Tuesday, 21 August 2018

How I accidentally became an underwear model.

Hmm. Most click bait-ish title ever? Quite possibly.

So, yes. I have recently been modelling gorgeous lingerie for a couple of fabulous, feminist, empowering brands – Curvy Kate and Neon Moon. How the hell did that happen?! I have found myself wondering just that quite a bit recently. Let’s investigate by retracing my steps a little… 


(Photo: Metro UK)


Literally retracing my steps, I mean. My proud, stomping steps as I marched through central London – starting in Carnaby Street and ending in Golden Square – with a brilliant group of my fellow body positive, badass women, all of us in bikinis. We stormed through the streets led by Natasha Devon, who was armed with a megaphone and yelled into it statements such as ‘RIOTS, NOT DIETS’ and ‘ALL BODIES ARE BEACH BODIES!!’ which we then repeated in a strong, shouting chorus. People we passed were stopping, looking on either completely baffled or delighted and excited, and getting phones out to record or snap photos of these seemingly mad women who were disrupting their lunch breaks in the most unexpected and brilliant way. By the time we reached the square, the march officially over, everyone was buzzing and chattering excitedly with the press, the influencers, the brand reps and the models. There were so many different companies, causes and charities present that day – the lovely Natalie (aka @stylemesunday) was present, co-hosting an episode of a TV series for W with her friend Cherry Healey; the Love Disfigure ladies were having their own mini-photo shoot with their home made signs; Changing Faces were giving out leaflets and sticking temporary tattoos on volunteers’ arms and cheeks… and Curvy Kate reps were also there, giving out bright pink tote bags and chatting with influencers wearing their swimwear sets. 


(Me with the utter babe Ellen Jones, pre-bikini reveal)


(Photo: Mama, walking alongside our parade!)


(Photo: @stylemesunday)


(Photo: @stylemesunday)


I only briefly spoke to Curvy Kate that day, but later found their social media platforms and immediately followed; their pledge to provide sexy lingerie and swimwear for ladies with a need for bigger cups – at affordable prices! – is definitely something I am passionate about and interested in. Then a couple of weeks later, I think it was, I received an email about their upcoming campaign ‘My Body Victory’, something they were working on in the aim to get more people talking about just how amazing and beautiful their bodies are – no matter what shape, size, colour or ability. They actually wanted me to come up to town for a photo shoot and feature as one of the campaign ambassadors! I replied immediately with a thrilled ‘YAAASSSS’ that I reckon came out as a scream when they opened the email. 


(Photo: Alison Webster)


The day of the shoot was surreal, sexy, stylish and perfectly positive. We were in a huge studio space that felt like a luxurious NYC apartment, being made up by the most considerate artists (who didn’t make me feel like a diva when I asked for only cool tones on my face!) and then we each got individual shoot time with the lovely photographer and video-makers before grouping together to do some dancing, posing and chatting. I had the loveliest talks with my fellow Victory models while we were having down time between shoots and interviews; we swapped stories of our journeys to loving our bodies and my admiration for every woman there was enormous. Another highlight of the shoot day had to be the lunch break – the Curvy Kate ladies ordered us a big bundle of goodness from LEON! I couldn’t help but wonder how many lingerie brands let their models munch on vegan meatballs and baked fries between shots…

The response to the Curvy Kate #MyBodyVictory campaign has been amazing so far. It will be all over socials for the rest of August at least (and I’ll continue posting about it until the end of time, I expect) so take a peek if you haven’t already, and follow all my fellow models immediately. 


(Photo: Alison Webster)


So, as you can imagine, I was buzzing hard after that experience. My body positivity vibes were sky high, and I’d been pleasantly surprised yet again by how comfortable I am in front of a camera and how much of my gorgeous flesh I am prepared to flash. Then my lovely pal Gretel popped up in my Instagram inbox one night, sending me a recent post by Neon Moon, reaching out to their followers and inviting women to apply to be models for an upcoming shoot for their new collection. As a long time follower of Neon Moon, I was shocked I hadn’t caught this post already (ta, Insta algorithms) and looking at the details I realised the applications closed at midnight that night, so I had to fill out their form and send it off in approximately 24 minutes. Well, the time pressure definitely saved me over-editing my answers the questions on the form – and my previous modelling experience made me all the more confident in my ability to do it.

I heard back the next day, that I’d been selected as 1 of 10 out of over 100 applicants. I was so psyched, and honoured. Then a week later, I found myself in another London studio having my face prettied up by the angelic Rianna (who used Sukin moisturisers and hydrating toners – my fave brand from Australia!), meeting more badass, beautiful women who practically radiated body love and oozed confidence, and were fascinating to talk to. I fell madly in love with Hayat in particular, the CEO and founder of the company, who had modelled with the group the day before and couldn’t do enough for us gals. The creative team were also magnificent, made me feel 100% comfortable – and kindly put the punchiest ‘Reputation’ tracks on for me while I had my solo shots done. Let me tell you, moving and posing for a camera while ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ plays is all kinds of magical. 


(Photo: Auch Creative)


I have been so amazed at the finished pics by both Curvy Kate and Neon Moon; they’re so different but equally brilliant. I love how I look in both sets – of shots and underwear! 

As a teenager, I never dreamed of being a model. I obviously hoped I’d someday perform on a stage in the West End, or have books in the window at Waterstones stores across the country, but the idea of doing cool photo shoots in the city and being a face (and in this case, a whole body!) in a brand campaign was… crazy. But then, as a teenager I didn’t know what body positivity was, nor did I realise how desperately I needed it – and how not all models have to look like the ones I was always seeing in the magazines gleaming on the shelves in Tesco, or the popular girls who would tease the ‘fat emo freaks’ like me and say we’d never be properly pretty. I also think if the modelling thing had happened just a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have handled it that well. Right now, I am the happiest and most confident in my body I have ever been, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to get myself out there and show other humans that all bodies are beautiful, and we deserve to take pride in ours. Hey, toxic manipulative media giants? Make room, body love is coming through. 


(Photo: Alison Webster)






2 comments

  1. I am thrilled to read your story of becoming an underwear model. This moment of "ALL BODIES ARE BEACH BODIES" is actually appreciative! We should be proud of what we are. You've set the perfect example. Congratulations for being the ambassador of the Best Lingerie Brand!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, you gorgeous being. x

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