Models are traditionally portrayed as having perfectly sculpted bodies. However, this is often the result of photo manipulation, showing that even models cannot wholly adhere to the industry’s impossible beauty standards.
The modeling industry, however, has changed irrevocably in recent years. Companies and designers have finally realized that they can sell more products if they portray beauty standards that ordinary people can relate to.
This has led to the rise of the plus size model – a term used to describe beautiful people of an average to larger stature.
But it’s not just plus size models that exist in the modern world, people who would have otherwise never been entertained by the industry are also making it big, including those with disabilities and transgender people.
These changes are part of a wider body positivity movement which is encouraging people to embrace what nature gave them and love whatever ‘imperfections’ they have acquired throughout their lives.
In the past, the modeling industry has come under fire for causing many people to develop low self-esteem and plastic surgery addictions as they go on a quest for impossible-to-achieve perfection.
Two of the biggest names currently in the modelling industry are Bella and Gigi Hadid, and the sisters portray the traditional beauty standards we have come to associate with models, but it has now emerged that their cousin is also a model – and a plus size model at that!
Eighteen-year-old Joann van den Herik is Yolanda Hadid’s niece, and she recently came to the attention of the world’s media after signing a contract as a plus-sized model with International Model Management and Maxime Models.
Born in Holland, Joann might live far away from her supermodel cousins, but they appear to have a close relationship.
Joann has been using the social media platform Instagram to cause a stir by sharing candid photographs of herself and encouraging people embrace their bodily imperfections.
She’s now amassed over 31,000 followers.
She recently posted this particularly revealing snap and explained why she had refrained from doing it until now.
“I was afraid to post this picture and that’s why I did post it. I could’ve cropped it so you wouldn’t see any fat, but I didn’t. I wanted to show you guys that I’m imperfect too. I have fatrolls, I have stretch marks. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and feel disgusted by the things you don’t like, but I don’t want to do that anymore.
Nowadays, people make it feel like it’s a shame to be fat and that if you’re not a size 0, you shouldn’t show your body. F* them!!! Show your body, love your body, embrace your body no matter what size you are. Your body loves YOU, so love it back #CelebrateMySize #LoveYourBody #EmbraceYourCurves.”
Speaking as a woman, however, I find it extremely problematic that the modelling industry still refers to women of Joann’s average stature as plus size.
Absolutely nothing about her body suggests that she is overweight, proving that the industry still has a long way to go when it comes to promoting body positivity.
Instead of calling Joann plus size, a more accurate description of the Dutch beauty would be a body positive model.
It’s safe to say that good genes definitely run in the Hadid family!
One of the most problematic effects of society’s attitude towards those who are plus size is the fat shaming it encourages from those who make the assumption that everyone who is not a size zero eats too much.
This plus size model filmed her encounter with a man who fat shamed her:
But it’s not just fat shaming that exists, skinny shaming exists too, and any women who are perceived as being too thin are often asked if they suffer from eating disorders.
This is why it’s so important to create a society were all body shapes and sizes are celebrated equally.
We hope that Joann achieves as much success as her cousins.