A Perfect 14 (2018) Script

Plus size modeling is like, there's like this frame of thought around it you know, and like-

Official YIFY movies site: YTS.MX When I first started, I thought like... Okay plus size modeling, sometimes you think like, oh, that section in Walmart. You know, or...

I would like, oh my god I'm in this wrong section kind of thing, you know?

But like, I don't know.

Plus size modeling isn't what it used to be or what it is in a lot of people's minds.

If I tell people I'm a plus size model some of them are like, "You're plus size?"


The smaller end of curve, which is I hate to say it, but from like a UK size 10 to a 14.

And then a plus size model here in Australia that works the most, is a size 14.

No, no, no, no, we start, well in French - it's 40, so that means 10.

From a 14 upwards.

Size 10, size 12.

Then drop to a size 12.

We go until 15.

Now dropped to a size 10.

Now up to size 18, size 20.

17, uh 18 in US.

Uh, UK 18.

US 12. Like 1618.

14. 44, it's 14.

16 to 20, 10, 16, 12, 10, 18, 20, 18.

America, UK, 20, UK.

As an editor, I've never put a plus sized model on the cover.

You mean curvier size? Um, certainly Kim Kardashian.

We would often put Kate Winslet on the cover for example who's a little bit more voluptuous.

Kate Upton, Robyn Lawley, Beyoncé, the Kardashians and you know they've got curves.

If you look at that pool of women, there are big name celebrities that are- embody the sense of fun, fearlessness that is synonymous with the Cosmo brand and are 18 to 35, there aren't a hell of a lot of women that are curvy.

The perfect girls, unfortunately, sell better than the plus size girls.

If we put I model on the cover, it won't sell and that's my job.

I'm running a business.

So, I think people say that they want to see this, but the reality is they're not going to buy it.

They're going to go and buy the magazine where the girl who's perfect and she's airbrushed within an inch of her life.

Why wouldn't you put a random girl on the cover who's curvy or whatever else?

And it's like, well, because maybe that person's mother would buy it and the relatives, but if we're a mass magazine trying to get a lot of women to pick up and buy this because ultimately, we are a business and we need to make money.

As we say here fit is the new rich, it's you know people, I think there is an element of that that we are a magazine that, you know, focuses on the AB demographic.

So yeah that's the, you know, educated and wealthy individuals.

I think there is that desire for perfection and still in society sometimes perfection means thin and trim and blonde and blue-eyed and beautiful.

Hi Elly, my name is Jaclyn Sarka and I'm one of the Founders of JAG models in New York City.

Wanted to write you and see if you have any modeling representation or if you're looking for some.

I'm not sure if you've ever heard of us but myself and my co-founder Gary Dakin used to run the Plus board at FORD Models before it closed down.

If you have any interest please email me back.

We would love for you to join our JAG roster and family.

So yeah, they pretty much just offered me the best contract I could have hoped for and honestly I haven't even looked at it because I'm just, I'm so excited that I don't even want to open up that book yet because once I get excited about something, like, I can't get my mind off of it.

So, I'm holding back a lot of excitement to start this part of my life and to go to New York and to do those kind of photo shoots will be insane and it would be mental to do something like it would be beyond my wildest dreams.

...is worn by the ever so elegant, Elly Mayday.

Elly is gracing the stage in this smashing five-collection satin and lace corset.

My name is Elly Mayday.

I am a plus size model.

That's the number one question I get asked is "How did you begin? How did you start out?" Right?

When I first started out no one wanted me.

The agencies were like "Oh, you're not that tall, you're not too big, you're not too small."

So, I just thought, okay, I've got to build my portfolio.

And so, that's the first thing I worked on.

And I looked on Craigslist and found different photographers that want to TFP which I didn't know what that meant, I had to like Google it.

Trade for Print means that no one gets paid.

I approached clothing companies because I was like, "Who will take my photo and pay me for it locally?"

I approached Cherry Velvet Plus Clothing.

They used me for an ad at Save on Meats downtown Vancouver.

That was pretty much my first paid photo shoot, ever and that was like pretty recently.

That was seven, eight months ago now.

Seeing it in a magazine was pretty cool too.

It's at the back, so I'm just saying, I'm joking with everyone that I'm working my way to get on the cover.

That's my motivation, is working from those back ads that no one looks at to the, the girl on the cover.

My name's Laura Wells and I'm a full-time plus size model.

I'm also an environmental scientist in my off time, but full-time I work as a model.

Never.

I've never ever once thought about being a model.

Because I never thought I could be a model.

I always knew I was bigger.

I'd never ever heard of plus size modeling and I never used to see pictures of girls that looked like me in magazines.

When I was in high school and my sister was around 12-13 years old, she became a model.

My body shape doesn't look anything like hers, so there was no way in hell that I ever thought that I could be a model.

My sister was seeing agents in New York City at the time.

When I started getting approached to be a plus size model I thought they were crazy.

Just thought everyone was calling me fat and I wasn't very happy.

But after that I got approached in Sydney again, so Mum took me to BGM Models and she signed me which was amazing.

About two weeks later, I got a job and it was completely incredible and mind-blowing.

I think it showed me, "Wow. There, you know I can do this."

Even though I was still really uncomfortable.

So, I had this dilemma, do I be scientist Laura or do I be model Laura?

I thought, "Okay, I'll give it one year.

I'm doing modeling for one year, that's it."

And I did it. I modeled in Australia for one year and I did quite well and I was one of the only full-time plus size models in Australia at that stage.

I worked in Germany, I worked in South Africa, I worked in Spain and Scotland and I get to go to all these cool places and meet all these cool people and model for all these companies that I've never heard of before. This is unreal.

Like, who my age gets to travel around the world and be paid for it? That's amazing!

If I'd have ditched modeling altogether, and just gone straight to science, I would have been in a completely different position than I am now.

And I actually wouldn't have realized what my passion was if I had have gone into a normal corporate environmental science job.

I wouldn't have had that availability to me it would have been a lot harder to get there.

Now that I have got that name for myself, I have been able to combine the science and the modeling a little bit, which is awesome.

And I feel like a bit of a Captain Planet type person, joining my powers together.

My name's Kerosene Deluxe.

I am an alternative plus size model.

Perfect.

And just bring that other hand in a little bit more.

I was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

That was an awesome shoot, thank you guys.

When I was in my mid-teens my friends and I went out dancing.

Snuck into a club a little bit too young.

We were dancing and having a good time.

And suddenly a stranger decided to grope my chest from the back.

Me being quite an angry rebellious teenager at the time, turned around without really thinking and punched the guy in the nose, incredibly hard.

That resulted in my friends, kind of, teasing me about it for the upcoming months, saying that I was flammable like kerosene.

When it was time for me to take my modeling to the next level, I was really looking for a new stage name.

My friends were like well you already have a nickname so why don't you just use that?

So yeah, it became Kerosene and I just kind of added the Deluxe part to sound fancy.

I never, growing up, thought about modeling.

I wanted to be an air hostess or a mermaid.

I wanted to be a dolphin trainer as well.

I would like, get towels and I would wrap my legs in towels and I would like make fake fins.

Then, I would call my grandma "Grandma! Come into the room."

And I would be sitting there with like my towel tail.

"I'm a mermaid!"

I still want to be a mermaid.

I don't care if I'm 27, I still want to be a mermaid.

Modeling for me happened by accident.

One day I met a photographer in Amsterdam who invited me to do a photo shoot and I was a little bit of a ham.

So, I was like, "Yeah, sure, a photo shoot, fun." Modeling can be so extremely harsh.

It's very critical and judgmental.

But it's actually through modeling that I found my confidence.

I don't model for the mainstream or for the industry.

I model to show other women and even men that you don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

You can be imperfectly perfect and that's a wonderful thing.

Perfect is boring anyway.

When people tell I'm not a size 14, I guess, sometimes, I get a little bit pissed off.

When you tell a plus size model she's not a plus size model, it's probably a little bit offensive.

