'I uploaded a photo celebrating my size 14 body. Then people started commenting.'

This post deals with eating disorders, and could be triggering for some readers.

"I dunno if you’ve seen this, but I hope you’re okay."

Your heart immediately sinks. It’s a message no one wants to receive; only for me, I knew exactly what it was about as soon as I saw it.

At the end of my chaotic week at PayPal’s Melbourne Fashion Festival, I continued the high and closed off my experience with a moment of appreciation for my body by posting a photograph. 

You see, despite public discord surrounding my relationship with self-love, I haven’t always been this positive.

Throughout my early teens and 20s, I dealt with some scary demons. Disordered eating, body dysmorphia and persistent negative thoughts plagued me day in and out.  

I used to be so ashamed about the size of my clothes that I would cut the tags off. The thing was, it never really mattered what the tag said, it was never good enough.  

If you’ve experienced what I’m describing, firstly I am so sorry. This is not a burden I would wish upon anyone. Secondly, you would understand wholeheartedly that these feelings of inadequacy never truly leave you. Instead, they turn into background noise, something you must actively work to tune out.

So, work I did. And I worked hard. What once saw me clinging to the belief that living only begins at a certain dress size, now sees me celebrating the very thing I feared so deeply.  


Being curvy.

It's what's allowed me to work for the past 12 years as a curve model. It’s what, in many ways, has saved my life. 

I am now in a space that celebrates me for looking this way… so why can’t I do the same?  

Last week, I threw a celebration for myself and my body to appreciate how far we’ve come together. 

Paired with a low-cut dress from Erik Yvon, I wore a custom g-string by lingerie designer KissKill with 'SIZE FOURTEEN' decorated in gold diamantes. 

Gone were the days of violently removing any evidence of my curves, they were (are) beautiful.


I was immediately met with messages of support and encouragement from all directions. I thought that would be it.  

I figured, it's 2023 – surely, we aren’t still policing women’s bodies and their decisions when it comes to dressing in a way that empowers them? 

How wrong I was. I clicked the link and fell down a rabbit hole.  

"Model’s tacky moment…" the headline read. I felt defeated. 

"Trash", "whore" and "fat" were just a few of the words littered across comment sections.  

"She looks too fat to be a model."

All of a sudden, I was 14 again, unable to do up that pair of pants and believing that being thin was the ultimate marker of success.   

There I was, my body reduced to clickbait and internet fodder, with no mention or context as to why I had worn the outfit in the first place. 

A low back dress and exposed lingerie isn’t new in fashion either - Hello, Tania Buckley at the Brownlow? Hailey Bieber at the Met Gala? 


The only difference? I am a woman in a body bigger than a size six. 

And I’m ok with that. In fact, I’m proud!  

Tell me, what is so offensive and confronting about someone who is not a sample size reclaiming their body and sexuality? 

What is it about the existence of my curves (and pride about them) that threatens peoples' world view? 

I respect that what is empowering to some may not be to others, but I can’t comprehend how that automatically gives people the green light to publicly body shame. 

Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me that ‘heroin chic’ is trending again. Anyone who doesn’t fit into that mould may have their appearance critiqued and criticised; case in point here.  

I closed my phone and took a deep breath. There was no denying the article, and its accompanying commentary stung. 

In that moment, I realised I could let this go one of two ways. 

I could let it destroy me and find myself tip-toeing on the precipice of body image hell once again. Or I could continue to show up for the girl who felt that hiding and shrinking was the answer. 

I chose the latter. 

Feature image: Instagram/@jessraeking

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