Kicking off our Anti-Bullying campaign this week is size 16 model, Hayley, sharing her life-changing experiences and why she believes clothes size should not define us
‘Anti-bullying is something very dear to my heart. I believe it’s so important to share our own personal stories so others will know they’re not alone. And also share a few tips on how to stand strong and be confident.
Growing up I strived to be different, to be an individual and to stand on my own. I found my confidence in allowing fashion to guide my self-love towards my body image. Although there were many times I was challenged not only by society’s standard of beauty but by the fashion industry’s idea of size inclusivity.
As a teenager I heard words of hate towards my body – words that made me walk away from taking part in important life experiences, such as leaving my swim team. And these hateful words forced me to keep to quiet about what I was feeling. Fortunately though, over the years I grew strong, thanks to working in the plus size industry and seeing at a young age that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes.
So fast forward to today and if I’m put down because of my body it only gives me a sense of ammunition to love myself even more. These days I can shy away from the hateful words I may receive about my size but I can’t shy away from not feeling that my size is represented in fashion. Walking into a store today, even for myself as a size 16, I know I’m going to run into that one sales employee who looks down on me because I’m asking for a bigger size. It is absolutely mortifying and I always say the fight for curve is just another fight for equality for all. We need to lift up one another, congratulate ourselves for being unique and learn from the differences we all have. There is a beauty in taking ownership of our individuality.
Don’t ever let someone make you feel less because you are you. You have so much to give to this world and your body should not define you. But hey if it did, we’d all just think, ‘Dang that girl is sexy’