I was asked this week what I thought of the term 'plus size'. It's a tough one, as someone who works in the 'plus size' fashion industry, I'm acutely aware that, just as straight size models represent a tiny proportion of straight sized women, the plus size industry is stuck in the same conundrum.
When I last wrote on here and harped on about how finding fashion editorial models above a size 18 was a near impossibility, there was a mixture of sympathetic nods and total disbelief.
The situation hasn't altered, but as I always said, if the right shoot came along and the model/woman was larger than those I have to choose from at an agency I wouldn't say no based on size. I only reject a submission because the look doesn't fit the style or design ethos of Slink.
So when just before Christmas, a new submission popped into my inbox I opened it, reluctantly and quite frankly with a certain level of fear. The history of us using submissions is very low as there is always an element, be it styling, make-up or photography, that doesn't quite sit right. However this shoot was right on the money.
The colours popped, the theme of pill-popping and placebo sat perfectly with the idea of the 'The Health Issue' and the woman in the shots was gorgeous. What pleased me more was that someone had finally shot someone above a UK16 and done a thoroughly good job. It was a leap away artistically from what we've published before but visually stunning.
When I realised the pictures were of celebrity make-up artist and muse to David LaChapelle, Priscilla Ono, I knew that not only would she make a great magazine spread, but we had to have an interview with her.
My friends often ask me how I feel about working with 'skinny models' so often and whether it depresses me, so I was keen to hear how Priscilla kept her confidence levels high when working with some of the world's biggest stars.
"At first being around so many body-conscious individuals was a little intimidating, but over time I learned to embrace it. I definitely think I teach my clients that you can look amazing at any size. One of my clients/good friend Amber Rose always tells me how much confidence I exude with my fashion and says everyone should learn from it."
I also really loved her attitude towards health and her body... "Being healthy is something that's very important to me, especially because people like to stereotype that being plus size is not healthy! I’m healthier then some of my younger/skinnier friends!" Which only reinforces the message of health at every size that we continuously try and put out there. I just wonder how we can top this shoot next time!
Slink magazine issue 9 is out now - find out more at slinkmagazine.com