You know, all I have to do is say, "Look at the size of my pants, and you'll know that I'm a size 14."

Technically, I am not what the plus-size community looks like.

But, in the modeling world, I am what the plus size models look like.

When I'm put next to a normal sized model, then, you can really see the difference and it makes it very clear I have way bigger hips, way bigger chest.

Even though I have a small waist, my waist is a lot bigger.

Mainstream media and mainstream fashion are using very skinny models in a majority of editorials, in runway parades, in advertising and the plus size model and the plus sized community are quite left out from all those mainstream media.

And perhaps, if we were seen a lot more in editorials and in advertising, the distinction would be made a little bit more clearer and that community would also be represented a lot more.

There's been debate after debate about the word plus size.

It started as purely an industry-based terminology.

I'm talking twenty years ago we didn't have plus size models.

There wasn't the word.

We don't want a size six or eight, we want a plus ten, maybe a plus two or three sizes up.

So, you're not a straight size but you're a plus size.

At the beginning, I think it was used a lot, obviously, because it was so new.

Oh, she's a model, but obviously, she is different, so you had to call her something.

And what do you do? Oh, I'm a curve model or I'm a plus model and they sometimes go "Oh you shouldn't call yourself that."

Like it's a bad thing. Yeah. Like you've offended yourself.

I always wanted to be a model, and when, in my age 14, I came to the model agency, they call me plus size model, and I was absolutely okay with that.

Like okay, fine, am I still a model?

Does the check clear? It clears as a plus model.

My bills are paid being a plus model.

I'm totally fine being a plus model.

When you ask me "What's your job?" I didn't say a plus size model.

I said, "I'm a model." Because I'm doing the same job as another girl that's skinnier.

We go to castings, we try to get jobs, we fly around, we go to hotels, we come back.

We don't say "Oh, she's a brunette model."

It may put other women down when we're referred to as plus size.

Because plus size in this industry does range from a six to a 16.

Plus size is kind of seen by some people as a negative by using the word plus.

But no one actually uses the word straight size or size zero when they're talking about regular models.

So that's the kind of the problem that is.

It's like, why are you saying that this girl is plus model and this girl's just a model?

Yeah, you can't win. You can't win either way.

I'm telling you I'm a model. You see me, obviously, you guess I'm not a straight size model, but do we need to talk about it? I don't know.

I don't think so.

To be honest, I've never not done an interview where they haven't asked me that.

It's always a question, "What do you think of the term plus size?"

And I know a lot of the plus size models... I don't even want to call them plus, I know a lot of the models have jumped on board and have said we shouldn't be called plus size and they rally up about it.

It just needs to go away and that question, just, it's over, it's done.

It's overused.

Sorry.

I have a huge problem with models who want to dissociate themselves from the word plus size.

They chose to be called plus size models and they have built huge careers around being a plus size model.

So, you can't rise to fame and money and even power on a term and embrace it then and then choose later on to say "You know what? I don't want that term anymore."

It's in... maybe it's true that they're not plus size, but it's insulting to the women who have supported you from day one.

Who have looked up to you, who have supported your images, who bought the clothing that you've worn, to then take back that word and say you don't want to be associated with it, or you think it's a negative term.

Until such time, where I can look at anybody, and say "I'm a plus size model" and they react positively or I can look at somebody else and say

"I'm a model" and they can get that I can be a model.

We haven't made enough progress.

We still need that term.

Plus size. And we should embrace it.

The last acceptable prejudice in America is against fat people.

And in the ad, he has two pictures of women who have a little extra meat on their bones.

A little? When did we change the definition of little?

A group calling itself Overweight Haters Limited has been passing out fat shaming business cards to passengers on the London Underground.

New fat-shaming problems for Donald Trump.

Listen to what he said about a very pregnant Kim Kardashian.

She's gotten a little bit large.

I would say this, I don't think you should dress like you weigh 120 pounds.

Now they found that Americans view overweight people as lazy, unambitious and lacking willpower.

Do they look dynamic? Do they look disciplined? Do they look highly efficient? Well, no.

You know speaking frankly and therefore Jay wouldn't be someone that I would employ.

After a person is exposed to ads that promote body acceptance using larger sized models, people are more likely to make unhealthier decisions.

The ads make it seem more socially acceptable to carry extra weight.

Having these plus size models, could that be contributing to obesity in society?

It seems to me that plus size models and extolling them and making it seem normal to be obese, I don't think she looks incredible. I think she looks unhealthy.

It's an effective way to fight obesity, the epidemic, is to shame people into losing the weight.

The way that they shame smokers into quitting.

That's another thing they say.

Fat shaming makes people fat.

When you junkie-shame me, it just makes me do more heroin.

Yeah, I don't care.

Fuck it girls, go eat pizza. Everybody be a plus size model.

I want to eat cookies and still be a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

Do you like cancer and diabetes? If you want fertility problems, then plus size is beautiful.

To call yourself plus size is simply a euphemism for being fat, and who wants to be fat?

We live in a culture that actively supports discrimination against weight.

In fact, its prevalence has been shown to be equal to racial discrimination and discrimination based on gender.

17% of women in one particular study said that if they were feeling bad about their bodies on a particular day, they would probably skip going to a job interview that was scheduled.

More often than not, people will hearken to this health issue and they will totally speak nothing about how people feel about themselves.

And you can't talk about health without talking about mental health.

You know, it seems like there's this whole idea out there that shame is gonna be effective at helping people to change their lives.

And if people ever lost their shame or felt like, or stopped feeling like there was something wrong with them, they would lose their motivation to do something.

I've literally had a trainer sit with another girl who was like "Oh, I just..." you know, size whatever girl, smaller girl saying how she didn't feel good about herself and then he said, "Well, at least you don't look like her."

And I'm like...

I think that our medical establishment has set it up for all of us to believe that there's something wrong with being in a heavier body, and that gives legitimacy then to a popular culture to insult people for not having the right body.

I remember this experience I had, with a black friend of mine recently, where we walked into a store and the store keeper was following her around everywhere we went.

And it was obvious that the storekeeper was expecting her to be shoplifting and was watching for it.

My friend was really disturbed by the experience and I remember thinking, you know, I've got options here about what to tell her to do.

I could tell her that she could bleach her skin and then maybe she wouldn't experience that.

Or, I could show compassion for how difficult it is to live in a racist world and acknowledge that that kind of behavior is not okay, and that the problem isn't in her the problem is in a culture that tolerates and encourages that.

And I think that we have to start to apply that same lens when working with weight.

That rather than telling people to lose weight and then you won't get, you won't experience discrimination what we have to do is name discrimination as the problem.

Oh, my goodness, he's huge.

He's like, bigger than a horse.

My little brother's had this pig for years now.

It's his pet.

It's funny, you actually learn a lot about life and death really quickly with animals, like, living on a farm. Cause, I don't know, things happen.

Life happens. Death happens.

This tree's a lot smaller now.

I used to think it was a pretty good feat, climbing up here.

Good spot, no one can... I mean... yeah, yeah, I liked it up here.

I've thought about a lot of stuff up here.

I was gonna be world famous one day.

I made my mom take a photo of me before a dance recital and I decided that I was gonna pose like that and everything so.

And I hopped up there they lift me up there and struck my first pose.

Yeah. That's where it all began, superstar in the making I think.

Yeah, very much the centre of the show.

She was standing on the trampoline with her arms out like she was a-

I'm sure most girls are like that, you know, they want to be the star.

You know, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!"

I'm telling ya! That's the way it was.

You know I was always posing, actually.

People always told me I was really photogenic in high school and even in elementary school.

I was always posing.

Maybe I was meant to be a model? I don't know.

I have always been, like, an outgoing person but, It's just harder here.

It was harder to be that way.

But I needed more.

I've always had this urgency for wanting more in life, and experiencing more, and yeah, it's nice to be back home, I really miss my parents and my family here.

I kind of made a choice when I was younger, to move away and to try and make something of myself.

