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Change Body Mindset: Say 5 Plus-Size Models

For decades, slender white women have dominated the modelling industry, their bodies sold as the “default” for female beauty.

Women Fitness brings you on how 5 plus-size model featured on Women Fitness set out to change the way females think about their body.

Mahalia Handley:

Named as one of AAFW’s Change Makers, Mahalia Handley was featured on Vogue Italia and Selfridges. In her interview with Women Fitness she begins by saying “I was told that I would never really succeed in modelling and would be lucky if I were to book a job or two in my lifetime because of my look.” Talking about her motivation and inspiration behind being body confident, she puts in “My motivation came from a very personal experience. When I was growing up there was never anyone who looked like me in commercial or high fashion. No curvy girls and no girls with diversity. It used to make me really sad and I had a lot of negative feelings towards body positivity and to my own self worth of view of beauty. Each year with every growing birthday the more passionate I became about showing representation of this exact matter. I’ve always been a fighter, so it made sense to me that if I couldn’t see the diversity being represented then I had to become it, not just for myself but for other girls growing up and not seeing diversification or self

Her message to one & all “Body Positivity comes from within first and foremost. I am here to help you find that as are all others who are body positive ambassadors. We are here to show you how great you are and we want you to find that light and love inside yourself, embrace it, nurture it and then share it with others who may be battling. Take care of your body, eat well, exercise and work every damn day on your mental stability- tell yourself how great you are and live it!” As indicated by, Mahalia Handley fell into modelling in a different way. She is the first plus-size, BIPOC, first-generation Australian to talk on a panel at fashion week. It was always her dream to be a model, but unlike other young girls, this was a dream born out of anger.

Bishamber Das:

The first British Asian plus-size model and has contributed immensely to the plus size industry in the US and UK. The first plus size model to win a title at the international Miss India Europe competition in 2014.

Her aim is to reach out to every woman around the world despite what size or walk of life she is from to empower her. Bishamber has her own ways of doing this and the recent initiative was a video which featured her singing Hadiqa Kiani’s popular song Buhe Baarian. Shot by Real Artz, this one showcases Bishamber as a rural Punjaban who is day dreaming about her lover (played by Harpal Josan) while performing her daily chores.

Her advice for the budding and upcoming plus size models “My advice is simple, find your plus point and make this your strength. I came from a community were my vision was and still is at times frowned upon. I made it my mission to change this outlook and bring positivity to the concept of plus size. till this day plus size women in middle eastern and south asian media are only seen in comedy roles were they are laughed at and made fun off. through my work I hope to change this concept and see more plus size women in media with the respect and dignity they deserve.” To learn more about her life, diet & fitness routine check out her interview on Women Fitness at

luvia Lacerda:

Best known as the the “plus-size Gisele Bündchen”, Fluvia Lacerda is the plus-size model who’s set to bust out of her native Brazil and quickly take over the world. She is one of the models from Latin America, who has conquered Vogue Italy and appeared on cover of Playboy in her country. In addition to her extensive career with various international brands, she is the author of a book called “Fat Is Not A Bad Word.”

In conversation with Women Fitness on motivation and inspiration behind being so beautifully body confident, she adds “Quite honestly, I have never really cared about what others think of me. Their opinions about my looks is something for them to deal with, not me. And so at the moment you free yourself from the worries of trying to please others, you really have a lot of room in your mind to appreciate who you are and that’s how I live my life.” Her message “I believe that respecting one another is the key to the first and most important health aspect of living a healthy and happy life!”

Her secret to look gorgeous and glamorous is, Respect your measurements! No one knows ( or cares!) what that number on your jean tag is! & two, be true to your own personal style, no matter what others say. To learn about luvia E! Entertainment’s program ‘Beauty XL,’ participant, her diet & workout routine check out her interview on Women Fitness.

Jezra M:

A model, body positive advocate and blogger she started her body positive movement via #PureBodyLove, and continue to pursue this avenue to empower people from all walks of life. She describes her journey as a model as “Modeling for me is how I speak and connect with people. I have a long list of goals and achievements to accomplish. One of my dreams is to travel around the world and help women with my voice to gain self love, self awareness and self confidence. My mission is to encourage other inspiring plus size models to follow their dreams. “No dream is ever to small or to big”. Modeling for me doesn’t just mean “taking” good pictures, it is my passion and one of my dream dreams. I believe I can bring something unique and different to the plus size world.”

“I speak through my pictures and hope when people sees my pictures they to see the message of self-love, self-awareness and self-confidence.”

Her word of inspiration “I’m here for you ALL!!! Keep believing in yourself, never think your dream is too big or small to achieve. Allow yourself to grow on your own time. And always strive got greatness because if you believe everyone around would also start believing.” She has modeled for some of the top magazines and brands like Bgnplussize, Kyboe, Refinery29, Curveculture, Forever21, Fashionnovacurve, Gcgme, Playfulpromise, Rue 107, Monif C., Fashion To Figure, Ekineyo, Pop Up Plus, Out of the Corner Online Boutique, Ose Uh-She, Essence Magazine, Bustle, Vibe Vixen, Plus Model Mag, Blink Fitness, DARE, AFRO PUNK, 1953, KAMOY Magazine, Tasty Plus Boutiqe, eHOW Style, Curvz Magazine, and many others

Hayley Herms:

Whether it is modelling, singing, writing, or painting, there is always a way to express herself. She has made a name for herself solely through her uniqueness, positivity, bright personality, and never ending goals to rule the world. If you haven’t seen her around yet, be prepared.

Talking about her journey ” I started as singer/songwriter (which I still am) in Kindergarten. Since I started at an early age, I naturally got into acting in the 5th grade which led me to plus size modeling in 7th grade when I was 12! After that, I fell in love with modeling – not only do I inspire others, but just like acting, I can dress up, be inspired by myself, and be someone different in each different outfit.” Her inspiration is “my craving for freedom. I have to live my life free, I have to live my life for me. I could never let society or anyone hold me down.” she adds

Her Top 5 Fashion Secrets to look gorgeous and glamorous, as shared on Women Fitness are:

  1. Smile more – everyone loves a great smile and inner beauty REALLY does show through
  2. Eyelash extensions – such a time saver and make up saver and you wake up immediately feeling glamorous
  3. A great moisturizer – perfect skin + no chapped lips = luminous glow and full looking lips (I love the Chanel Le Lift cream or Hope in a Jar with SPF, personally)
  4. Sleep – Getting more sleep will help you look more rested AND lose weight
  5. Confidence – confidence is key with anything.

Message being “Truly fall in love with yourself – body, mind, soul, heart and you’ll have the key to the world!”

Mostly known for plus size modeling so what I think sets me apart from other typical plus size models is that often times – brands depict plus size women as “curves in the right places”, no cellulite, no lose skin, no rolls, always tall, no tattoos or visible marks, etc etc.

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