The recent spark ignited by criticism of plus-sized-model-turned-chef Robyn Lawley, who graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated’s “Plus Size” issue, has created a domino effect in the plus-sized community, since speculators claimed that the size 12 model was not “big” enough to be considered plus size.
In recent efforts to end body shaming for good, Lane Bryant has launched the “I’m No Angel” campaign, which features the plus-size lingerie brand, Cacique. Geared to encourage women to embrace their curves and imperfections, this monochrome, multifaceted advertisement urges women to show off their perfectly imperfect bodies using social media. The women are not standing alone — instead, they are in great company, since the campaign features six prominent power players in the plus-size model community. Lane Bryant’s site reads, “Join Us” as they introduce Ashley, Justine, Elly, Marquita, Candice and Victoria, six curvy models with nothing to hide.
We all know the infamous Victoria Secret Angels that are adored for being so thin that they could literally fly away, but the “I’m No Angel” campaign showcases a lot more attitude and curves. There has been a stigma surrounding the recent support of being plus-sized in fear that the lines between embracing and glorifying women will be blurred. The campaign is proving that just because a woman is not the “average size” does not mean that she is unhealthy.
Plus model, cancer survivor, diversity advocate and documentary star Elly is featured in the campaign. She is a prime example of someone who embraces their body despite the circumstances. Elly's modeling career began taking off she was faced with a huge obstacle, ovarian cancer. At the tender age of 25, what started off as a scar from surgery, turned into a badge of honor. She wears her battle wounds with pride and is not afraid to let you know it.
According to a study conducted on dosomething.org, "approx. 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to receive their ideal body type. But only 5 percent of women possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media." Even with these staggering statistics, women who do not fit society's prefered image are meant to feel like they are the minority.
When reputable plus-size photographer, Ivory Jackson, was asked about the industry changes he has seen in body image and body acceptance movements he said, “People are now respecting plus-size women and plus-size women are respecting themselves.” There is room in this sphere for every body type to feel confident and comfortable.
The “I'm No Angel” campaign stops stereotypes by showing healthy women who are happy with themselves. They are satisfied with what they see in the mirror. Their message is not perfection, it is acceptance. They encourage each woman to embrace who they are.
The stigma does not only come from the public. As a signed plus model who books jobs regularly, I know firsthand how brutal the industry can be, and I have felt the pressure to go up a couple sizes to be more marketable, as well as pressure to lose weight in order to keep up with the crazy demands of the market. I even worked with Lane Bryant when the company debuted their Burlesque-inspired line at Full Figured Fashion Week in New York City.
This reputable brand is leading by example by changing the fashion industry from the inside out.