Why Plus Size Models Matter – Director of BELLA models, Chelsea Bonner was invited by Vogue Australia to write an opinion piece for the launch of ‘The Health Initiative’ and here’s the dish in a blip, you can read the full story in this month’s issue of VOGUE Australia.
Words from Chelsea Bonner;
“I always wanted to be an agent. As the daughter of top Australian fashion model Nola Clark and actor Tony Bonner, our lives revolved around ‘The Agent.’ The most exciting part of the day in our house was when this magical person rang and gave my parents the good news about which jobs they had booked. The excitement it generated was amazing, and I knew I wanted to be the person who made that phone call.
I began working as an agent in my mum’s own model agency in Noosa when I was 16. I became a junior booker at a top model agency in Melbourne when I was 19 and by 21, I was running their commercial division. Around that time I noticed that ‘plus size’ clients only used older mumsy models. As a young fashionable size 14, I couldn’t identify with those models, so I asked my boss if he would put me on the books as a plus size model. Within a short period of time, I was modeling all over Australia and internationally.
I took time off to model full time but I missed the excitement of helping creative people fulfill their dreams. I was approached to manage a top photographic agency, which I took up. I loved it and was privileged to help start the careers and represent some of our most well known photographers, hair and makeup artists and stylists.
The one thing I hated about my job was that I witnessed so many disturbing habits that models formed to keep them from eating, from drugs and purging food, to excessive exercise and bingeing. However it was only when my own sister began a five-year battle with anorexia and bulimia that I realised what I was a part of and how it affected women, not just in the industry, but every women who saw these images.
In the worst grip of her illness, my sister at 5’7 and 45 kilos looked me dead in the eye and said she would kill herself if she was as big as me at size 14. Read the full story on the Bella Model Management Facebook page.
Vogue Australia ( June) and the Health Initiative, in conjunction with 19 Vogue editors from around the globe will focus the issue on positive body image and positive role models in the fashion industry being an important one, and this pact will certainly open up the debate. See Editor Kirstie Clements editors letter here…
Welcome to our June issue, dedicated to all things glamorous, starting with our cover girl Daria Werbowy. As you are reading this month’s copy, we will be front row at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia with our guest reviewer, Style.com’s Tim Blanks. Don’t forget to follow us on Vogue.com.au for Vogue’s insider viewpoints on fashion week, and to see the best of our Australian designers.
On the following page, readers will find a letter from all the editors of the 19 international Vogues, launching what we are calling The Health Initiative. The issue of positive body image and positive role models in the fashion industry is an important one, and this pact will certainly open up the debate.
As an editor, I have to make choices on a daily basis about the images we feature and the messages we are sending. Long ago we made the decision not to feature models that were younger than 16, and we have always strived to present models that we knew to be healthy. But I know there are contradictions. Who is naturally slim? Who is dieting sensibly or irresponsibly? Who is exercising or over-exercising? We’ve been known to retouch shots, especially from the runway, to put weight on the girls, which obviously begs the question, why are they so thin in the first place? Yet we also recently featured gorgeous Australian model Robyn Lawley in a fashion story, for no political reason, but simply because she looks great.
In this issue, we put more focus on the subject, one where we interview model agent Chelsea Bonner about the importance of championing more realistic body shapes. And we also hear from ex-supermodel Carré Otis about her frightening struggles with anorexia and bulimia when she was supposedly at the top of her game.
The problem is wider reaching than the fashion press alone (let’s not forget Hollywood), which is why The Health Initiative is a starting point to make the industry more aware. We are not claiming that we will fix the problem overnight, but a healthy discussion will almost certainly lead to a more healthy future.
QG WD supports and backs any initiative that brings health and a positive sense of body image to all women of all ages – rock on to Vogue Australia and to Chelsea Bonner for sharing her insights.