This post deals with eating disorders, and could be triggering for some readers.
Last week, I walked in the first ever Australian Fashion Week dedicated curve runway.
The show was presented by my agency Bella Management and was the brainchild of founder Chelsea Bonner, a longtime body image crusader.
Whilst it was a beautiful, supportive and uplifting experience, it hasn’t always been this way. This is what I want you to know.
Watch Mamamia's lifestyle writer attend The Curve Edit at Australian Fashion Week. Post continues below.
I remember my first runway. Vividly. I was 15, and I clomped down a catwalk to none other than Snoop Dogg’s 'Drop It Like It’s Hot'.
What should have been a proud and exciting moment was marred by the fact that only 10 minutes earlier a stylist had criticised the size of my hips and the difficulty they were giving her in dressing me.
"Your hips are quite a lot wider than your waist aren’t they?" she said as she wrangled a belt that wouldn’t do up.
Whilst it wasn’t the catalyst for my years-long battle with disordered eating, it was a moment that I carried as my career progressed; a sense of unwelcome and an acute awareness of the space my body took up.
I was reminded that I needed to fit into clothes. Not the other way around.
Years passed and I began working as a "curve model". A confusing thing to navigate with a clear emphasis on my size, having only just emerged from the worst of my body image woes.
I was heavily insecure but desperate to be accepted by an industry that wasn’t even sure if it wanted me. I found myself working in London, once again on the runway.
I’ll never forget the embarrassment I felt as I changed into my outfit only to find I had been given a pencil skirt and crop whist the other models wore lingerie. I was the biggest model there. The shame multiplied when I was told at lunch to stay away from the bread and only eat salad.