I have met hundreds of models throughout my time working in the fashion industry but there are specific people that stood out to me over the years. Some I have had the pleasure to meet and work with and others I have admired from a distance. It is hard to thrive in an industry that is so competitive and cut throat. I always applaud the models who managed to have a modelling career and use it for a bigger cause and raise awareness. I was fortunate enough to check in with some of these role models.
1. Char San Pedro
Char is a Hawaiian and Maldivian activist and philanthropist. She started to model professionally at 22 years old. She started her own foundation called "Good To Be Good" were she raises funds for homeless shelters and children that come from abusive homes. Every event that Charmaine has held has been highly successful and every few months she gives a tuck full of boxes of food to families that are hungry around Toronto City. She adds "No matter how big or small the act is, everything we do as an individual effects the whole world"
2. Elly May Day
Elly May Day is an activist and public speaker. Elly is a spokeswoman for Ovarian Cancer and also a survivor of Ovarian Cancer. She uses her voice to encourage women to love their bodies and regularly posts body positive images to her Instagram of her scars reminding women everywhere that they are beautiful. As well as being a very successful model and taking part in campaigns like Lane Bryant's "Im no angel" its her positive fighting attitude that really makes her a diamond in the rough. She add's "Ive chosen not to let this disease define me or deter me. I want to show you how you are #stillbeautiful through the things life hands us."
3. Felicity Hayward
Felicity is a curve model/body activist and the founder of @self.love.brings.beauty. Self Love Brings Beauty is a self love movement for all genders, ages and sizes. This organisation runs events globally and they also run workshops. She started the project because she wanted people to value beauty from their own perspective and not the perspective of the media. In an interview with Vogue magazine Felicity said "My size never came to mind, I would never change myself for anyone."
4. Stacey Mckenzie
Stacey Mckenzie is a television personality and the founder of #Walkthiswayworkshops & #Thewalkcamp. These workshops see hundreds of teenagers attend as Stacey gives inspirational and empowering talks. The talks are not just about fashion but education. Stacey's workshops encourage children/teens to express themselves through the arts and to find their voices through the arts. Her other mentoring talents include helping youth with confidence and self esteem and personal health. She adds "The main message I want people to see with #Walkthisway is to love and own who they are first. I want them to have a strong sense of self worth."
5. Myla Dalbesio
Myla is an artist photographer and writer. Myla runs a series on her Instagram page called "Myla Runs Her Mouth." In these posts she gets very real about the harsh realities of the fashion industry. According to Myla the girls who put real messages out there on Instagram with a good intention are the ones who usually succeed. In this series Myla gives young girls advice and realistic advice about the modelling and fashion industry. She adds " Working as a model is not as glamorous as it seems, you will face endless amounts of rejection, you will be ignored and you will struggle with jealousy."
6. Seana Sweeney
Seana Sweeney is an advocate for women all over the world. She has spoken publicly about life when she had her son as a single mum and how she juggled with jobs to make ends meet. Although Seana is one of Irelands most successful curvy models she's very realistic about the nature surrounding the fashion industry and working as a model. Although admitting that the money earned in the modelling industry can be a great help she said its nice to now I have a back up plan if there's not much going on with modelling. She added "To help even one woman to feel good would mean the world to me".
7. Saffi Karina
Saffi is the founder of the Body Project London. The project is globally pioneering self confidence and empowerment masterclasses. At 27 Karina couldn't maintain a size 8 figure and was dropped by her modelling agency. From here she made it her mission to carry on despite being too she was "too curvy." She adds "I had only been working for a few years and really loving it when they dropped me. I have 41 inch hips and they are pure bone, there is nothing i can do about them, they aren't going anywhere so I have to work with what I've got."
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