Louise O'Reilly on body confidence: 'Being a size 22 and having nothing to wear as a teen was hard'
Louise O'Reilly is one of Ireland's top models, she's a champion of body confidence and a blogger whose influence goes well beyond our shores.
But, like the rest of us us, growing up wasn't that easy, especially when she struggled with her weight as a teenager. At a size 16, she's Ireland's most in-demand plus size model, a tag she thinks is essential for the modern day fashion industry.
"When I was growing up I was much heavier, I was about a size 22 and having that feeling of being a teenager when you’re bigger and not having anything to wear is hard," she told Irish Country Magazine.
“The industry is so different now to what it was. I used to have to wear tracksuit pants and baggy clothes and I was never able to wear what my friends wore and that was horrible.
"That’s a feeling that will never leave me. But what people don’t understand is that getting rid of the term plus size would be a step back for the fashion industry.
"So while it’s still debated, it’s still really important to have that term because brands are being pushed by the way the industry is going.
"They're being influenced by plus-size bloggers, influenced by the community and if we get rid of that, it would be a step back and retailers might not feel the need any more to be inclusive."
The 27-year-old from Dublin said it's "important to keep going in the direction" in offering more style selection on the high street.
"I’m really so proud to be representing the plus-size community and when you take it as a whole umbrella, it represents so many different things and represents women who for so many years were marginalised in society.
"It would be lovely to see a brand on the high street, any of the ones that go from an eight, to say a 22; it would be lovely to see them go for diversity, whether that's age or ethnicity or size in their main campaign - not just a once-off or for a special line."
Irish Country Magazine is on shelves now