You Go Kate Upton!

November 5th, 2012

I, like many, have been a fan of Kate since she started as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie 2 years ago.  I've supported her in the fashion arena not only for the obvious reasons such as great looks and an infections personality, but also because she represents a significant step forward in the march towards a healthy body image for young women and especially aspiring models.

One after another, Kate has landed covers and ad campaigns for various high profile clients, and has served as a perfect example for me to reference when speaking to hopeful models who are worried or discouraged about their body type. So when she was not only booked for a spread in the November issue of Vogue, but also Vogue Italia as well as landing the cover (shot by none other than Steven Meisel himself), I was standing and applauding both Kate and the Vogue editors for their decision.  If anything will put a definite end to the treacherous notion that one has to be a stick figure to be a successful model in fashion, this will.  I'll also note that Kate's beauty cover shot for Vogue Italia was shot in bright sunlight, and is normally considered poor technique, albeit highly discouraged in photography.  I love to see rules broken.

In May 2012, Vogue released it's new Health Initiative, a six point pledge agreed upon by all 19 Vogue editors-in-cheif which includes doctrines such as not working with models who appear to have eating disorders, are underage and for fashion designers to not use unrealistically small sample sizes in their clothing to be photographed.   It's not to suggest that naturally thin models will be discriminated against, rather average-sized models will not have to feel pressured to become thin and therefore unhealthy for their natural body type in order to get work.  Including Kate for the November issues is proof-positive that the initiative is being invoked and that a normal, healthy body image is not only beautiful, but achievable.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard from models that they "weren't skinny enough" or "they said I needed to lose more weight" to a girl who is already a size 2.   Now, with the efforts of the CDFA, Britain's British Fashion Council, more publications following suit and even the country of Israel passing a law to ban underweight models, we hopefully won't be hearing those discouraging comments from models much longer.  As a photographer in the fashion field, I've often said there is a job out there for all body types, and even been the voice of reason many times to girls asking me my opinion of their physique.  Now, I can just pick up the finest fashion magazines off the shelf, and say, "Here, see for yourself.  She's a size 6.".    I hope that this industry-wide push for a healthy body image will encourage more model-hopefuls to pursue their ambitions, if they so choose.   Now, if the industry can just work on that height-thing...