You got to get out of... you got to get out of the small-town community in order to make it big, I think, you know.

And so, I moved to Vancouver with that kind of dream and that kind of mentality, is that I was gonna do something, do something big.

Currently, I am not feeling too well.

I'm going in for surgery, in about three weeks.

Nothing to be too concerned about hopefully. But, something's in my stomach that needs to come out, so.

It's not a baby, don't worry.

But it's been growing, and giving me a lot of difficulty.

So, I'm gonna be dealing with that in the next little while.

So, unfortunately, you won't be seeing too many photos coming from my page.

But, hopefully, I have enough on reserve that you guys can enjoy.

Yeah. Just pains in my lower stomach and I wouldn't... I didn't think anything of it, other than cysts, because that's what everyone told me that I had.

And it was "Oh, it's just a cyst. It's nothing to worry about."

Ah, this video is unlike any other video you have seen me do.

It's a little bit more intense than anything else I've talked about, like, hair and makeup and clothes.

This is um, this is a big one.

I had surgery a month ago on the 14th of June, and it was a biopsy.

So that was to figure out what was going on my stomach.

The biopsy results came back five days after, on June 19th and I was called in and diagnosed with a low grade serous carcinoma, which is ovarian cancer.

It's a rare, very rare form of ovarian cancer.

That, yeah, you don't see in twenty-five-year-old girls, that's for sure.

Life, as I'm sure you know, hands you some pretty crazy things and this is the first thing I've really come upon in my life to deal with.

Like this.

So, this is the one that... this is the one that... that my family and I are dealing with.


My looks will change.

I will change as a person.

And I hope you guys stick with me through this.

And I hope I can learn something from you and that you can learn something from me and that I grow from this.

My brother said to me that he found a quote that said,

"A person doesn't get cancer. A family gets cancer." And I really believe that.

My parents have been here, like, the whole time.

And it's been really great having them.

My mom has looked after me.

You need your family and your friends when you're going through this and I feel so awful for people that never had anyone.

I couldn't imagine.

Yeah, everything stopped.

Yeah everything's been put on hold.

Everything was like happening.

The same day that I was, that I had the port surgery go unsuccessful, and find out that I still had another tumor growing, was the same day I found out that I could be going to New York.

Yeah, it sucks.

I met Shanah's mother, when I was about 21 years old.

Shanah's mother was working in the red-light district as a prostitute.

I was a customer of hers, but she did stop after about three years.

And she wanted to have a child.

Growing up, I kind of went in between homes a lot.

My parents were actually in prison for the first few years of my life.

So I was raised by my grandmother.

Officially she lived with her mother, but her mother, which I heard afterwards, her mother was often away for a business and then leave her home alone sometimes in the evening.

Kerosene kept strolling to my place because she was home alone.

I haven't spoken to her since I was about 13.

There was a lot of physical abuse, a lot of psychological abuse.

There were instances where we would have family meetings and everyone got to eat whatever and desserts and I would be the only one left out.

She would say stuff like, "Oh, you know" like ridiculous stuff, like, "If you eat this, you'll get HIV." And stuff like that.

If she thought that Kerosene was too heavy, she would comment like, you know, "You look like a pig" or something.

Yes, she would be quite rude, I think.

I remember when I was about five years old.

Five until about seven.

There was a person in the family who was considered like an uncle and he sexually molested me.

Right smack in the middle of big family gatherings for example he would, you know, do little things like, grope my chest or reach his hand down my crotch and stuff like that.

I was also left alone a lot in some of my mother's establishments which were brothels.

Just to hang out there after school and he would often be there.

I had expressed some of the things that had happened to my mother, and she sort of shrugged it off.

And was like, "Oh well, you know it's probably your fault" and stuff like that.

So, I guess that always stuck with me.

She... she told me, to me, but that was many years after that happened.

She told me, she once told it to her mother.

It was at the time that we broke up already, me and Kerosene's mother.

And that her mother was shouting at her about it.

The person who did that, he is, he passed away already because he jumped in front of a train.

Otherwise, I might have pushed him.

I shouldn't say that on camera.

I was quite chubby my whole life and always told that I had pretty face.

And there's kind of nothing worse than that.

I wish... I kind of wish that people just wouldn't compliment me at all.

If there just gonna say that I have a pretty face, and what, that my body is ugly?

Like, what... what I am as a whole is not pretty enough for you to give it an entire compliment? Like, fuck that.

I was at a job and I overheard the stylist in the background say, "Oh fat chick. I don't know what to do with her.

How am I supposed to dress a fat chick?"

And, this was when I had first started modeling and that- it really got to me at that time.

But I just sucked it up and thought, well, "Screw you lady. I'm gonna show you that I can do a great job."

And I did, and at the end of it she, she had no idea that I had overheard her saying that and she actually congratulated me on how much of a good job I did during the shoot.

And I just thought, "Well, up yours. Yeah, I showed you."

I was doing a show with a lot of their new models that were really, really, skinny.

And I was the only plus size model at the show.

And, I don't really remember this at all.

But my mom was telling me this story a few weeks ago.

And she said that I was so upset, And I was crying and I was, like, "I'm the fat model.

I'm the only fat girl."

The worst I had was in 2011, when this TV commercial came out It was-

I got a lot of like, direct attacks, like, on me personally and like, it was pretty bad.

"You're not supposed to be model."

Or "you're too short, you're too big, you're too thin."

It's always like you're always too much something.

Most of the feedback I got from the H&M campaign was very positive.

There was for every nine really positive remarks, there was always one, where somehow, I was like, ruining somebody's life for being in a swimsuit on the beach.

The people who are leaving the comments after the articles, they wasn't so kindly to me.

"Oh, this pig! Why she naked?"

Somebody said, "Oh, she looks like she could use a salad."

And I mean, well, I really like salad.

There's a bunch of delivery places around here that you can custom make your own salad, and they've got great tofu! So.

I was just feeling bad because, by being haters to me, they were being haters to all the women that looked like me.

I now have to take estrogen for the rest of my life, but my cancer is estrogen receptive.

There's still some left on my diaphragm that I will be going in for chemo and losing my hair within the end of the month.

So that'll be... that'll be definitely something that I'll have to deal with on an emotional and physical level.

This way I'm kind of choosing to lose my hair, as opposed to just losing it.

Like, I've seen people and it's like falling out and that just really.

Yeah. It's kind of disturbing and I don't want to lose it, I want to take it off, you know?

Oh, that's weird.

You look so good. You do.

I love it. I love it.

I'm gonna stay with the modeling as much as I can as much as my energy and my overall outlook of life is.

Because, I don't know how to take it I don't know how to deal with this, I've never known anyone to go through cancer.

I don't know what to expect.

Yeah, here we go.

And, it's already set.

My lovely girlfriend Nadine set my hair.

Looks good.

The lady at the wig store said about four fingers.

Yeah, that looks really cute. Does that look normal? Is it on the ball? Like...

Yeah.

I haven't had time to even watch a YouTube on how to use a wig.

I seriously have absolutely no time in the day, it feels like.

And then when I do, I'm too tired.

I feel like it was fate that it all kind of came down, that I'd have this career roll out just the same time that I get diagnosed with a pretty terrible disease.

You know stage 3 ovarian cancer.

That's pretty harsh for a lot of people to have to experience.

It helps to do these photo shoots, for like, self-confidence.

You know, you feel amazing when you're doing these things.

People are fawning over, making sure your face looks perfect, and making sure your hair looks perfect.

There's no better feeling in the world, probably.

So, I'm just a typical chick and I have confidence.

That's the only difference that makes me, um, the person that I am.

I had chemo in the morning.

I didn't have to get my blood test.

Thank God I had that on Wednesday, and it went well.

So, my counts are good.

I had chemo, it was like two and a half hours.

And Benadryl. Oh my god, does it make you tired.

I don't know how to keep up with it like my website and just everything my fans, and the demanding... and the demanding things are coming my way, I just can't.

I'm feeling overwhelmed today.

