© Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show 2015
Featuring Mo Ruth McTiernan
GUCFS will be running an on-going campaign that recognises the importance of balancing out the different aspects of your everyday life, whilst maintaining the most important thing: your health.
We are also very proud to be including pieces that take a stance against the stereotypes of the fashion industry. GUCFS is a firm believer in loving the body that you are in, and that the industry is in need of some positive changes. Overall, we are proud to include this piece to our blog; taking both a stance against body shaming, and bringing forward a topic in need of much discussion.
We hope that this feature will provide information on the importance of finding time to take care of yourself both mentally and physically, whether this be through keeping active or making time to relax and enjoy yourself. Secondly, we wish to emphasise that the fashion industry should be a place of complete inclusivity, celebrating our differences, and providing those involved with a healthy mind set.
Our first interviewee is Mo Ruth McTiernan, who is discussing with us her experience with the modelling industry, and her personal journey into the Curve Modelling scene. Mo is a graduate from the University of Glasgow, a former GUCFS committee member, and is currently a professional model.
How did you get into modelling?
I started modelling over two years ago. I had always dreamt of being a model and was obsessed with Rosie Huntington Whitely. When I first thought about modelling I had a really unhealthy mindset towards it. I wanted to be a straight size model (size 8 and below). My body is not built to be that size and I restricted myself so much to try and reach it. I would constantly check model's measurements and measure myself daily, count calories, work out obsessively to try and be the same size as them. I hid this from my family and friends and when it started to take over my life it, this problem became very obvious. With support from them I got better and started to live a healthier lifestyle. Modelling was still a dream of mine and it was a few years later when I had the courage to do something about it. In 2014, I was interning in New York and secretly went over to try out modelling. I was there for 3 months and in my last week I reached out to a photographer on Instagram. We shot together and he taught me all the ins and outs of modelling and helped me see myself as a curve model. I sent an email to an agency in Glasgow when I returned and was signed. I embraced my shape and I now work as a curve model. It has taken me a while to accept my size as a size 12 and direction as a model. However, I now feel like I am finally at a place where I am happy with myself. I've worked with some amazing photographers and will be returning to London next year to meet with a top agency, so fingers crossed! You really need to work with people who can guide you and I'm lucky that I have found some awesome people to help me in this industry. I also started my project, I AM CURVE, and use my Instagram to promote body positivity and to call for more diversity.
What was the industry like when you first started?
I was naive when I first started. I thought that I'd be picked up by an agency in London/NYC straight away! The industry is very cut-throat and you have to be determined to succeed. You have to be proactive, build relationships, constantly be shooting, arranging art talent, submitting editorials and promoting yourself on social media. Scotland is a wonderful place to start as there are so many amazing creatives and there is a real sense of community here. I have made many friends in the industry and created wonderful projects with them. However, there is a clear lack of diversity. This is what my project will address.
Can you tell us what curve modelling is and what inspired you to move into it?
Curve modelling is basically a model who is larger than sample sizes (size 8 below). Curve modelling encompasses so many different sizes and represents a more diverse range of beauty in terms of body shapes. I am a size 12 and curve, Tess Holliday is a 22 and is curve. I was never really aware of the curve industry until I started to use Instagram. I first came across Robyn Lawley and was stunned at how successful she was and what she was promoting. I then discovered that top agencies (Milk, Models1, IMG, Muse & Jag) have curve boards and I aspire to be on them! I want to model for a purpose and that purpose is to inspire others to achieve their dreams; but also to help them have a healthier mindset towards themselves and to feel beautiful no matter what size.
Tell us a bit about the project you are working on?
I first started to use Instagram to promote body positivity and post candid shots of my modelling and the challenges I face. I was reflecting on the Scottish industry and realised that there is such a lack of representation of curve models. When I attend castings or jobs I was always feel petrified the night before that they wouldn't have my size in clothing. I felt it was a need to notify a photographer that I had not worked with before that I was a size 12. Sometimes this was an issue, but most of the time photographers really appreciate what I represent. I AM CURVE is an article highlighting the lack of diversity and call for the industry to follow the likes of London, New York and Australia. The article has been picked up by national press and I am really excited about the direction of it. I am going to be interviewed on STV Glasgow and BBC Radio Scotland to raise more awareness. I have a really exciting lingerie editorial planned that features a Scottish team and designer. We are going to do something completely different - this shoot will definitely be a statement. I will be launching a website very shortly which will feature all my projects and will post more articles on this subject.
What are some of the biggest changes you've seen in the fashion and modelling industries?
The biggest change I have seen is Paris passing a law that does not allow models under a certain BMI to take part in Paris Fashion Week. In terms of curve modelling, many models have become famous because of Instagram. Iskra Lawrence has a massive following, as does Denise Bidot and Barbie Ferreira who is killin it right now! Also, Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley featuring in Sports Illustrated was incredible and Calvin Klein casting curve models for their lingerie campaigns was a massive turning point. These women are breaking boundaries and becoming supermodels.
I have really been inspired by the All Woman Project that was launched on Instagram a few months ago. The project focuses on all body types and calls for diversity. It also calls for straight and curve models to be regarded as the same. Another project is the Straight/Curve film which will be launched early next year and will highlight the discrimination against curve models. This film is a bit different as it will interview model bookers, designers, models, casting directors and journalists to see why we are so fixated on straight size models and why curve models are lagging behind in the industry.
What are some of the changes that you feel still need to be addressed?
The above projects I've mentioned are universal because of social media and film; however, the majority of it is based in London and New York. Scotland is not following and that is why I have written my article. I want to raise awareness of this issue and to question the modelling industry. Why are the power capitals of fashion open to diversity, but Scotland is not?
Have you found that curve modelling has helped with your mental wellness?
Yes! I had a very unhealthy attitude towards myself before I discovered curve modelling. It has given me confidence and the drive to help others who feel or have felt the same as I did. Society is very visually orientated and looks play a major role in everyday life. We are bombarded with images of perfection and feel like we are not good enough if we don't strive to look the same. If we stop caring so much about appearance or focusing so much attention in being 'beautiful', the constant critique of yourself will disappear. The satisfaction gained from posting a flawless selfie or feeling you look like all the edited images is very limited. However, the satisfaction of being comfortable with who you are and embracing your beauty is continuous.
What does keeping healthy mean to you?
Healthy for me is being happy. Happy in the inside and outside. If you think positively it radiates and can really influence your goals in life and perception of yourself.
How do you balance out your working life and social life?
I am very determined so I suppose any spare time I have is always focused on my next project. I am very proactive and if I have a day off I always reflect and think about what I could have done. Taking time out is important and something I need to learn how to do! However, my friends are wonderful and help me if I get overwhelmed with work.
I graduated this year and ever since school I've been interning/working/studying so now it is amazing to have time to focus on what I want to do. I have achieved so much in the past 6 weeks that I have purely focused on modelling so I am excited to see what happens next year!
Any advice for girls who are wanting to get involved in the modelling industry or specifically curve modelling?
Be fearless and have belief. Belief held me back as I didn't think I could do it. How can someone else believe in you if you don't? You will always have doubts, but negativity and criticising yourself will not help you advance. Surround yourself with people who support you and be patient! I am the most impatient person ever, but I have learnt it is so important to have this quality in the creative industry. Lastly, don't be scared of rejection. Rejection just leads to other paths and it will always be an aspect of the creative industry. Knowing how to handle it will make you come out the other end better than when you went in!
To find out more about Mo's project I AM CURVE and her work follow her instagram: @morganruthmctiernan , or click the link: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion-beauty/im-size-12-people-say-9181258