Excerpt from article by Chelsea Bonner
I began working as an agent in my mum’s own model agency in Noosa when I was 16. I became a junior booker at a top model agency in Melbourne when I was 19 and by 21, I was running their commercial division.
Around that time I noticed that ‘plus size’ clients only used older mumsy models. As a young fashionable size 14, I couldn’t identify with those models, so I asked my boss if he would put me on the books as a plus size model. Within a short period of time, I was modelling all over Australia and internationally.
However it was only when my own sister began a five-year battle with anorexia and bulimia that I realised what I was a part of and how it affected women, not just in the industry, but every women who saw these images.
In the worst grip of her illness, my sister at 5’7 and 45 kilos looked me dead in the eye and said she would kill herself if she was as big as me at size 14.
It wasn’t long after that that I had my epiphany. I could combine all my knowledge as an agent and a model and focus it on helping women, by changing the perception of beauty, to help to redefine what was considered attractive and fashionable.
And so I started BELLA, a fashion model agency for healthy, realistic sized models starting from a size 10 and ending at what we considered a maximum healthy weight was for each individual model, normally a size 16. The term plus size is a way