Full Figure talk with Christa Jenelle

 

christa1
Photography by House of Clem

When did you start modelling, and why?
I remember when I was 15, and went into one of those “Mall Modelling” companies with a huge smile because I was “chosen” out of many different kids for my look. I also remember breaking down in tears because the lady said to me, “It’s so heart-warming to see a plus-size girl so confident in herself and ready to model at your age”. I at 15 and a size SMALL had no idea that I was plus size simply because of my body shape. I was not pencil thin, or a size 0, I was about a 6-8 at that time with a larger bust and hips for a child my age.

This was the moment I realized what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a plus-size model so that other children saw kids my size in the media. This was 7 years ago when the plus-size movement was still very small. Now, although there is more coverage back then there is still a discrepancy in the industry, “vixens” are being portrayed as “plus-size” but that is not a proper depiction of “plus-size”. The idea behind a vixen is a very small waist, no tummy, big bust, big hips/thighs, and that’s NOT what plus-size is. I have a tummy, and bigger arms to go with my bigger bust, and voluptuous thighs, not just the areas that are considered “sexy”. Body diversity is such a major necessity so that children don’t feel the same way I did, so they are proud of their body. We still have a far way to go, because a vixen body type is just as hard to obtain as a size 0, it’s just as stereotypically seen in the media and shown as the “body to have” and no, the body to have is the body YOU have and that’s what people need to begin to see more in the industry.

Being full-figured, was it a struggle to break through the thin-loving modelling world?

Yes, and it’s a never-ending struggle to be honest. No matter how far fuller-figured models get in the industry I don’t feel that we will ever be on the same page as size 0 models. I remember I used to get told if I just lost a little weight id be a “regular” model and would be able to find more work and castings. I had a lot of photographers who’d over-edit my images and make me look pencil-thin like every other model out there. Until I established myself as a happy plus-size model who specifically wanted to show girls that any shape and size can model and be successful, people continued to try and convince me that change and conformity would be the better option.

christa4
Photography by House of Clem

Bad self-esteem and low confidence is a common thing amongst full-figured girls and women due to our media. Do you have any advice on self-love and body acceptance?

Well first I’d like to say that I don’t believe it’s just common amongst full-figured girls. I’ve witnessed bad self-esteem and low confidence from models across the board, all due to the media. Skinny, is never skinny enough you could say. But all women need to know that as long as you love yourself, and you’re healthy being full-figured, was it a struggle to break through the thin-loving modelling world?

Yes, and it’s a never-ending struggle to be honest. No matter how far fuller-figured models get in the industry I don’t feel that we will ever be on the same page as size 0 models. I remember I used to get told if I just lost a little weight id be a “regular” model and would be able to find more work and castings. I had a lot of photographers who’d over-edit my images and make me look pencil-thin like every other model out there. Until I established myself as a happy plus-size model who specifically wanted to show girls that any shape and size can model and be successful, people continued to try and convince me that change and conformity would be the better option.

I once had someone tell me I should lose 100lbs, and that I would be more marketable that way. Well I’m 175lbs. If I weighted 75lbs at 22 years old and 5ft5in, there would be something very unhealthy about me. If you’re healthy and happy, that’s all that matters and don’t have your happiness be determined by the media showing you what you should look like. Because there’s a size 0 model out there just as unhappy as you are, and she is the size you want to be. Size has nothing to do with it, or at least it shouldn’t.

christa
Photography by TPA-Trigger

Why do you think, on 2015, there is still a lack of fuller-figured models being published in high fashion publications?

Although Plus-Size models are trending right now, we still have a long way to go in this industry. It’s going to take a lot more time before full-figured models can be found in every magazine. But we are working toward that goal, and we are getting there, slowly but surely.

What has been your personal best achievement as a model?

This is kind of a “fan-girl” moment but Plus Model Magazine recently reposted one of my images on their Instagram. I don’t know, I felt like I finally was noticed haha. It was one of the happiest moments of my modelling career. They actually addressed me personally because people were commenting and being a bit rude, which is everything they strive to be against. They apologized directly, and it meant the world to me.

You’ve got a beautiful curvy figure. How and where do you shop for clothes that suit your body?

Thank you! I actually don’t shop anywhere special I can fit most large or extra large sizes in most stores. I shop at cheap places like Mandy, Wet Seal, and Forever 21. I like those stores most because the cheap clothing is usually too big and baggy, which I love that look. But also once you throw them in the wash they shrink almost to a perfect fit. So basically two looks in one!

christa5
Photography by M76Photo

 

More and more curvy girls want to get into the modelling industry. What is your advice for aspiring models?

It’s going to be hard! If you have the confidence and strength to get through it you will do amazing. And confidence and strength can come from family, friends, and from within. Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t good enough, or to change your body.

christa2
Photography by TPA-Trigger

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