Friday 22 September 2017

Karen Forde

Karen wears satin dress and coordinating shoes from Karen Millen
Karen wears satin dress and coordinating shoes from Karen Millen

Alison O'Riordan

KAREN FORDE

I am a sexy size 14 with real hips and a bust and I couldn't be happier with my shape. I would absolutely not like to lose weight. I am a curvy model who is consistently modelling fashion. I embrace my body and love my shape.

I focus on eating clean for my future and my energy levels, so I can live the way I want to live. There is far too much misery and objectification already in this world, with the idea of 'full-figured' encompassing negative connotations. It's complete insanity.

I refuse to join that club of body haters. My doctor is delighted with my cholesterol, white blood cell count and blood sugar. My weight is a little over average but, what gives – so are Serena Williams and Brian O'Driscoll. I'm size healthy.

Let's be clear, being underweight is not healthy. Being overweight, if slightly overweight, is not detrimental to health. The concept depends on how overweight a body is.

If medically you are deemed unhealthy due to weight alone then losing pounds becomes necessary for fitness. If tragedy struck and an illness took hold of an individual who was underweight and an individual who was overweight, albeit slightly, the person who has more protection – or fat, in plain terms – around their organs has a better chance of survival.

I have a cult following of more than 2,000 subscribers from all over the world on my social networking page 'Miss Curvy', where I update the plus-size enthusiasts of the world.

There is a huge misconception in the market regarding the term 'plus-size', as it is a size, like any other. Yet, it automatically takes a subsidiary position on our high street.

I don't wear different clothing to slimmer models. I cinch in my waist and I love skinny jeans. Style bypasses size; it is all-encompassing.

I am not a hanger, of course – I have a bust and rounded thighs, but I do not hide my shape. I embody it with suitably unique and structured clothing.

My feeling rests with the fact that if you have confidence, the world is for the taking. We are all beautiful, be it slim or full-figured.

I am not booked for as many fashion shows and photoshoots as skinnier models. This has always been an issue. It is usually a ratio of 6:1. The industry is partly at fault, but the haute couture houses are more to blame as they use a restricted sizing ratio and much younger girls. You need to put it into perspective, be aware and not compare yourself. You will succeed if you believe in your shape.

Society has a lot of pressure from the media and its projected ideals to fully integrate 'size healthy' into the fashion world, but I live in hope.

I want to shop in Topshop, but sizing is atrocious. I want to shop in Karen Millen, but the body shape they use is obviously medieval. So I find online shopping grabs my attention, with Asos.com doing excellent lines. The high street could do with a shake-up and a larger variety.

I know who I want to be, and that girl is Miss Curvy.

Irish Independent

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