When I told people to pitch ideas for the ‘Beauty Issue’, I was flooded with offers from journalists wanting to talk about the latest products, make up and beauty trends. It dawned on me how ironic it was that the idea of ‘beauty’ essentially something that I had always considered more natural is now actually a façade we create for the world and ourselves.
Being ‘beautiful’ apparently comes with it clauses, in order to achieve such a supreme level we must hide what we have with layers of make up, lotions and potions and in some cases even face the surgeons knife. We have to fit into certain societal moulds, ‘the perfect size 10, flawless skin, glossy hair, the ultimate smokey eye and perfectly pouted red lips’.
This idealism isn’t a new thing, every generation and culture has its levels of conformism but with the birth of reality television and everyone entitled to their 15 minutes of fame it seems that we are far more ‘obsessed’ with what is ‘beautiful’ than ever before. It’s practically impossible to open a newspaper without being drawn into a debate on body image be it in terms of size, particular ‘plus size’ or simply appearance. Weekly magazines habitually point out celebrities flaws with hoops of horror and cruel jibes – most claim it’s to make ‘average Jane’ feel better but have we forgotten that despite their entourage celebs are just people too? Does circling their cellulite make you feel better or simply reinforce the notion that having cellulite requires you to carry around a cloak of shame?
We have over the past 7 issues made a point of only shooting industry standard, plus size models, (models size 14+), something we are still extremely proud of, bringing a bit of editorial glamour to the plus size market. It has seen us drawn into debates over ‘the obesity crisis’, ‘promoting obesity’ and defending the Marks and Spencer campaign on Daybreak for their use of a range of models of different sizes, ages and ethnicities. We’ve been accused of using the term ‘real women’ to describe curves – we have categorically never done that – for the simple reason that all women are ‘real women’ no matter what they look like. The divisions we’ve seen the media create amongst women really struck a chord. When we started SLiNK we always said we were plus size bias not centric. Everything we write or do within the magazine isn’t size dependent but we do consider our curvy girls in all our fashion pages. With that idea in mind we decided that the ‘Beauty Issue’ had to have a real message behind it.
We wanted to dedicate this issue to all women as a way of uniting those fractions created by other media titles that try to tell us how to be. We have lost the real message here – that size is not a decider on health and health and happiness is paramount to a little label in the back or your dress.
There was only one way we felt we could do this. Inspired by Dove and Marks and Spencer, we decided to embark on our first ever group shoot. We selected models from a size 8 to a size 16, six key seasonal trends and if you turn over you can see how it turned out.
I think it’s one of our most beautiful stories to date, for the simple reason that it celebrates women, amazing, powerful and all different.
NEW ISSUE OUT NOW… HTTP://WWW.SLINKMAGAZINE.COM/SLINK-SHOP