And I've been feeling overwhelmed the past couple days.

I walked into the living room and told my family that I need therapy.

So, therapy is starting on Wednes... on Monday.

I just like, walked into the living room, they're all sitting there, I just said, "I need therapy" and I started crying.

People think that I've got absolutely nothing wrong and I look gorgeous and that I'm just fucking living the life right now, but I'm not.

Like, I'm actually really sad a lot of days.

Oh well. That's what... and that's just the way that this is.

I accept that what it is. I knew getting into it.

I went off estrogen. I'm going through menopause full force right now at 25.

And they said it was gonna be the hardest thing ever, to go through chemo and menopause.

And it sure as hell is. Like, it's hard.

While having fans too, that criticize you.

Yeah, a guy posted on my wall the other day that uh... I was using cancer.

I don't want to talk...

I was using cancer as a platform.

Which I'm not, at all.

Those people have nothing better to say...

Which is pretty awful, and I knew that going in to this, but I didn't know that people could actually do that.

Anyone can hide behind...

I'm gonna wreck your makeup now and you've worked so hard.

Someone would never say that to me, I don't think, like, in real life because they realize I'm an actual person.

I'm an emotional wreck, actually underneath all of this makeup and this fake hair and whatever.

I'm pretty emotionally distraught, but I'll get through it.

That's why I posted on my page, the other day, that I was upset and- and then I had 60,000 people try and lift me up. So, basically this shoot is because I have fans.

I wouldn't have been doing this today, if I didn't have some support and all the love coming at me.

Because I read all my comments from that. That's what my plan was.

Post this photo, get... get them excited because then they'll get excited for me.

Even though no big commercial editorial agencies will have me.

Or, even though I probably won't work with any mainstream designers or stores.

That what I'm doing is the right thing, and what I'm doing matters.

When I first started modeling, I really focused more on the art aspect of it, but once I got more serious into the modeling side of it, I did try to go to a few agencies and castings and got really, really rejected.

I don't like to label myself as "plus size model" because being an industry standard plus size models has about as many restrictions and requirements as being a straight size model.

You have to be very toned, tall, perfect skin, perfect teeth.

So yeah, I definitely will never be and don't need be a plus size supermodel.

Because I am only five foot three and I have tattoos.

I don't have perfect features. But that's okay.

I'm totally cool with that.

Everyone was like, "You will never get hired by anyone, you're five foot three, you're full-figured and you have tattoos."

That's like, the triple I!

But hey, it's, it's been over a decade and I've worked internationally for designers, for magazines, music videos.

I really, honestly feel that if you work hard and you're passionate about something, you can make stuff happen for yourself.

So yeah.

Take that! Hm.

The absolute, ultimate goal for me would probably- do a really ridiculously high-end couture runway show, for someone really big.

Walking amongst all the svelte, tall, six-foot, size zero supermodels.

And then there's just like me. Like, five foot three.

Like, all jiggly on the catwalk.

It would just be really funny, because a lot of people would make such a commotion about it.

Like what's this like, fat tattooed person doing on this cover or in this magazine, you know, on this runway.

I would find that really enjoyable.

Just like, "Haha, you know. Take that!"

If someone can get me on that runway for... I don't, I don't even care, like Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, Betsey Johnson.

Like Betsey Johnson, come on girl.

That'd be awesome.

I'll work these little love handles... just strutting.

That would be awesome.

I would love that, oh my god!

The irony of the fact that the fashion industry was meant to celebrate women and make them, you know, feel their best and give them an avenue to express themselves, but only if you're a size zero to eight.

Those designers are not interested in the bigger women, it's just as simple as that.

In their eyes, plus isn't like, worthy of their design.

For them it's, it's really not about creating fashion for her as much as... as much as it is, just creating pieces, that them their-selves as a designer are comfortable seeing.

So, I, I think unfortunately, there's a segment of the population that's just constantly being left out and, ironically, it's really the largest segment.

It's ridiculous!

There is a perception that having a sort of straight up and down model as a coat hanger, if you like, having an androgynous look, means that the focus is a neutral look and the focus is on the clothing.

Interestingly a lot of the designers that I've worked with and come in contact with are very thin themselves.

I just noticed that, I don't know if it's maybe because they can't relate to plus sizes or they've never been plus size.

Because they haven't lived in the body so they don't realize

"Oh yes, that thing touches that thing."

Or, that's fine until you sit down or stand up or whatever it might be.

In actual fact, if people were to be more honest about what society actually is they would actually see that designing for plus sizes has huge economic benefits for this kind of sixteen billion dollar market that Forbes has quoted in the United States alone.

The problem comes from designers you know we're teaching fashion students to make clothes only in sample sizes.

And that's what they learn how to do.

In most design schools and... and also in ours, we'll work on size eight or ten, to make samples.

My idea was to make a plus size collection for my final project in school.

And I just went to the directives and asked them about their permission to- to allow me to do this.

Hi there Doris, I have spoken with the other faculty members and unfortunately you won't be able to work with plus sized models this time around.

Aside from needing a completely different fit model, three different additional models would need to be hired for the show which is incredibly expensive, money.

This is extremely complicated for even the most experienced designer.

We would ask that you continue making your current collection but adapt it to the school's standard blocks and models.

I really feel sad because it was my, my dream, like to do my first collection about plus size women.

But when they reject me, they rejected my idea.

So, I feel frustrated like, I decided just to do what they want me to do it for now until I finish school.

And after that, I know that I'm gonna be free to do just whatever I want.

So even if the educational system is not teaching plus fashion.

I didn't learn plus fashion.

But I've been plus size and I knew that that's what I wanted to do.

So, I practiced.


But I do think that it's unfortunate that so many don't want to explore it.

And I think, actually, it has a lot to do with they feel like it would kind of mar their brand.

It's just... it's a dirty little game.

So, I've got something a little odd that I keep in my model bag and take with me to shoots, and I don't always need to use it.

But on some occasions the client will ask for me to look a little bit bigger.

So, I carry with me a fat suit.

Or if I want to be politically correct, padding.

So, so far, I've been able to pad out my hips, my thighs and my stomach section.

All through here. So, I've added at least a size and a half to my body.

And this will allow me to wear bigger size clothing.

Especially the sample sizes, if they don't come in a size 14 and they come in a size 16, this will allow me to fill them a lot more, true to the size, instead of having to be pinned.

A few years ago, I started working for ASOS curve division.

They had originally gone with what their customers wanted.

Their customers wanted to see girls that were a size 20, 22 modeling the clothes.

Because that was representative of who the customers were who were buying the clothes.

And none of the clothes sold.

They just weren't, weren't selling.

And I moved to the UK and I started working for ASOS and as soon as they started using me, as a size 16 UK, the clothes started flying off the shelves again.

Companies in America that I've worked for Macy's, Kohl's, Bloomingdale's where we use padding, when we work there and it's not all girls and it's not all areas of your body.

For me it's usually just my mid area.

To fill me out there.

And that's why we have plus size models that are size 12, 14 and 16.

Because, that's what people are showing they want with their buying power.

No, I do have that moral conscious of is it the right reason that I'm doing it.

But at the end of the day, it comes down to paying my bills and if I have to pad to get the job to pay my bills to be able to eat that week, then that's what I'm going to do.

I think padding is the industry's dirty little secret.

It's something that not many people know of and even when I turn up to jobs, and I say "Oh, I've got my padding here today."

The stylists sometimes look at me and laugh.

It's really funny to work with straight size models because, when you come out with your padding on, they can hardly believe their eyes.

They're in an industry that tells them to lose weight to be as skinny as possible, and then when a model that they're working side-by-side with comes out in a padded suit, they just lose it! They laugh and just think "Wow, you've got it really easy.

I'm told to lose weight constantly and here you are pretending to be bigger."

I'm so tired of that line selling a dream because you're- most of your customers are, are never going to achieve that dream.

It's like, 99%o of them.

And even those who do it's, it's not a forever scenario.

