ModelManagement: What encouraged you to start your own blog?
Chantal Peterson: There is a specific quality of beauty that radiates from a person who loves and respects herself. This radiance emanates through the eyes, the skin, the voice – its more that physical beauty. An interest in modeling began for me once I started to see this radiance in myself, to love myself and accept my body in its unique and curvaceous shape. Confidence is an incredibly beautiful quality in a person. I have had an interest in modeling since I was a teenager, but the desire to pursue it professionally reemerged with the immense growth in demand for “plus-size” models (a term which actually refers to average size women) in the industry. The big shifts taking place in the fashion industry in this regard are what have inspired me to start my blog, The Grand Orange. I am very excited about the way perceptions of female beauty are changing and what it means for women in regards to their self-confidence and capacity for self-love.
ModelManagement: Tell us more about your blog… What do you want your readers to take away from it?
Chantal Peterson: I struggled for years with my own body image, despite having always been told I was beautiful, and the insecurities I developed as a result held me back from exploring many relationships and experiences that I’d wished I had. After a long journey of self-inquiry and healing work, I have emerged from this process (always on-going!) as a woman empowered by true self love for my mind, body and spirit. The force of what I call BodyLove inspired me to start the blog, The Grand Orange. My blog is a venue for all things BodyLove: I talk about the new perceptions, trends and transformations taking place in society with regard to the way women, beauty and female power are portrayed in the media, and in fashion. I love to see the growing numbers of fashion models who represent the diversity in body size and shape. I am interested in debunking the idea that thin=beautiful. I question if a standard blueprint for “beauty” exists at all! I hope that my blog inspired readers themselves to become interested in what the extraordinary power of a culture of women who love themselves and respect their bodies can do for our global society.
ModelManagement: Are you seeing an increase in work opportunities for curvy models?
Chantal Peterson: There are many plus size modeling agencies out there now as well as many new designers cropping up who cater specifically to curvy women, generally sizes 10 and up. We are also seeing many large name brands such as H&M and Ralph Lauren expanding their size range to include sizes 12 and up as well as using larger models in their advertising campaigns. (For example: Jennie Runk for H&M and Robin Lawley for Ralph Lauren). So, yes, work for curvy models is definitely on the rise! I have also seen plus modeling jobs on ModelManagement.com and always look into them and apply if it’s a fit.
ModelManagement: Do you think curvy and healthy looking models will replace the size zero models in the future?
Chantal Peterson: I think its important to point out that all of the plus models I have heard from and read about say that that they simply refer to themselves as “models” and that the term “plus” is simply a label the industry still uses but which means little to them as women and as professionals. But by and large I see a positive trend in the industry as it opens its doors more and more to representing the full spectrum of female beauty out there. So I don’t think there is any reason to ask the industry to replace size zero models with size 12 models. After all, the whole point is to include models of ALL sizes, and certainly thin women should continue to be represented in fashion as well. That said, there is without a doubt and huge trend toward using more healthy-looking and full-figured models in fashion and media.
ModelManagement: What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?
Chantal Peterson: Five years from now, I would like to be doing public speaking events all over the world, spreading the message of the power of loving and respecting ones body. I'd like to grow my website into an online publication and retail venue which serves the dual purpose of providing great relevant content for women to help empower them to love and accept their bodies as well as showcase fashion-forward products that work well for curvy women. I want to continue to grow the conversation about Body Love, healthy body image, and fashion equality. Eventually I’d like to design my own clothing line that caters to women of all sizes. As I mentioned, I’m particularly passionate about sports wear (sports bras), lingerie and swimwear since it is so hard to find great fitting pieces that look great. Women with curves have had to struggle and be extra creative to find great clothing that works. This is not because its hard to make bigger women look amazing, but because there have traditionally been so few brands which provide great options. I want to change that. There is so much power inside of us that is waiting to emerge in this world, and unlocking the key to self love is the cornerstone.
For the full interview about BodyLove in the modeling industry, go to: http://bit.ly/ChantalPeterson