“The Barriers Are Being Lifted” Our Interview with Australian Plus Size Model Jessica Leahy

Maddy: How long have you been modeling?

Jessica: I’ve been modeling since I was 19 years old.

Maddy: Where were you born?

Jessica: I was born in Sydney, Australia.

Maddy: How did you get started in the modeling industry?

Jessica: I got started through a modeling competition that my aunt had tried to get me to enter. I wasn’t really interested, but my aunty persisted and eventually I entered, after the competition was over I didn’t win. A few days later the agency offering the contract said they had received my pictures and wanted to sign me. I’ve been modeling ever since.

Maddy: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Jessica: Inquisitive. Spirited. Blessed.

Maddy: Plus size models in Australia are doing really great things, how did you come to love your body?

Jessica: Plus models in Australia are kicking “azz” at the moment, I’m so proud to be a part of it and call many of these girls friends. Changes in the fashion industry need to be made and mindsets need to be adjusted. When I see a plus model, especially an Aussie, getting a great campaign or walking in a great show I feel so pleased because I know that the barriers are being shifted. I know that in a few years these beauty hurdles put up by the media and the fashion industry that make women feel so inadequate and drive people to lead unhealthy lifestyles are going to seem so ridiculous. Because of the kind of work plus models in Australia, and the world are now doing, people are really beginning to seriously question how the fashion industry and media could ever allow such a narrow portrayal of beauty and health.

Like so many women, at times I have suffered from the pressure to look and be a certain way. Like most people, I’ve had moments where I’m not happy with the way I might look, but I don’t really allow myself to wallow in those thoughts. I realize I have been so very blessed to have a body that functions, that is healthy and I just revel in that fortune rather than worry about the size of my thighs. After a while of focusing on the positives the negatives seem to matter far less. I am indebted to nature for the body I was given and I’d be a fool not to love and nurture it because it’s the only one I’ll ever get.

Go to PLUS Model Magazine to read more about Jessica.

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