Our industry is sort of built on sand castles because, none of this is real.

Fashion photography is not realistic.

And it's, it's about a dream. And it's about perfection.

And it's about you know, looking at something that's really beautiful and it's a piece of art.

So, on the one hand you have people seeing these images as images of beauty, aesthetic objects.

But on the other hand, people kind of see these images as images of oppression and of evidence of a kind power, power imbalance.

So, there is always, I think, an aspirational aspect of beauty and you see that within fashion and I think that as we evolve as people, we can open that and broaden it.

But media doesn't necessarily want to do that because by making- honing that into a very small group of, of really inaccessible forms of beauty it allows for people to buy things to, you know, get Kim Kardashian's ass and to get, you know, J Io's face, but you know, I mean, it's driven by capitalism.

So, the less we can be inclusive, the more we're gonna drive people to purchase things to make them look a certain way.

If something is always unattainable the desire will never cease.

And so, you'll always be- be spending money.

If you look at advertising for food, even the food is retouched.

So, it's really part of the culture, the marketing culture, that when we sell something it has to be perfect.

Yeah, it's... it's... I mean we have to I suppose, present perfection every month and that's what we do.

You know, it's yeah.

That's what they want. Yeah, that's what they want.

I mean she's talked to me about, you know, not retouching images.

I can't do that as Harper's Bazaar.

It's like, you know, it's not my job to do it.

No, no! I'd lose my job.

Yeah.

You often don't see plus size models in beauty campaigns, and you know, jewelry campaigns and you know, watches and lifestyle and we're breaking into a fashion area of the industry but, there's so many places where models are used where plus size models aren't featured.

It's hard being a model.

Then put a plus model on top of that.

It's even harder to be a plus model.

Then put this... that I can't change, but I love so much, my skin color, my heritage, African-American.

Proud African-American.

Put that on there.

That's a whole other layer.

And guess what? That makes it a hundred times harder.

One of our male models, many years ago, one of our really great black male model that we represented, and he said, "You know, do you ever noticed that black people don't eat cereal?

Black people don't drink beer?" And I was like "What are you talking about?"

He goes, "Do you ever see that on TV commercials? Do you ever get an audition for me to go out and do that?" And I thought, "You are so right."

That's what you see you see those people, who society push out, "Yo! Boom!

You want a new Mercedes? You gotta look like George.

George is sexy.

George has a six-pack.

George drives a Mercedes."

You know.

"You want to be like Phil? Phil drives a minivan.

He's a dad, he has six kids.

He has a job that he doesn't care for.

Oh! He has a beer belly."

Okay, thanks for that stereotype.

Um, but no it's not like that. Like, yo, why can't I, why can't I be the guy who drives the Mercedes?

At the end of the day, everyone wants to dream and everyone wants to be inspired and feel like they're working towards something.

And I think plus size fashion still needs that, you know, you still want to go into a plus size store and feel that the clothes are beautiful.

You know you want to go in and feel that they're still trying to sell you some kind of dream.

You know, it doesn't have to be a size 0 dream.

So, I do a lot of vintage store shopping, usually.

I love it, it's kind of like... it's kind of always been my style.

Oh, my goodness! I have absolutely no real concept of my body yet cause I've dropped 40 pounds. So, I dropped from 187 to 141 just I-

I weighed myself yesterday.

About 45 pounds difference. So, that's quite a bit.

So, I don't know how to really shop yet, I don't know how to-

I just feel different when I model and I can... different angles don't look as good.

Kinda got a grampa bum right now.

I don't know if I feel very confident without my weight.

I know that sounds really weird, but I, I feel different without... with my weight gone.

Oh yeah! First, we'll get to New York we'll be buying some, won't be no $7.99 shirts there, I don't think.

That's the plan is to go to New York as soon as I'm recovered.

I want to get on that plane.

I'm so excited I've just got to get through it. So-

Yeah! Be patient.

Yeah.

Ooh, that's a nice purse!

It's pretty wonderful that I'm going from pretty much well driving an '87 Volkswagen that doesn't start, to modeling in New York City.

Hopefully. So, it'll be incredible and I hope that it all works out well.

But they seem to be pretty excited for me.

They say that they're watching me and I just got another email of them checking in on me and seeing, seeing if I'm ready and I'm still game.

But I feel like I'm locked up, right now.

I feel like I'm in a jail.

It's... it's hard to push onward sometimes.

But you have to remember the end goal and the end mission.

And just, kind of, I got to keep my eyes on the prize.

And not worry about everyone else, and the emotions that come with this and what I'm dealing with.

Because in the end, I want to be successful.

And happy.

And I want to instill a lot of confidence in people because that was my goal in the start. So.

Yeah.

A Vancouver woman battling a rare form of ovarian cancer is sharing her story in a rather unconventional way.

Despite chemotherapy and surgeries, she's kept working as a fashion model.

She's hoping to change the way her industry thinks about beauty.

There's one shot that is at the Forever Yours store, and it's the shot with the sports bra?

Looking at that just... I can't believe it! It's such a beautiful photo, of what needs to be represented in this world.

At one point, Mayday died her hair teal.

The color of ovarian cancer awareness, before shaving it off.

She has another major surgery scheduled for next week.

After that she has plans to go to New York.

I will be going in for a surgery on Monday, um, that will be very invasive.

It will consist of- uh, chemo during the treatment about an hour and a half They don't even do this procedure in BC, yet.

This is just a new thing that they've been doing.

So, hopefully it's... it's the one that gets me to the, to the finish line.

And not that finish line.

You know? Yeah.

So today, Graden and I are going to go out and go shopping and see what is available for plus sizes.

Let's see what's the biggest size they have? I think an 8.

I don't think they'd have anything past a size 14 though.

Well, so far, it's been 12 Yeah.

I think everything is just a size 12. Oh! Size 12.

That's it. I think they have like a tall section, a petite section, but no... Nothing past a size 12.

I can't get it past my upper arm!

It's a ten! It's maternity.

It won't go past my arm.

Hey, did you know, you can only be, like, pregnant up to a size 12 too? You can't get bigger.

That's cute.

But you would never wear it?

I would wear that.

Up to what size does it go? Large?

My love, I have a question for you.

Up to what size does this go?

It depends. if you've got extra-large or double extra-large.

Do they make them in those sizes? No.

They didn't even have anything past a size 8 there. No.

Haven't seen anything all day that's past a size 12 or large.

No, it kind of looks like the 12 is... Yeah.

That seems to be the cutoff. Yeah.

Mm-mm.

Even in maternity! Even in maternity.

Just stop growing. Yes.

They literally divide you up based, based on your size when you go shopping.

I've been in stores, you know, department stores where I would say, "Oh, can you tell me where the dresses are?" "Umm, for you, it would be on the third floor."

For me?

Twice, last week, I walked into a store only to be told by the salesgirl that the, the extra-large was gone.

Because the shipment only comes with one.

I mean, how does that make me feel? I'm one of the package?

And I'm just an extra-large, for god sakes.

It's just because it looks prettier on the rack to have a zero to twelve.

Why would you have plus size? You don't want to associate with girls that are, I don't know, maybe 200 or 300 pounds.

They don't want to associate with that.

No there's no elitism, there's just pure ignorance, and willful ignorance.

Because, it's like you're literally leaving dollars on the table.

Her average dollar per spend is more than double what a straight size shopper is.

She's going to share on social media more than her straight size sister is going to.

These are things and elements that add to the bottom dollar.

And if you're in a business, in retail at the end of the day, it's all about the dollar.

So even from a marketing, retail, business space it makes no sense.

They decide to sell or not, plus size clothing according to the location of the store.

In Milan, I'm sure that some H&M store sells, for sure, plus size clothes but not the one in Coso Buenos Aires.

Because it is very, very popular street, you know, and they don't want to deal with a certain target of people.

I can't wake up and say, "Okay, today, I'm going shopping in Paris."

Because I just can't. There isn't my size anywhere.

