At the age of 17, Katie Halchishick entered the world of plus-size modeling. Though the industry approved of the weight she gained during her first year of college (the notorious “freshman 20”), Halchishick made a pledge to herself to eat healthier, and, in turn, lost a total of 50 pounds—along with a ton of clients. The formerly plus-size model's new size put her into a category that virtually didn't exist in the modeling industry--sizes 6, 8, and sometimes even 4. Some clients even forced her to wear fat suits, just so her body would fit the industry’s standard measurements for curvier models. Rather than being discouraged, the now 26-year-old model saw this as an opportunity to fill a void. Thus, Natural Model Management was born.
Abiding by the mantra, “healthy is the new skinny,” the newly-founded group represents confident women with a variety of healthy body shapes and sizes. It challenges models to think of eating healthier and working out, not as a means to attain a specific size or number on the scale, but, instead, to take pride in their bodies and become “better versions of themselves.”
Not only is Halchishick the founder of a groundbreaking management group, but she’s also the face of the non-profit school program, “Perfectly UnPerfected,” which speaks to girls to promote a healthy body image and positive relationships with food while they're at a young, pivotal age.
The idea of portraying "real" models is not an entirely new concept. After all, Dove tried to do just that with their Campaign for Real Beauty. Although the campaign was well-intentioned, Halchishick told Fashionista that "it was about real women, but at the same time it wasn’t done in a way that was glamorous or had a level of fashion or beauty or any sort of appeal...It made the ‘real woman’ a negative connotation." In addition, just last year, Vogue Italia ran not one, not two, but three (gasp!) plus-size bombshells on the cover. Though the fight to feature models that real women can actually identify with is far from over, Vogue's bold decision certainly hasn't hurt it.
In a world of "thinspiration" and more-than-generously airbrushed advertisements bombarding us nearly everywhere we turn, Natural Model Management is a refreshing switch and will hopefully be welcomed with open arms by the fashion and modeling industries alike. Check out Halchishick below, as she details her journey with the modeling industry as we know it, the obstacles she faced along the road, her non-profit program "Perfectly UnPerfected," and more, in her feature with ABC News:
Images courtesy of Fashionista, Natural Model Management, and Huffington Post.