As I made my way into the Winning Minds office today, the icy winds pounded furiously against my shivering skin and the depressing gun-metal grey February sky loomed menacingly over the frosty earth beneath. However, despite Mother Nature doing her utmost to dampen my spirits, I positively skipped through the streets of Stortford, smiling at bemused strangers whilst providing my own imaginary world of pathetic fallacy in my mind– a smiling sunshine wearing sunglasses like in the Vitalite advert, friendly blue skies, birds twittering contentedly in the branches overhead etc etc.
Why? It’s all because of a refreshingly enlightened journalist called Jane Warren who yesterday (26th January) published a two page spread in the Daily Express which finally gave a balanced and honest view on the rising popularity of plus size models in fashion and a valuable contribution to the beauty debate.
The article began:
“They’re not overweight, they’re normal – the models who want to put curves back into clothes.”
It is centered around Crystal Renn (she of the Goddess stature) and other gorgeous “plus size” (which should be used within the confines of inverted commas, really, considering the article’s central thesis, above) models such as Kate Smith (size 16 AND in her 30s! Certainly gave me some hope of longevity in the modeling industry) and Lizzie Miller (remember her? Size 12 posing naked with a small roll of fat around her abdomen/womb area – like women are supposed to have – and it caused a general palarva last year?).
The feature made a point of including some of things which might seem obvious, but appear to have been mysteriously overlooked heretofore – How the inclusion of plus size models in the elitist sphere of high fashion after decades of “heroin chic” and “working the anorexic look” (horrifying concept, but apparently actually said to Crystal Renn) is a massive achievement and the result of more than just a flash-in-the-pan change in trends for 2010. Plus size isn’t like “nautical stripes for spring” (please PLEASE can we have something different next Spring, fashion designer people? I am utterly bored of every shop on the high street looking like Popeye’s closet come March) – It represents a significant revolution in attitudes.
Warren was also insightful enough to point out that the ultimate aim was getting VARIETY into fashion. Hurrah! I heard me, Mark Newey, the entire council and cast of Body Gossip and anyone else with a bit of foresight cry! The Daily Express have recognized that it’s not a case of “skinny –v- curvy” or of “curvy being the new skinny” – Just of “healthy being the new unhealthy” and equal representation for the entire beauty spectrum.
Yesterday evening, as I went to alight the train on which I’d been sitting, reading the article, I had a realisation: My posture had changed, I was smiling, sitting a little straighter, a little prouder. Even for someone like me, who teaches body confidence and occasionally models, seeing other women my shape and size being celebrated in the media gave me that warm inner glow that can only come from a sense of self-esteem. Today, thinking of all the other women who must have given a similar boost, and how this piece represented another victory in the beauty battle, was what put an extra spring in my step (and lessened my urge to emigrate to the tropics to escape those bone-chilling winter winds). Thank you Jane Warren.