I speak with many groups of girls of all ages about body image and self-esteem. I try to teach them the power they have in their hard-earned allowance money — either now or in the future. A lot of that power comes in the form of what magazines and goods they will decide to buy in the future or are currently buying right now. We talk about what silent messages fashion photos can send, what stories a fashion editorial conveys and how girls and teens of all shapes and sizes feel when they are included in fashion or excluded. They learn from me and I learn from them. I am so honoured to hear the intelligent and heartfelt questions and comments during every presentation. They are passionate kids!
In my last few lectures I have had the privilege of discussing a diverse fashion editorial that has just come out in both Elle Canada and Elle Quebec starring two of my models from Ben Barry Agency — 73-year-old stunner Valerie Ramsey and the lovely size 14 Emily Nolan as well as several other amazing models of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnicities. Curvy Canadian Justine Le Gault even landed the cover of Elle Quebec! It was inspired by a fashion diversity research article my business partner Dr. Ben Barry had written last year for Elle Canada that received worldwide attention.
I told one group they could all grow up to be rockin’ grannies not afraid to have gorgeous white hair if they so wished and explained how Valerie had just done a fashion shoot and starred on ET Canada — in her '70s! One girl was so excited that she practically leapt up and yelled,” I saw her on TV! She is so cool! She has the longest white hair! I LOVE her!” I could hardly contain my grin. This girl didn’t see age. She didn’t see limitations. She didn’t see fashion “rules.” She just saw a super cool woman on her TV. Period.
73-year-old Valerie Ramsey in Elle Canada and Elle Quebec
Justine Le Gault for Elle Quebec
I show them that models can come in all shapes and sizes and ages — just like the fact that they and all their friends are different. That they have the power to make change — with a purchase of a magazine with a positive slant, through their hands with what they create be it a diverse drawing, a computer image, a garment, a future magazine spread... their thoughts.
So, I ask you to support magazines like these that are positively trying to change the future fashion landscape for your daughters — and the current one for all of us of all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds. Send them encouragement on social media, fill out a comment on their websites, or better yet, buy one of their magazines and sit down with your daughters (if the fashion and content is age appropriate) for a few minutes to show them how cool diverse beauty is. And then one day it won’t be diverse. It will just be the norm.
All Photos courtesy of Elle Canada and Elle Quebec