Kerosene Deluxe: A plump Pin Up’s journey
It’s eight in the morning. I get out of bed, throw on my plush pink leopard print robe and turn on the kettle for a good old cup of English breakfast. I make my way to the home office to check my emails and messages. There’s one from a guy telling me I’d be “hot” if I dropped a hundred and fifty pounds (I weigh 165). Another message claims I look like I’m about to have a heart attack from obesity any minute. Also, a bunch of people on Inked Magazine’s page have been arguing about my weight and size ever since I was picked as their “Inked girl of the day.” I smile, take a sip of my tea and can’t help but laugh at all the hysteria a couple of images has caused.
Wherever my work ends up controversy usually follows, and the “skinny vs. big” debate starts all over again. You see I’m just your average girl next door (with big hair), 5 ft 3 and size 14. The majority of people would not automatically guess that I model, and I am regularly met with a look of disbelief when they find out.
Some wonder why I choose to subject myself to this kind of criticism and how I’ve managed to put up with it for over a decade… The answer to that is simple… because I can. When I first started this journey it was very rare to see an Alternative or Pin Up shot featuring a fuller-figured girl, and though the models were all gorgeous I found few to be physically relatable. I admired images of Hilda, the super cute but thoroughly fictional curvy Pin Up character created by Duane Bryers. I always thought to myself how neat it would be if a real life person would embody her sass within the artistic community.
My start as a model was purely coincidental and not something that had crossed my mind growing up. I was certainly never the “pretty” kid, and was subjected to bullying at school (and at home) on a daily basis. (eventually causing me to drop out of school) I was never popular or “cool” either… I guess for lack of a better word I was a loner, a nerd… I took comfort in music, painting, poetry, comic books and monster movies. While other kids idolized Britney Spears I gushed over Lilly Munster, Vampira and Vincent Price.
It came as a complete surprise to me when a photographer approached me saying he liked my look and inviting me for a photo shoot. What started out as something that seemed fun became a journey of self-discovery, acceptance and expression. I’d be lying If I said I stepped into the modeling scene with blazing confidence. Truthfully I don’t think many of us do and I certainly didn’t step onto the set feeling like a Vixen the first few times. The greatest thing I have ever learnt is to never compare myself to others and to be the best that I can be. Your body is the one thing you TRULY own for the rest of your life, and life is way too short to waste time hating it.
We all have certain parts of our bodies we don’t like, so I say emphasise those that you do like. With a stroke of black eyeliner and a slick of red lipstick I create who I wish to be, and I do so to please myself and nobody else. Never feel guilty about taking “you time” and doing the things you love. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not bring you down. I personally live by the motto “what other people think about you is none of your business.” We all have opinions, and the world would be a pretty dull place if they were all the same right?
For every negative comment I get I also receive extremely positive and encouraging emails daily from all over the world, from woman (and men) who appreciate what I do and it’s incredibly inspiring. I feel blessed to be doing what I do and honoured to be included in the art of so many talented individuals.
I took something that so many people see as a “flaw” and made it my trademark. I know not everyone will appreciate my work, but I always know that when one door closes another will open. Never let someone else tell you that you are not beautiful and never shame other people’s bodies in order to validate your own. I really feel that the “skinny vs. big” debate should be obsolete in this day and age. With so many forms of expression, attraction, titillation and inspiration open to the human race nobody has the right to dictate what is beautiful and what is not. After all, variety is the spice of life and the world is big enough for us all to shine.