Being a model for many years has inevitably gone hand in hand with battling and overcoming continuous hurdles that are related within the fashion industry.
Personally I have struggled an eating disorder and spent the last 25 years in a world full of rejection and criticism. Sounds awesome doesn’t it? Ha! Truth is, once you get to know what your modelling niche is and have regular clients, it’s a great job to have – but it takes time to get there.
One hurdle that particularly perplexes me on a daily basis, is the lack of real pregnant models out there. When a model becomes pregnant, generally her career is over by the time the bump starts to show – and the maternity clothing you see is modelled on a girl with a foam bump.
There is not another job out there with this much discrimination against being pregnant.
Can you imagine losing your job at 16 weeks pregnant in any other profession to be replaced by a fraud? It would be unheard of. This is my third pregnancy and the third time I have technically been made redundant with no pay out package.
I mentioned this on my Instagram a few weeks ago and I couldn’t believe the uproar it caused with so many women. I received many messages from women with utter disgruntlement.
Some women were shocked and disgusted whereas others mentioned how maternity shopping had affected their mental health. Other’s had a sigh of relief as now they knew why they didn’t look like the pregnant models online.
Why aren’t brands using actual real pregnant women? I have bought maternity clothes online myself recently and of course what it looks like on the girl on my screen looks nothing like it should on me. My bump is bigger, I have breasts and a butt. I am a walking talking pregnant person, yet I’m buying clothes off a pretend pregnant person and hoping I’ll look the same as they do. It’s bonkers.
The truth is, these ‘expecting’ models don’t represent the diversity that comes with being pregnant. These models selling maternity clothes are extremely young, and a size 8 with no breasts. And of top of this, perfectly capable models like myself who can model maternity aren’t getting a look in.
Every bump is different, yet we are all buying maternity clothes off one size bump – which isn’t even real.
Brands like ASOS and BooHoo have mentioned they didn’t want to have pregnant models on their feet all day – but I’m calling BS. I have shot with stylists and makeup artists who have worked in a studio environment until they were 36 weeks! Besides, let the model and agent decide if she feels up to the job instead of cutting her out of the equation completely.
I have spoken to photographers, stylist and models about this recently too to see it from their point of view. They have the same verdict as me. Quite frankly ridiculous. I scroll online looking for a nice maternity outfit to wear and come across model friends of mine who are pretending to be pregnant. Knowing they’re not actually pregnant is a massive turn off for me. It’s like trying to shop for something fake.
Brands will continue to use a foam bump, but I think there should be a disclaimer mentioning this so the consumer is aware. When you shop for non maternity clothes, there is usually a disclaimer mentioning the models height and what size dress she is wearing, so why not do the same with maternity?
The main reason I wanted to write this piece is because I want pregnant women who are shopping online to know that their bump and body is perfect.
If you feel like you don’t look like the models you are being subject to whilst shopping online – that’s because the ‘perfect pregnancy bump’ you see is in fact foam.
Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts and spread the word!