Now if in this day and age, if there were signs in a store that said, "Blacks shop in the back."

People would be outraged.

That wouldn't... no one would allow that.

But for plus-sizes, it's like, "Oh, yeah, you guys go and shop in the back.

Shop downstairs" or wherever it is.

And it's like, "Why is... Why is that okay?"

Because that's what these brands do when they either don't put us in their stores or put us all the way in the corner and in the dark.

Like that's what they do.

That's what they make us feel like, third class citizens.


Plus size models aren't given the opportunity as much to make great money.

The availability to work at a high end of the fashion industry just isn't there.

So, the plus size models don't get that opportunity to make that kind of money.

And I love it when people say to me, "Oh, wow.

You're in eight pages of Cosmo this month.

You must be killing it. You must be so rich." Well, actually guys I'm not rich.

I got paid a hundred dollars for that shoot.

I worked seven hours.

My agency fees come out of that.

My tax comes out of that.

My parking comes out of that.

And after a seven-hour day, I've made about $40.

For doing eight pages of a national, well known magazine.

The biggest selling magazine in the world.

So that's why we do the other shoots.

That's why we do the catalog shoots and shoots where we have to wear fat suits, because they're the jobs that actually pay the money.

Because there are more plus size brands out there now, across the world there is a lot more work.

And there is that opportunity to make a very steady income.

If you can work every day, amazing.

But often, you might only have one shoot a week, or two shoots a week.

Generally, a pay day for a day shoot is usually a couple of thousand dollars.

You know, that's fantastic money.

But earnings aren't consistent.

The jobs aren't there every day and they just don't have that availability to work every day.

So, they need to have a second job to support themselves.

Some girls actually spend money trying to be a model and get in debt.

They go overseas, they rack up bills and they don't get any work.

And then they go back to their home country in a whole lot of debt because all they wanted to do is be a model.

And they never got there.

It's different from everyone.

There's the extreme of very little money to the extreme of making amazing money.

And there's definitely plus size models out there making amazing money.

But it's not everyone.

This was a big blow for Elly and for her family and for her friends.

So, I thought, if we put an event together, I think that will give her a night to actually have fun.

But also give her kind of, like, one last hurrah before she's in the hospital.

Hey, do you ever look good.

I love you I love you too. What's up?

So, I have a surprise for you. Okay?

And I just wanted you to have a night before you went in.

And just something to like... I'm sorry.

I don't want to cry, but like, I just want you to know how much I love you and how much we all think you're amazing.

And so, I have a surprise for you.

Oh yeah?

Okay? You need a minute? I'm already crying! Thank you.

It'll be lovely.

Okay. It'll be lovely.

You okay? Yeah.

Do I look okay? You look beautiful.

This is kind of a big deal.

I'm so glad I didn't wear my sweats.

What in fucking... That's pretty cool.

Oh my god!

So, everyone's here tonight for you.

And we all just wanted tell you how much we love you, and we're putting on a fashion show.

Really? Yes.

Do I have to work?

No.

So, this is a big surprise?

This is an amazing surprise, yeah.


Really opens my eyes to all the kindness that has been shown to my daughter and my family.

No, I had no idea until, like, just driving here.

It was going to be a night out with whoever showed up.

But it turned out to be a night out of me being able to see everyone I love, and everyone that's supported me through this, and kind of given me a- a good, um, almost a sayonara to me going off to New York as soon as I'm recovered.

So, surgery's on Monday and everyone wanted to see me and, ah yeah.

It's been pretty nice.

I have such a good feeling that she is going to go through the surgery.

She's gonna do well.

She's gonna beat this and she's gonna take over the world.

Like honestly, she's going to be the plus size model that's gonna make everybody feel amazing.


It's a foggy old Monday.

Yeah.


I didn't write a journal for cancer like everyone else does.

I posted on Facebook to try to inspire people and to try to do something good in this world because maybe that was my last chance, and if that was my last chance then I think I spent it well. It was well spent.

Okay, yeah. This is it, guys.

When I return, I'll hopefully... I will be a cancer-free, young woman ready to take on the world.

New York, here I come.

I think at the moment it's... It's a really weird industry and that's what so many consumers don't understand and everyone kind of blames each other.

You know, the magazines are saying, "Well, actually, if designer samples were bigger, we'd have to use bigger models."

It's just this vicious circle of the modeling agencies then say, "Well, hang on, we're only meeting the demands of the fashion editors that are asking for the size eight to ten."

But the only reason the fashion editors are asking for size eight to ten, it's because the sample sizes come in that.

But then you've got the designers and retailers say "Well, hang on, the only reason we're creating... you know, we're creating that size is because it's really costly to create another block on a larger size."

So, it's a vicious circle that nobody wants to take sole responsibility, but actually, it's everyone's responsibility.

So, everyone needs to take a slice of that pie and own it.

I don't even begin to say we're not the bad guys.

I think there's an element that we are the bad guys, but so are the retailers, the designers, the modeling agencies, the consumers.

Like, we're all, we all have got to take a bit of blame on our shoulders.

And we've all got to act to make that change, you know.

So, there is a lot more we can be doing in Cosmo.

Likewise, consumers need to stand up and have a voice, and have their say and vote with their wallet.

Designers need to look at, well, is it time to start investing in bigger blocks and cutting, you know, larger sizes that fit women, and sell more garments.

You know and... if everyone can just lift and do that little bit extra.

I'm not... I'm not sitting here saying, "Oh, we're not the bad guy. Don't blame us."

Because there is... like, you know, as a mother, I've got two daughters and I don't want my children growing up-

I don't want those girls growing up with bad body image.

I don't want them looking at magazines going, "I feel terrible about my body.

I'm not skinny enough, I'm not fit enough, I'm not fashionable enough, I'm not whatever enough."

You know, so, we certainly have a responsibility, and I don't shrug that and think "Oh, we're doing, what we're doing, so don't blame us, go and blame somebody else." You know, I'm putting my hand up to take some of that blame, but we're trying to do something about it.

You know, and... and it's, it's walking that fine line between, being business and making money, but also having that ethical, moral, social responsibility.

This revolution is carried out by people, not the fashion industry.

And since people are the real protagonists of this movement, of this phenomenon, social media very useful to, to achieve our goals because they are the only, the only means, the only way to let bigger and bigger number of people know that plus sized women count.

We have to keep encouraging brands to include more plus size models.

I mean, we're the public.

We're the ones spending money on clothing.

We're the ones pushing the industry, so we need to push it forward.

We need to create the momentum that'll bring in more diversity, bring in more plus size models of different shapes, different heights that we can all relate to.

I am absolutely amazed and shocked this year at how much traction the movement has gotten because it really has been grassroots.

And in some ways now, I feel like the media, mainstream media is almost trying to latch itself onto it and you know, make it this cool thing.

And it's like, "Just so you know, you didn't make this happen.

You're late to the game, we made this shit happen."

We've created our own celebrities.

It's because there is nobody to look up to.

And then you have girls like Gaby Fresh, and the Curvy Fashionista, and Nadia Aboulhosn and like all these girls down in the States that have just gone huge.

I love my fans. I do.

They are so sweet and, you know, they post on my Facebook wall with um, you know, little stories about their lives and how I've inspired them.

And I find it like really touching and it really inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing.

I think that sometimes I keep going in this career as a plus model because I know that they're watching me.

I know that I inspire them.

I know that they want to be... they think when they see me, "If Liris can do it, I can do it."

Yeah, I think this is very important because growing up I had no one that looked like me to look up to, like no one.

So, I'm so glad when I get messages from young girls that say, "Oh my god, you look like me, so cool, like." And I felt like, this is like the best gift of the work, is like, inspiring younger girls and tell them it's okay to be you.

And this is, yeah, the most rewarding part of everything.

It's, it's this.

It's being a part of this revolution, being a part of the change.

Yeah, that's amazing.

I don't like hospitals.

It was, it wasn't fun being here, but it was like I had, nice nurses and everything.

