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Curvy models star in stunning beach shoot, talk body image and surprising women they admire

Features

Check out the news posts and interviews from the #ProjectwomanKIND team. 

 

Curvy models star in stunning beach shoot, talk body image and surprising women they admire

Jessica Vander Leahy

In a world where having curves can seem like a curse there is a refreshing new breed of fashion models taking over who are happy to show off their voluptuous shapes.

International beauties Bree Warren, Jess King and Project WomanKIND web-series subjects Sophie Sheppard, Olivia Langdon and Jessica Vander Leahy know all too well the odds they are up against in their industry. Like many women these models of ample hips and bosom have all faced the same body hang ups and put themselves through the wringer for not meeting other's body ideals but now, they seem to have all come to accept their shape.

Here the Bella models answer some questions for #ProjectWomanKIND about their careers, body image and the surprising women they admire. 

Bree Warren

Model Bree Warren. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

Model Bree Warren. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

How would you describe your relationship with your body?

I think it’s pretty good. I have been basically the same size since I can remember – tall and in proportion but a little bit curvier than most. I think have a pretty healthy attitude towards my body and shape. I have always been this way and I like to enjoy myself so I don’t get too caught up on it.

In high school, I was really active and did a lot of training so I learnt about nutrition and needing food for fuel. I think that helped me a lot because now I understand what nutrients you need and why. I think that is the most important thing you can learn for your body and health.

What is the best body love advice you have ever been given?

We all come in different shapes and sizes and that is absolutely okay. I am all about women supporting women. I really believe in what I do! I feel like we are own worst enemies sometimes.

Who do you admire?

Oh so many! I was blown away by Marie Colvin, love Elle Macpherson, little bit of a crush of Natalie Massenet, Steph Gilmore, Amanda Shadforth and Margaret Zang. I admire anyone who carves their own path. I like people who take the risk and do their own thing.

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a women means being fun, feminine, strong and sexy all at the same time. We are so lucky to be females in this era. We can be anything we want to be.

What kind of woman do you aspire to be?

I want to be successful. I want to stay real. I want to be healthy, loving and confident.

Is there something about yourself that you once saw as a weakness but now see as a strength?

I would probably say my hips ... They would stick out in certain clothes that I wanted to wear and I just thought they didn’t belong. But now I have totally swung the other way! My mum has them, my grandma’s have them on both sides of the family so they were always coming to me. And without them I probably wouldn’t have a job now.

What is one word you would hope those close to you would define you as?

Happy.

What is the best advice you would give your sixteen-year-old self?

Anything worthwhile takes hard work! Oh and I would have never touched my eyebrows.

Jessica Vander Leahy

Model Jessica Vander Leahy. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

Model Jessica Vander Leahy. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

How would you describe your relationship with your body?

It's mostly one of gratitude - it serves me well and allows me to go to all the places I want to go and do all the things I want to do so, I'm happy. I hope I get to live inside my body for a long while yet so I try to keep the relationship solid.

What is the best body love advice you have ever been given?

Enjoy your body - it will do things you never thought possible if you let it. I love that. One day my body might make whole new organs to have babies or fight illness so who knows what this bad boy is capable of.

Who do you admire?

Right now Ronda Rousey - I'd like to meet her because she seems kinda cool and badass.

What does being a woman mean to you?

It means the gift of being born a wonderfully dynamic and fascinating creature capable of amazing things.

What kind of woman do you aspire to be?

Strong. Kind. Compassionate.

Is there something about yourself that you once saw as a weakness but now see as a strength?

My ADD. I always have found it hard to stay on track and concentrate on one thing at a time but as I’ve gotten older I see that often the tangents I went down when I was supposed to be doing something else have made me explore things that other people missed. I always satisfy my curiosity - one way or another - and I think that has seen me grow in ways that others haven’t been able to because they weren't born with my impulses.

Who is your favourite fictional female character and why?

While I don't even know if I like her that much Scarlett O'Hara always comes to mind when I think of this. She was so flawed - I mean the world she lived in bred her to be a complete racist - but by some miracle I could always compartmentalise that giant failing and see her as a survivor. Even when she had nothing she was wiry and fierce and driven, always driven. She's my favourite because she's endlessly fascinating - trying to understand her was a fun game and even now when I watch the movie or read the books I'm still trying to figure her out. 

What is the best advice you would give your sixteen-year-old self?

I would say; 'I still don't know if it's all going to be okay but it's been fun so far. Enjoy the ride.'

Sophie Sheppard

Model Sophie Sheppard. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

Model Sophie Sheppard. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

How would you describe your relationship with your body?

I would say I have a good relationship with my body. I obviously have my days where I don’t feel great like anyone, but overall I’ve never let my body really dictate my happiness.

What is the best body love advice you have ever been given?

That you only get one life and it’s bloody short! So treat yourself well, be healthy and just accept yourself for who you are - flaws and all!

