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Katie Willcox: From a Curve Model to a CEO and Motivational Speaker

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We now live in a world of glamour travel bloggers and fitspo images. While we are all for glamour in all parts of your life, a lot of these images are clouding the brains of young women who are growing up to believe that the only way to be beautiful and successful is to be what they perceive on Instagram. And if you’re not a size 2 woman with long hair and a large butt who dresses in tight clothing, you may never get to be popular or be loved.

Luckily, through these movements emerged a counter movement: the movement of self-love. Influencers such as Sophie Gray (of @WayofGray) are spreading the word that there’s more to the woman than the bikini body. And women like Katie Willcox are taking it up even another notch!

Katie Willcox is a curvy model, founder of Natural Model Management (a top West Coast agency for curve models), and author of the book “Healthy is the New Skinny.” She is an advocate for women of all sizes, mothers and non-mothers alike, and overall voice for those who need to hear that they are fine just the way they are.

We asked Katie about how addresses her audience about the fitspo movement, how she took her time to lose the baby weight, and how the world of modeling is changing because of Instagram.

Q&A with Katie Willcox

You used to be a plus-sized model and now you’re a size 10. When you dropped the weight, how did people treat you differently as a model?

I went from a size 14 to a size 6. It was really interesting to see how differently I was treated in general. Men would offer to get my bags and hold doors open that never would have treated me that way when I was heavier. As far as the industry goes, it is important to realize that I was a plus size model at a size 6 and a 14! I could never get my hips small enough to meet the standards of straight size models. After realizing that, I stopped trying to force my body to be something it is not and I settled at my healthy size that is a 10.

I do remember one day going to a shoot in NYC and walking on set and the makeup artist said, “Oh thank God it is you. The call sheet said we had a plus model and I thought “Oh God, what cow is going to come through those doors that I have to make beautiful. But you aren’t even plus!” Yes, that happened. That was a long time ago now and things are getting so much better, but there is still a strange stigma lingering in the industry that doesn’t view models with curves as real models.

You are now the co-founder (with your husband) of Natural Model Management, the top West Coast agency for curve models. Have you seen a change in demand for women of different sizes and less drastic sizes (large and small) since the rise of Instagram?

Yes we have! Instagram has been a game changer in more ways than one. Not only are you seeing unconventional beauty being featured, but also size and height requirements have loosened up. If a model has a following on their own, it shows that they have an audience, which is attractive to advertisers. That alone has changed the game and allowed people to create their own platform and success, but we are still pushing for the in-between sizes to get more opportunities.

When it comes to size, the problem has been that anyone over the model size 0-4 is in the plus size category. Plus size retailers have been much better about including a large range of models when it comes to size but we haven’t really seen that same effort from mainstream fashion advertisers. If we don’t want size to be a focus, then we should see models who are sizes 0-12 modeling for the standard size range vs. in the plus size category. If we can do that, then everyone will be represented in a more realistic light when it comes to body size and what clothing really looks like on women, straight size, plus size, and everything in between.


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