'Imagination will take you everywhere'
I’m certain I could hear a roar of delight as the January edition of British Vogue landed with a thud through subscribers’ letter boxes – I certainly cheered. The covergirl … (sharp intake of breath)… possessed more than a bag of bones – in fact the model is a normal size. Shock horror! What is the fashion world coming to? Finally after decades of magazine covers plastered with stick thin, boney, unhealthy and unsuitable role models, Vogue is leading the fashion pack with the introduction of the most beautiful, healthy, and womanly model of them all.
Let me introduce you to Kate. And I’m not talking about the Moss, or the Middleton – far from it. Kate Upton is the latest woman whose sultry gaze will be staring at you from the News Agents’ shelves. But it’s not her soft blonde waves that will draw your attention, or her Cindy Crawford-esque mole; it’s her wholesome, full figure clad in a fitted white Azzedine Alaia dress. Upton is a UK size 12 and proud of it. Born in Michigan, she grew up in Florida with her siblings, on a farm with plenty of land, she describes her childhood as ‘very family orientated and outdoorsy’. Her passion as a girl was always horse riding (she has five world titles to her name), it was at a horse show when she was 12 years old that the modelling world collided with her own; she was scouted and so began a career that would see her grace the covers of Sports Illustrated, American and Italian Vogue, appear on The Late Show with David Letterman and play a racy nun in the Farrelly brothers’ The Three Stooges. Her curves are most famous in America where she is a well-known swimwear model.
Upton is now part of the rise of wholesome, full figures promoting a healthier look. She has joined models such as, Miranda Kerr, Lara Stone and Doutzen Kroes – all of which began modelling commercially and have since conquered the fashion industry (an incredibly difficult feat). Upton’s arrival on the pages of Vogue couldn’t have come at a better time; in May 2012, the 19 international editors of Vogue announced the Health Initiative, a pact made to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the fashion industry. Most importantly the pact included a ban on models under the age of 16 and encouraged designers to consider the consequences of creating the tiny sample sizes of their clothing. When asked about her view on the unnaturally small sample sizes, Upton replies maturely, ‘I’m sure every designer has a certain person in mind who they would ideally like to wear their clothes, but the problem is that a lot of the time that person doesn’t actually exist, unless she is a 15-year-old model.’ Upton’s dream isn’t to appear on a high fashion advertising campaign, be the face of a fragrance, or to open a show at Paris Fashion Week.
Her dream was always to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, a feat which she’s already completed, now she’s ‘really enjoying finding out more about the fashion industry.’ She says she’s not sure about her next goal, ‘but it’s a fun journey’. Upton’s clearly enjoying being the next darling of fashion; hopefully she’ll be a healthy role model for body conscious young women around the globe. Proving that big can be beautiful.
I applaud Vogue for addressing such a controversial topic within society in regard to the Health Initiative. However I still see stick thin models plastered over the pages of Vogue and many more top fashion magazines. Let Upton’s recognition and beauty be a warning to them all: this is only the beginning.