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
SYNCHRONICITY - the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, however, casually unrelated. The idea, coined by the beloved Carl Jung, described it as "temporarily coincident occurrences of acausal events." A pattern of connection that cannot be explained by the conventional, efficient principle agent of cause and effect. Also known as: meaningful coincidences or acausal parallelism. Jung believed that many experiences perceived as "coincidence" were not merely due to chance, but, alternatively, suggested the manifestation of parallel events of circumstances reflecting this determining dynamic. This connecting principle is somewhat descriptive of his concept on the collective unconscious and the governing force he believes is cardinal in the whole human experience, nature and history - social, emotional, psychological and spiritual. "Synchronicity," he expressed, "is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see." And maybe, these meaningful coincidences, are God's way of remaining disguised to inspire, stimulate and affirm the intrinsic comedy of the Universe. 🌞💡⏳💫 . . Best female team: @taranoellephoto x @shelleyzimnermakeup 💁🏾🤘🏾#synchronicity #citygypsy #editorial #carljung #within #vision #studio #plutino #alchemy #meaningful #coincidence #light #reflection #philosophyforlife #woc #puffball #experience #portrait_vision #space #sequins #gangstapose #plsdontaskmewherethisjacketisfromcausemedontknow
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
Step.2 Don't worry about your scars. I think my opinion of my scarring changed when I began to see the beauty in them. The way they made me different, allowed me to talk about my story and in turn allowed others to share theirs. I think people assume I have led a fairly normal, possibly even easy life when I say I work as a model. I like telling them the rest of the story... while keeping it light hearted. I have made some pretty incredible connections with people just from these few lines. My scars are a reminder to what I have been through. They are there for others to see..not to gawk at or make assumptions but hopefully to make people think, "Man, that girl has been through some shit..and look at her smile." You can have these scars and think of yourself as damaged goods, or you can make them apart of you, your trademark. The choice is yours. "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Khalil Gibran 28 Days
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
It was a powerful moment for me in this picture because this place was the only place I could get a job while still pursuing my dream as a #model in #Paris. During the weekdays I would hustle going to castings and appointments trying to land a gig, and on the weekends I would leave my hood in the middle of nowhere around 10pm, most times jumping the turnstiles because I didn't have transit fare to get here, where I would be a #dancer (not that type, the regular club type dancer!), dancing from 11pm - 4am, making just 60 Francs for the entire weekend. I'm so thankful for the struggles and hardship I went through. My journey is a reminder to NEVER FORGET where I came from and NEVER FORGET what it took for me to pursue my dreams, humbling me to NEVER TAKE MY BLESSINGS FOR GRANTED. #staceymckenzie #supermodel #model #WalkThisWayWorkshops #TheWalk #TheWalkCamp #bigfatjamaicankisses #folliespigalle #tbt
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
THE BODY ISSUE ~ I don't know how or why but I guess this topic is inexplicably trending in relation to me once again, so I'm going to address it quickly. I am not plus size. I have never been plus size. Which is confusing, I understand, because for the first 8 years of my modeling career, that is the segment of the industry that I worked in and the board at my (former) agency that I was signed to. Why is that? Because 10 years ago, when I started modeling, no "straight size" board would sign anyone above a size 2-4 (and even size 4 was pushing it). Working under that label was the only way I could work. Luckily, things have changed in that regard. I am happily on the main board at @nextmodels, which does not distinguish any difference in size or shape of it's models, just represents them as they are, without labels. How things have shifted in the past decade! And what is even more glorious is the amount of successful models of all shapes and sizes that we see in major media now. Luckily for the people saying that I am "not plus size enough" to be working, they have amazing role models they can look up to that may represent someone closer to themselves. Girls like @theashleygraham, @taralynn, @palomija and @jojacalled inspire me constantly. But I also think it is important for women that are my size to see themselves represented. Let's not begrudge them (or me) for that. One of the reasons I post naked selfies is because I want other women to see that their own bodies are both normal and beautiful. I remember a scene in Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene, where Elizabeth Olsen took her clothes off, and I felt like I saw myself in her body, something that I rarely, if ever, saw represented in mainstream Hollywood. It made me feel good, almost like I was better understood. Can we all just work on understanding each other? Body shaming, whether it be too fat, too skinny, too athletic, etc. is unfair for all. We all want to be healthy, we all want to be beautiful, we all want to belong. I DESERVE TO BE REPRESENTED AND YOU DO TOO. We all do. And we all can be, if we start encouraging and supporting one another instead of picking each other apart 💖 #rantover #bodytalk
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
Who says CURVES can't cut it on the Catwalk?!!! Mama me and my 44 inch hips made it to @NYFW babyyy!!! 💃🏽😜Such an honor to walk for @csiriano Thank you for continually breaking Fashion barriers and dressing women of ALL shapes and sizes . The show was such a magical display of RACIAL DIVERSITY & SIZE INCLUSIVITY 💖✨ & Man was I feelingggg myself in this Pink Power suit!! 💁🏽🙅🏽😛lol. BUZZING.
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."
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook