A Photo Shoot With Plus-Size Asian Women Is Completely Owning The Internet
Fashion magazines are notorious for featuring super skinny women on their covers and in their pages. And a lot of times, they don’t even look like the way they look in magazines in real life. The magic of Photoshop can completely transform a normal woman into a woman who’s so perfect it seems like she shouldn’t exist, because she actually doesn’t. They take a leg here, an arm there, and completely Frankenstein together the woman you see on the cover. It’s all fake, and yet we all buy into it every time we purchase a magazine, both literally and figuratively.
Not every woman looks like the model you see on the cover of a fashion magazine. And some women are choosing to embrace how they look instead of trying to Photoshop their imperfections away. And every time that happens, the internet is here for it. And they’ll always be here for it.
Call It Out
Women who have plus-sized figures are getting represented in beauty magazines more and more.
There used to be only one type of figure that was acceptable, but now, the beauty industry is finally embracing the fact that not all women come in the same shape.
But Asian plus-sized women are still underrepresented, and body positive activist and body confidence coach Michelle Elman took to Instagram to call that out.
Making A Statement
Michelle, who lives in the U.K. took to Instagram to post about how plus-sized Asian women are under represented.
“There is something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest for a while. The U.K. plus size community exclude Asian women,” wrote Michelle.
“It’s largely due to the fact that Asian women are always stereotyped as petite but plus Asian women exist, and we deserve to be represented. We are more so in America but in England it’s basically non existent.”
Michelle pointed out that most fashion brands tend to exclude Asian women from their plus sized ads.
“Go to most plus size brands’ Instagram and you won’t find a single Asian woman,” Michelle posted on Instagram.
“Go to the plus size ranges of mainstream brands and again not a single plus Asian woman in their campaigns, on their website or even in the sponsored posts.” But Michelle also decided to do something to prove her point.
Michelle decided to partner with a photographer named Linda Blacker to show that Asian women come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re also beautiful.
The photo features seven plus-sized Asian women, and they all look absolutely stunning in the photo.
“Being Asian is not one look,” Michelle wrote in her Instagram post. “Being Asian is not one culture. Whilst even this shoot isn’t perfect representation, it shows just a small sample of the diversity within Asia.”
Show And Tell
The whole point of the photo was to show “them what they are missing,” says Michelle.
“PLUS SIZE ASIANS EXIST,” Michelle wrote on Instagram. “As you all know I’ve been talking about the absence of Asians in adverts, campaigns and fashion in general so @lindablacker and I decided to team up on a little passion project. Look at how incredible these women look!”
Let’s meet the women who modeled in the incredible photo that was taken.
Michelle reached out to bloggers who responded to her initial Instagram post in order to get her models for the photo.
She didn’t just stop at selecting bloggers for the photo. “Then I reached out to my followers via Instagram and found Mina Kumari, Vanessa Sison, Simsimma Sandhu and Saalene Sivaprasad,” says Michelle.
But Michelle also decided to model in the photo, and she looks absolutely stunning in it. She demonstrates anyone can be beautiful.
According to her Instagram account, Bishamber is a lawyer and an actor, but she’s also the U.K.’s first plus-sized Asian model.
“When I Started Modelling 5 Years Ago I Identified Very Quickly That There Was No Other Asian Woman Who Was Plus Size And Trying To Make Her Mark In The Plus Size Modelling Industry In The UK,” says Bishamber on Instagram.
“Thats Where My Title ‘Britains First Asian Plus Size Model’ Came From,” she explains.
Britains First Asian Plus Size Mode
Bishamber says that she was dismissed when she took the title of the U.K.’s first Asian plus sized model.
“So Many People Laughed And Wrote Articles On How They Thought It Was Petty For Me To Keep Such A Title!” says Bishamber on Instagram.
“Nobody Once Stopped To Think Why It Was So Important For Me To Identify Myself In Order For Me To Also Be Included.” Bishamber just wasn’t represented in the media the way she should have been.
Kat Henry is a blogger and a plus-sized model, but she’s also a beauty queen.
“Stop. Take Notice,” Kat posted on Instagram when she posted the photo heard round the world. “Appreciate. Educate. Motivate.
Represent us ALL.”
“We are not tokens. We are overlooked. We are not invisible,” she continued. Her message, much like the photo, was simple and powerful, driving home the point that everyone should be included in beauty, not just some women who fit into a specific ideal.
Kat says that she was “beyond proud” to have participated in the photoshoot of plus-sized Asian women, which she called “such an important shoot.”
“Plus size Asian women do not get enough airtime yet we are just as valid, relevant and worthy as our fellow counterparts,” says Kat on Instagram.
“Here’s to all the strong, beautiful and intelligent Asian women out there who are not being made visible,” she continued. “WE ARE HERE AND WE DESERVE REPRESENTATION.”
Mina is a personal stylist and body confidence coach. Not only is she plus-sized, she’s also 50 plus.
Mina proves that you can be beautiful no matter what size or age you happen to be.
“Plus Size Asians Exist. We exist in all shapes, sizes and shades.
Such a privilege to be part of an inspiring project. A campaign to highlight lack of representstion (sic) of ASIAN WOMEN in media, fashion, films, TV and books,” Mina posted on Instagram.
'Be Proud Of Who You Are'
The fact that Mina is raising awareness for plus-sized Asian women is a surprise for her.
“Growing up I never imagined that in my 50’s that i would be raising awareness that being Asian and a plus size does exist and is common?” says Mina on Instagram.
“Be proud of who you are believe in what you stand for.. Never let anyone tell you or make you feel you are different ! You have one body learn to love it.”
On Instagram, Simsimma simply chooses to describe herself as, “Just a brown gal after some representation.”
“I’ve spent my entire life being loud and proud about my fat, brown ass and have never really seen myself truly represented in anything and now, FINALLY someone has decided to do something about it,” Simisimma says on her Instagram sharing the amazing photo.
“I’m so proud to be part of this gorgeous project and to have met these inspiring women.”
Simsimma is hopeful that the photo they took will change the way Asian women are looked at.
“Earlier this week, some incredible Asian women and I joined @scarrednotscaredand @lindablacker to show just how beautiful and varied Asian women are, and that we deserve to see ourselves represented in our media, our fashion, our film, tv and books,” says Simsimma.
“Hopefully, change is coming and it’s going to look a whole lot like this.”
Saalene says that she’s often felt left out of her own community because of her size. It’s not just British beauty standards that make her feel bad.
“As an Indian woman I am often looked at by own community as not desirable. Thing is I am. Here’s to sticking two fingers up to any auntie who’s made you feel crap about your looks,” Saalene posted on Instagram.
“Here’s to beautiful women celebrating each other in their own glorious and individual ways.”
Saalene says that the photoshoot took her out of her comfort zones because it was so different for her.
“This photoshoot was a little out of my comfort zone as I’d never really done anything like it before but over the years I’ve realised that the only thing holding me back was me and sometimes doing something a little bit scary allows you to grow,” says Saalene.
“This was an amazing and uplifting experience and I met some wonderful women.”
The photo was (not surprisingly) very well received. The photo ended up going viral.
“Yesterday reminded me why I do this,” wrote Michelle. “When I initially started talking about the lack of plus size Asians, I thought the solution was to go to fashion brands and get them to change.
“After way too many slammed doors in my face, I got really down, angry and frustrated and felt even more alone than I did before but then it occurred to me…”
Force For Good
Michelle realized that it was up to her to create change in the beauty industry.
“Everytime (sic) we have left it to the beauty industry or the fashion industry to make a change, it’s happened at a snails pace and only when it benefits them financially,” she continued.
“But I have the tools myself, the resources and the platform to create the change myself.” The photo proved that they have the power to make an impact on people.
Michelle says that the fact that Asians aren’t seen doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that they’re an ethnic minority.
“Asians make up the largest ethnic minority in the U.K.,” Michelle said. “And the reason why it seems like such a small minority is exactly due to their underrepresentation and the fact that they aren’t seen as much in the media.”
Now, maybe more people will take note that these women should be seen.
Making A Difference
Ultimately, Michelle says that the photo reminded her of her purpose in life in a huge way.
“My voice matters and so does yours! Never let anyone convince you that you don’t matter. And if you feel unheard, get LOUDER,” says Michelle.
We’re waiting to see what these women do next. This photo was stunning and we hope that we see more of this in the future. Once is just not enough when it comes to this.