Beauty

6.28.2019

The Magic In The In-between: 6 Models On Individuality & The State of The Industry

With plus-size modeling opportunities increasing across the industry, the acceptance, support, and demand for inclusive representation in fashion is stronger than ever. We’ve seen models like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday book major campaigns, dozens of brands like ASOS launch “plus” or “curve” ranges, and modeling agencies such as The BTWN celebrating bodies as they come. But fatphobia in the industry is still rampant, and for those inbetween, particularly—that is, those who are not quite plus-size but don’t fit the standard size that the industry tends to cater to—representation is few and far between, and restrictive labels tell a tale of two extremes.

We sat down with seasoned models and models on the rise to learn more about their highs and lows as inbetween models, their advice to aspiring models like themselves, and how the industry can better address its lack of body diversity.

Liz Harlan

Liz wears a Chromat dress and Bond Hardware jewelry.

Who are you?

I am an artist, advocate, and simply a human.

What’s the best experience you’ve had as an inbetween model?

I love showing up on set and being the biggest girl. It makes me feel unique.

What’s the worst?  

When an “open minded” client of mine basically stared down my thighs. I could tell they were displeased by my physique.

How can the industry better accommodate models like you? 

Being more imaginative with clothes, thinking about how they can better fit bodies that aren’t sample sized, even when the garment might be a sample.

Jill Korteleve

Jill wears a Telfar scarf, pants, and jacket.

Who are you?

I’m Jill Kortleve, a Dutchie born in the South of Holland who recently moved to NYC.

What’s the best experience you’ve had as an inbetween model?

Making the decision to continue my modeling career as a curve model is the best decision I ever made. I can completely be myself and am much healthier, physically and mentally. I’m now living in NYC and signed with an agency I always wanted to be signed with, working for brands I only dreamed of, without focusing on my weight and obsessively trying to lose a few inches. It took me a while to figure it all out (about 23 years) but now I wouldn’t lose weight for anybody.

What would you tell younger models who have inbetweenie body types?

Stay true to who you are and don’t change anything about your size even if that sometimes looks like the easy option.

Marley Parker

Marley wears a Telfar dress and jewelry model’s own.

Who are you?

I’m Marley, aka She Marley Marl. I’m a DJ, painter, curator and entrepreneur. I started off as a curve model but eventually moved to the main board after losing a few pounds. I still don’t know where I stand, but I would say I’m pretty much an “inbetween” size model.

What’s the best experience you’ve had as an inbetween model?

It’s always nice doing interviews or shoots that are about me and my artistry because I feel released from this pressure of what my body should look like on set. For example, this beauty interview I did with Byrdie. I felt like people viewed me as Marley Marl, the DJ and entrepreneur, not some ‘kinda small kinda too big’ model who has a cool look.

How can the industry better accommodate models like you? 

The industry needs to start normalizing all sizes. Even though I have worked as a straight size model, they never usually hire me more than once. I’ve been told many times that if I just loose 10-15 pounds I would make so much more money. I love my body now and it really hurts to know I would have to alter my body in ways I don’t feel comfortable with just to sustain a good amount of jobs.

What would you tell younger models who have inbetweenie body types? 

Build your image as an artist/model so that clients will want to book you for you, regardless of your size. It can help a lot.

Anita Jane

Anita wears a Gauntlett Cheng bra and dress and Cleopatra’s Bling jewelry.

Who are you?

I am a mix of different ethnicities and I identify with every one of them. My father is from Laos and my mother is Thai, Chinese, Italian and Cherokee.

What’s the best experience you’ve had as an inbetween model?

Being in the curve industry has definitely changed my view of the direction of where fashion is headed. Starting off as a straight model at the age of 15 took a toll on my mental and physical health because of the standards and expectations pushed then (and up until now), so I feel that it’s helped me grow into myself.

Describe any experience that brought you down. The lows of the experience.

The only low I can think of is all within myself, comparing myself to other models and their successes. Wondering what it is I need to be doing differently. I remind myself that we all have our different journeys and one person might excel at a different pace than me.

Anna Ling

Anna wears a Gauntlett Cheng top and skirt.

Who are you?

I’m an artist, and I support everybody. I’m human.

What’s the best experience you’ve had as an inbetween model?

I feel liberated to be seen as myself and representing what I wish I would’ve seen growing up.

How can the industry better accommodate models like you? 

Be creative in the way things are styled and designed, not just to make what is the most “flattering.” Cast models with genuine diversity rather than having one plus girl to make it look diverse.

What would you tell younger models who have inbetweenie body types? 

Try to ignore the pressure to look a certain way or fit a category, you are what clients need to be looking for!

Samia Hampstead

Samia wears a Kahle top and Telfar pants.

Who are you?

I’m Samia Hampstead. I’m a first gen black Caribbean American. I’m a big sister, foodie, model, aspiring actress, and advocate for diversity in the media (and any profession). In the modeling world, I fully identify as an inbetweenie for sure.

What’s the best experience you’ve had as an inbetween model?

Working with Aerie is a dream. I love when I can feel comfortable on set. The team floods everyone with compliments and swings so much assurance your way. It’s one of my favorite teams to work with and for them to give me a chance to represent myself (and bodies similar to mine) really drowns out most of the not-so-great experiences. My picture was up in Times Square because of them.

What’s the worst?

I was on a set (a few times) where people made negative comments on my body when something didn’t fit correctly, or if a tummy roll happened and someone said, “Ugh can’t you just suck your stomach in?” Little things like that are not so little. It would throw off my confidence even after the shoot was over. But I keep reminding myself to force my way into spaces bigger than myself. I have little sisters and younger people looking up to me, and I want them to see themselves represented in as many places as possible.

What would you tell younger models who have inbetweenie body types?

Our time to shine is coming and remember there’s more than one standard of beauty that should and will be represented in the media.

Credits:

Photographer                     Heather Hazzan

Creative Director / Stylist    Blair Cannon

Makeup Artist                     Ingeborg

Hair Stylist                          Clay Nielsen

Photo Assistants                Luis Burgos, Des Magness

Styling Assistant                 Justice Jones

Stay tuned to Milk for more model talk.

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