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a woman to me means having the confidence and belief to go after my dreams and get to where I want while remaining true to the person I am. As women, it’s easy to change yourself to please others but I’ve always being myself and I think it gets you a long way.

Is there something about yourself that you once saw as a weakness but now see as a strength?

I think a lot of times woman’s emotional side is seen as a weakness – but I see it as a sign of caring and being passionate about something. There is nothing weak about expressing how you feel, no matter how big or little, or how stupid you may think it seems. I think it’s truly beautiful when someone shows their vulnerability. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to be affected by things.

Who is your favourite fictional female character and why?

Oh there is so many! But I’ve always loved Vivienne (Julia Roberts) in Pretty Woman. It’s one of my all time favourite movies. Despite her setbacks and struggles, she was uncompromising in what she wanted for herself out of life and wasn’t willing to settle for anything but the best. Of course it all works out for her in the end, but I love how she remained true to herself.

What kind of woman do you aspire to be?

I aspire to be happy. It’s something I’ve really come to terms with, especially over the past year. That I’m happy in myself, happy with what I’m doing, and just enjoying the ride! It’s all that matters at the end of the day.

Olivia Langdon

PHOTO: Olivia Langdon. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

PHOTO: Olivia Langdon. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

How would you describe your relationship with your body?

My relationship with my body is ever-evolving. As I grow older, my understanding, my appreciation and my perspective of my body develops and I work more 'for' my body, not 'against' it like I did when I was younger.

What is the best body love advice you have ever been given?

The first line of criticism of your body comes from within yourself, only you have the power to change that.

What does being a woman mean to you?

To me, being a woman means that you can decide what you want yourself to be. It means choice, it means love, it means freedom of expression, it means limitless.

What kind of woman do you aspire to be?

I aspire to be a mentally strong, physically healthy woman who brings joy to others as well as looking out for herself and her own happiness.

Is there something about yourself that you once saw as a weakness but now see as a strength?

Growing up being a 'nice, shy girl' often resulted in people taking advantage of the fact I was quiet, vulnerable and always wanting to help others. It made certain parts of school quite difficult but as I've gotten older I find that being the 'nice girl' is becoming my strength, it is working for me. Being nice goes such a long way in the real world. Kindness is rewarding and often scarce in particular industries so it is where I find a lot of fulfillment in life. People remember the nice people. It's easy to drop the niceness and become hard and rough, but I think it is a strength and it is preferable not to lose.

Who is your favourite fictional female character and why?

My favourite modern fictional female character would be Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Her spirit, perseverance, determination, loyalty, and inner strength are all qualities I admire. She cares so much for others and because of that so many people care for her back. Kindness breeds kindness.

Jessica King

Model Jessica King. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

Model Jessica King. (PHOTO: Lily Cummings. Provided.)

How would you describe your relationship with your body?

Probably the most positive it’s been in years. To be honest it has a lot to do with being a part of the “curvy model” industry. I’ve come across so many strong women who have demonstrated their own self confidence and have helped me realise that it is actually okay to like your body - and maybe even love it - just the way it is and not how ‘society’ tells you it should be.

What is the best body love advice you have ever been given?

This quote from Dita Von Teese as always resonated with me;

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” 

I tried for so long to live up to this ideal of what the perfect woman was in terms of the body and personality, yet I didn’t realise for so long that it doesn’t actually exist. The strive for perfection is a never ending, exhausting journey and it doesn't matter how hard you try there will always be people who are committed to not liking you. Forget about what others say and focus on what makes you you - that is your perfection.

Who do you admire?

My Dad. He has an energy and a zest for life that I haven’t come across in anyone else his age (60s). He has survived cancer, the loss of his brother, parents and father-in-law in quick succession yet still manages to get up every morning with a smile on his face ready to tackle the day ahead. 

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a woman to me is so much more than just simple biology. It’s accepting my strengths and vulnerabilities and challenging stereotypes.

What kind of woman do you aspire to be?

A strong one.

Is there something about yourself that you once saw as a weakness but now see as a strength?

I have and probably always will be quite shy.  I was forever concerned that people would misunderstand me as being snobby or standoffish when I was simply terrified of a lot of social interaction. I now see this as an opportunity to surprise people and to prove them wrong.

What is one word you would hope those close to you would define you as?

Kind. I just want to make life easier and happier for those around me.

Who is your favourite fictional female character and why?

Hermione Granger. I think it's rare to come across a main female character that isn’t simply a love interest for the protagonist. Hermione is valued for her bravery, strength, unapologetic intelligence and you will hear very little reference to her looks in the Harry Potter series. 

What is the best advice you would give your sixteen-year-old self?

Stop cutting the size labels off your clothes! No numerical symbol you see on your scales or waistband is going to make you better or worse than the person next to you.

Have you WATCHED the #ProjectWomanKIND web-series yet? Check it out below. 


Photography by Lily Cummings and provided by Bella Management