just simply not book any shows," she writes. "People wondered what the hell happened, where did she go?"
"Why am I fighting against my body? Why don't I just go in the same direction?"
"I had seriously just given up on my short lived [high fashion] career, because I just simply could not hack it," she adds.
But while at one point she had given up, the former Dolce & Gabbana star tried to reemerge into the fashion world in 2014. This time around, she maintained a healthy diet and worked hard at the gym to keep her figure. However, she still wasn't able to book work, which she says made her feel like she no longer belonged in the industry.
A few years later, after doing "a little soul searching" during a trip to India, Golden-Bhojwani says she met the man of her dreams, learned to embrace her body and left her New York City life behind.
"2016 was the first time in three years where I finally picked myself up and said you know what F this shit I am going to get back to work no matter what," she shared. "I was struggling to lose weight again, and one day I just thought... why am I fighting against my body? Why don't I just go in the same direction? Stop forcing my own agenda and just listen to my body. And that's what I did, slowly slowly I was coming into my true body form. My natural self, not my forced self."
The now India-based beauty appears to be living her best life these days, and is even signed to few agencies, like IMG and Milk Models U.K., according to her Instagram bio, that embraces her curvy figure.
While stories like these are undoubtedly heartbreaking, they still have the power to inspire women who struggle with their body weight, and push for more representation.
"The days of needing to be a size 2 to be considered beautiful are over. We are all perfectly imperfect and accepting that is the way forward."
In Canada, plus-size blogger Inemesit Etokudo, who is based in Alberta, started her platform to cater to the underserved women in her community.
"I did a little research and realized that plus-size blogging is a pretty big deal in the States, but in Canada, there were only a handful," Etokudo told The Huffington Post Canada in early 2016. "So, being out here in Calgary, plus-size fashion is not even a thing that’s really discussed. So I started the blog because I think it’s a market in Calgary that’s been untouched and I want to bring awareness to the city."
As for Golden-Bhojwani, while her journey certainly wasn't easy, she believes that it definitely wasn't in vain.
"In a strange twist of fate, I am getting a better response now than I did earlier," she said in an article in Vogue India earlier this year. "I feel sexy, I feel strong. My body is just coming to its natural form. The industry is changing, too — the days of needing to be a size 2 to be considered beautiful are over. We are all perfectly imperfect and accepting that is the way forward."
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