“We are not dummies, we are women.” What a bold statement. It comes from someone who is not afraid to speak her mind on the state of body image in the world.
Italian plus size model Elisa D’Ospina is someone who believes that the above statement suggests a clear message: that women should embrace who they are and not feel like they have to be a size zero to be a successful model in the industry. She strives to make a positive impact in an industry that is plagued with eating disorders, low self esteem and negative body image.
We spoke to Elisa about her latest involvement in Miss Italia 2013, where she acted as a mentor for a few young curvy women who entered the competition.
What was your involvement with Miss Italia 2013?
At Miss Italia 2013, I was the godmother of the band, Miss Soft Shapes. I joined the patron of the competition, looking for a girl who could represent the curvy world in a national beauty contest.
Who were the models you brought to the competition? Where did they rank? Did any of them win?
The girls who participated in the selections were average women, not models. Some would have liked to pursue a career as a curvy model and by competing in Miss Italia 2013, it was their first experience in modeling. In Rome this past September, we held a big casting and selected eight girls who went forward to the pre-finals of the competition. I mentored them for a whole day, to show them how it feels to be a model for a day. We did not have size limits. The chosen girls were from sizes 44 to 48 (US 10-14).
What do you think has come from this experience? Was it a positive one?
Since September, I have had a curvy segment on a TV show and I have received letters from women who tell me that they are happy that finally curves are being recognized. We exist and it is right that our voice is heard. I think it is important that a national beauty contest has this initiative. It ‘s a way to grow even at a cultural level. And above all, to abolish discrimination, evil in our society.
Since 2007, I have been speaking at schools about body confidence. It ‘a long path, especially in Italy where the thinness in certain areas dominates. The curvy world is slowly making its way, but we want to speak mainly of health. We can not force girls to slim down to chase the dream of modeling. Unfortunately, even today, there are those who force them to this.
Kudos to Elisa for inspiring young women to realize their modeling dreams no matter what their size and working towards helping women in general to love themselves and be confident no matter what.
Here’s some images from Miss Italia 2013 (click on the picture to full size):