It wasn't, it wasn't too smooth a sail in there, the first couple of days.

No, it was, yeah it was eight and a half hours long.

Four surgeons total, and five anesthesiologists, bunch of nurses.

Yeah, the nurses were so nice.

I gave them one of my calendars here for... so tried to maybe spread the story a little bit to a couple of people, but I didn't really want to deal with any Elly Mayday crap this week, you know.

People that were helping me weren't really helping me.

They didn't understand that I didn't want as much media.

I don't want a bunch of media coverage over my sickness.

I want to be healthy.

So, um, yeah, when I... when I do all this media coverage, I wanted to be ready to go and like looking decent normal and stuff.

And so, it kind of took off a little bit sooner than I wanted it to and so that really sucks.

I'm not known for cancer and that's my one thing, it's like.

I don't want to be known for cancer.

I wanna be known for being strong.

This wasn't a cancer story, this is a... this is just part of my life.

This is a cancer bump.

You know, like what I've said along this whole time.

So, I didn't write a journal, like... I feel like people who are gonna die, write a journal.

I know that sounds really silly, but in my mind, I always thought, like if I write out how this all went then there's, there's a reason for it to end, you know.

If I don't, if I have kept this story then He has to let me tell it.

It's too good.

So, that's kind of what I held on to.

Yeah.

And we saw a big shift in the market with a lot of body positivity A lot of, like, anti-airbrushing and a lot of wanting to see real people.

So, we've collaborated or we've purchased a lot of designer clothes.

So, names like William Rast, DKNY, Levi's, Parasuco.

So, these are all lines that weren't previously offered to plus.

We're just so happy to, to be a part of the changeover especially for curvier sized women that that's no longer the mentality.

That we're no longer women crying in the dressing rooms or wearing giant I-shirts to the beach.

Everything that we can do to make sure that every woman, you know, looks and feels beautiful when they're in a swimsuit.

And if you look at the size of the population, 50% of women in Europe are what, what would be considered plus size.

Europe represents a 10 billion Euro opportunity.

Once people recognize just how big an opportunity that this is, they're going to go after it.

You know the market is opening up slowly and continuously.

I think some of the higher end media are using plus size models from time to time, you know, in the high-end fashion publications.

I think through social media women, bigger women especially have become a much stronger voice about what they want and how they want to be portrayed.

It's a cycle of the public and bloggers kind of feeding that information back into companies and companies delivering.

Forever 21 is doing something incredible because they're being really inclusionary.

Especially if you go to their Times Square store, they have a huge plus size section.

I think the store's something like three or four stories.

It's a lot of clothes in there.

Larger brand stores like Big W, K-Mart, Target are rebranding their sectors, changing them.

It's really kind of exciting.

We're in a really good transition period right now which is really positive.

Bigger women haven't had an opportunity to get used to investing in themselves, in spending money, they've only ever had cheaper choices.

So, it takes a while for everyone to sort of get used to the idea that you're worth it, you can spend the money on yourself.

I think we're changing the path now with plus size models, labels, media that it is something to be excited about.

It's not that sort of shadowy word that no one mentions anymore.

It's plus size, be proud of it.

Yeah, um.

I'm excited and nervous.

I'm so... I'm nervous.

"Good morning. I cannot believe we're finally going to get to meet you.

When you find out a date or even a timeframe let us know, we will definitely make ourselves available.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to hear you're getting your life back.

Please stay in New York City a little longer.

We need as much time with you as we can possibly get.

So much is happening and it's exciting knowing you will be will be a part of it."

So that's just like right there it's like, "Uh, yeah!" Yeah.

So, I'm pretty stoked to go and meet them.

So, when I started modeling, I weighed about 187 pounds.

Today I weigh 134.

I started gaining weight in about grade seven, grade eight, about the time when it matters what you look like and I've always been bigger.

The most I've ever weighed was 197.

I posted a photo last week of... and I was pretty hesitant on doing the selfies again.

And I see exactly why I was... I was holding back because the reaction was a lot of women said to me like, I can no longer follow you.

You're, you're not aware of the curves and all this kind of stuff.

It's hard to be an advocate of something when you're not it, when you're not representing it, at the time.

So, I think girls don't think I really know what it's like to be bigger, you know.

I don't feel like I can give advice to girls that are bigger as much now, unless I have my photos with me, or you can say like, you know, no I just lost a lot of weight.

Yeah, it's a weird mix of emotions for me regarding my weight loss.

I still want to be a lingerie model even though I have a ginormous scar on my stomach.

It's part of me and I'm only gonna work with people that are willing to work with people like me.

People that are embracing exactly who they are.

I want to be a model for positivity and a model that people can look up to whether you're going through cancer, whether you're going through bulimia.

Whatever you're going through, whatever your trials and tribulations of your life, you need someone to look up to.

It's weird to be able to see future.

I was like, so focused on this life-threatening disease for this past year, it's really weird to be out of the storm now.

You know and to have doctors be like, "Well, we took all the cancer out of you."

So, it goes from thinking you're losing your life into now what are you gonna do?

It'll be fun to go off to New York and make it big, hopefully, and be on the covers of some major magazines and share my story with women.

Over the past few years, I have been doing public talks on body positivity and self-empowerment.

I definitely think my public talks are a little bit of an extension of the work I've done in the past.

Like I've been an advice columnist for magazines.

I've offered a lot of online, kind of mentoring and advice to not just aspiring models but also anyone in general.

I've always been a very open book with people.

So, for me to be able to go into my community and have these public talks, it's just a way to connect.

I'm not ashamed of my battle and if you find yourself struggling remember that the road is hardly ever...

I think we underestimate the value and the importance of sharing our story, and I'm always happy to share my story with people.

So, here she is, Kerosene Deluxe!

Thanks so much, everyone, for coming.

It's really awesome for everyone to be here.

I've been doing modeling for about 15 years now and it's progressed a lot from just kind of being like a rebellious act.

Sometimes it just takes that one thing that someone needs to hear that might ignite that spark or get that ball rolling for them to be like, "Hey, you know what?

I am allowed to love myself and I am worthy of love."

I'm personally not ashamed at all of my battle and if any of you here find yourself struggling just remember that your road to recovery is, it's hardly ever linear, it's very often super bumpy and it's definitely okay to stumble.

And it's, it's okay to not be okay sometimes.

I think by uniting in an event like this and seeing the people around you and how different they are it, kind of, makes you realize that, "Hey, I'm not alone with this issue.

The person next to me who I might consider to look perfect because they're, you know, tall and slender or they have a nice ass or whatever like they could still have issues as well."

And I think it's important to understand that we all have those little things about ourselves that we wish were different and that's okay.

People's insecurities create billion-dollar industries and there's no price on your self-worth and it can't be measured on a scale.

You are then, now, and you're always enough.

So, that is all I really had to share with you guys.

Aww, thanks.

I love being able to talk to people after my talks and what they... what they what they got from it.

It's very touching to hear other people's stories as well because it's not really just about my story, it's as much as about their story as well.

Yeah, so this is my first cover and I'm super excited.

It's a regular fashion magazine.

I think that's even more important in fact that they're putting a plus size girl on the cover and for the editorial because they are wanting to celebrate diversity and show that, you know, the plus size models give it just as good as the regular size models do.

I'm a size 14, so that is classified as plus size, in the modeling industry anyway, not in reality, yeah?

See you. Thanks, bye.

We're doing an editorial as well as the cover today at this amazing house.

You know, it means a lot and it means that people are actually seeing my photos and who I am and what plus size modeling means to larger society.

Women and men want to see women of all different- and men of all different sizes in the media and in magazines.

So, it's... it's great. It's super positive to be here.

This month is pretty amazing for me because I'm in four magazines in one news agency all around Australia, which is pretty incredible and ne of my favorite ones is Slink agazine from the UK that's newly come to Australia and I'm on the front cover of it and on an editorial in the inside as well.

So, it's pretty cool that you know, I can come into one news agency and see myself in four magazines.

Women's Weekly did a body issue this month, and myself and four other plus size models were able to do an editorial piece and talking about our bodies.

And what we love about our bodies.

How we feel confident or what made us feel unconfident especially when we were younger.

I was lucky enough to get a piece in the front of Women's Weekly Health, an article about myself being a role model for people with body confidence issues and being a positive body advocator.

And finally, this month, I'm also in Cosmopolitan Australia.

It's an eight-page editorial on denim and they don't tell anyone it's a plus size model.

They don't say, "This is Laura Wells. She's a plus size model."

They just say "model Laura Wells."

We shouldn't have to put labels on plus size models.

We should just be able to call them models because that's what we are.

Getting a cover and an editorial for an overseas magazine is really a big thing in the plus industry because as plus sized women we- and plus size models, we don't get it that often.

So, it was a huge opportunity and I feel really privileged to have been chosen to be here today.

I think we're doing... I think we're doing really wonderful right now.

I think that we're progressing at a really, really rapid pace.

I couldn't have predicted that we'd be here now, so I couldn't imagine what's gonna be in five years.

I know I'm not a fortune teller.

But I would tell you that I can just picture us in billboards in Times Square and in every runway show and mixed with, you know, the straight size brands.

I think we have no idea what we're gonna go to, but I think it's gonna be beautiful no matter where we end up cause we're already so far.

Oh god.

It's gonna be fun.

I can't wait to see it.


Hi.

I'm excited, nervous, pretty tired.

But it should be good. It was a full flight so.

When I was younger, smaller trips and stuff.

I've been down to the States, but uh, nothing like New York.

Been to Las Vegas.

And yeah, just like short little ones, but yeah, this will definitely be the longest time I've ever spent in the States.

Hopefully, it'll not be the only time.

Thank you very much. Nice to, nice to meet you. Have a good one.

Thank you very much.

I'm here, I made it.

Ugh, nice to be finally here.

Well, it'll be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.

Of course, my skin gets really bad the day before I meet an agency.

It's my first night in New York.

I'm ready for bed cause I'm quite tired.

But yeah, get a good sleep in and be fresh-faced for tomorrow.

Ugh, I'm really annoyed that my skin's terrible right now, but there's nothing I can do about that.

Hopefully, it'll just go away.

The lighting's, like, really terrible, um, maybe I can do it out here.

I think just like meeting them will be good, to start everything out.

I signed a contract with these people for three years, for the next three years.

So, hopefully they like what they picked.

Just gonna be myself

and hopefully that's good enough.

Now, I know they're gonna make me take my wig off, obviously, but I think they'd like it a lot better short so.

I'm just gonna wear it there.


Hello! Hi, how are you? Hi, nice to meet you.

I'm Gary, so nice to meet you. So welcome, this is JAG. Nice.

Still in the works, we've been in two weeks and yeah, it's going really well.

Good. Really, really well.

What size are you wearing currently?

I think I'm a ten right now.

Yeah. Ten to twelve. In our market you're going to be a little bit bigger.

So, like a 42 to 44 is going to be a 12-14.

I think that's probably where the hip is. Yeah.

So, you're pretty much a perfect 14. Okay.

Hah, I see what you did there.

Can't believe you're finally here.

I know, it feels like I just talked about it forever.

I know. I know, right?

So, I'll probably stand out on your board here with all the girls that have such long hair.

Yes. Like if I do go short, you know.

Should I get my hair cut before tomorrow or not?

Let me see again?

Like, it's pretty messy.

I don't think she should cut it. I like it messy. Like it messy?

Do you think you'll be able to line up jobs at all this next two weeks or not?

It depends on you.

Yeah. Depends on how you do in the testing.

It depends on how you do when we send you out on castings.

Um, because you're so new to this market, it could go either way.

And you had never been here before? No, no.

So, what do you want to see while you're here? Uh, everything.

Everything?

I'm in the fashion capital of the world, so I kind of need to reinvent myself at this point.

I'm excited for what's to come next.

I don't really know, but I guess that's the adventure of life isn't it?

All the paperwork's done by JAG. So, it's great.

I just kind of show up, do the shoot and tra-la-la.

So, it's, that's part of it I guess, it's like an everyday job whereas, I've taken it from it being just my, my creativity and my fun thing to do on the side, it's turned into what could potentially be a full-time position as a model.

Just working and just feeling like I'm moving forward in life is really what I was excited for, so.

I'm happy to be here, finally.

Well, I'm scared of remaining sick and not becoming cancer-free basically.

I don't if that's gonna hold me back, or if my scar's gonna hold me back, but I'm gonna do it anyways.

Yeah, I guess that's like the scariest thing is people rejecting me because of the scar I have on my body.

It's still not really, I'm still not really realizing it that I'm a signed model.

It doesn't feel real yet.

Maybe when I start traveling full-time and all that.

This is one of the most important moments in my life, coming to New York and experiencing the big city.

It's really crazy to be here in New York.

I think life is always teaching us new lessons of appreciation and what we are meant to do on this planet to appreciate just what you've been through and to know that you can go anywhere.

Superstar.


This morning women's clothing company, Lane Bryant is chiming in on the conversation about beauty and body image with a new marketing campaign.

Lane Bryant introducing a new body loving campaign called I'm No Angel.

#imnoangel.

I'm No Angel. I'm No Angel.

I'm No Angel.

It features plus sized models and says the campaign is designed to teach women to love every part of themselves.

The models who appear n this new commercial believe it more closely reflects the average American woman who is a size 14.

It was like I wanted to scream it from a mountaintop, but I couldn't because I couldn't tell anyone, right?

Like to keep everything under wrap for so long and to be a part of the "I'm No Angel" campaign was pretty surreal.

It was just like a smile on the inside permanently for a couple of months.

They had a full double-decker bus with our photos on the side.

The video was playing on the other side. It was wrapped in us.

I modeled with Victoria Lee, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham and Justine Legault.

So, it was cool meeting them because I'd seen them in magazines and seen them before, so.

I had no idea who I was gonna be modeling with and then all of a sudden after having seen so many photos of them and just being like I'm sitting next to you in a photo is, it's a trip.

It was crazy to, to be there, to be next to them and actually be considered an equal because these women are-

Poof, poof!

And here's me, trying to climb the ladder, but I'll get there, it's just, I'm new.

My agents at JAG were, um, I shouldn't say shocked because I think they believe in me, but they were surprised, delightfully surprised that you know, I'd get in, I'd get on the roster and only be two months in and then book that like that.

To see how in a year, you know, to think that I'm gonna die and then all of a sudden, I'm all better and I'm doing something that people would dream of doing forever, I couldn't even imagine.

You want to meet my girls? One word.

Sexy.

I think it's in my eyes.

It's something that looks like this.

Beautiful.

I'm no angel.

I'm no angel. I'm no angel.

Here I am, on a commercial, going across the States on buses, on trains, on subways, on billboards.

It's nuts, like, I had my fans send in photos from whenever they would see me.

They'd see me on TV, they'd see me on commercials, Hulu, all over the Internet.

It was on TMZ.

It was on Entertainment Tonight.

It was all over.

Yeah, it went... it went viral.

It was pretty trippy. I'd had people like, "I saw you on this.

I saw you on this." You know, and it was great having my fans like so excited for me because they'd seen what I'd went through to get to that point.

Seeing myself in Times Square? It was... I don't know how to explain it really.

It was unbelievable.

I'm really proud of myself and like that I actually was able to make it through everything and, and get to that point where I can say like, there I am, in front of, you know, thousands and thousands of people.

Yeah, it was, pretty shocking.

There's Elly, there you go.

Go Elly.

There it is! It's my ad! New York City! Times Square.

Pretty awesome.

Recognize me! Recognize me!

I had always thought, you know, that'd be amazing, but I always had doubts.

I mean, how many people can say, like, coming from a town of 50 people and working my way up to like, actually living in New York and working as a model

It doesn't happen every day and I think this is my opportunity to make that kind of dream come true.