The modelling industry is competitive and cutthroat. It’s infamously associated with unrealistic expectations and gruelling demands, and trends in the modelling world shift just as fast as fashion. The ‘ideal’ look is anything but constant, and despite the fact that the average Australian woman is a Size 12, most labels send Size 6 garments down the runway.
There is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ body or the ‘ideal’ look, yet brands market their ‘ideal’ customer through the models they use and the campaigns they create, and more often than not, they are entirely unrealistic.
But, there are a select few who are challenging the stereotypes and creating a future where only a positive body image exists, and it’s a long-awaited revolution. France has introduced a legal BMI standard for runway models, Vogue now refuses to employ models under the age of 16, and Getty has banned photo-shopped images which alter a model’s size or shape. Hallelujah.
Down under, WINK Models is leading the charge with their latest campaign, #DiverseTalentMatters. We aren’t a nation of Size 6 blue-eyed blondes; we’re a nation of different sizes, different ethnicities and different ages, and the media we see and hear should reflect that.
The average Australian age is now 38 rather than 28, but does our advertising reflect the ageing population? 49 per cent of us were either born overseas or have a parent born abroad, but is our multiculturalism often pictured? Same-sex couples are up 81 per cent from ten years ago but do our TV screens and billboards echo that? While many mainstream media outlets are yet to cotton on to what real people actually look like, WINK Models have, and they unabashedly embrace it.
2017 marks their tenth birthday too, and it’s a transformative milestone. With age comes confidence, with confidence comes a voice, and WINK has undoubtedly found theirs. They represent the talent that represents society. They represent the ‘traditional’ model, as well as handsome men who happen to have a disability, and they represent size 18s and the 60-year-old gentleman. They represent diversity.
WINK’s Managing Director, Sage Greenwood, naturally backs the WINK ethos, but she knows we still have a long way to go. She also believes that the true meaning of ‘beauty’ has nothing to do with looks, but rather the X-factor – that ‘something special’ that draws people in; a warmth and charisma.
“The Australian industry has come a long way in terms of embracing diverse talent and using more diverse faces in advertising. I started out in the industry almost 15 years ago now, and it really has come in leaps and bounds. I think the commercial modelling world has embraced authenticity and relatable talent really well, although there’s still a long way to go, especially regarding the representation of different sexual preferences and physical abilities. We’re now seeing brands like Target use disabled models in their campaigns in an authentic way, not in a contrived or ‘trying to the boxes' kind of way.”
And although global advertising campaigns are slowly becoming more diverse, it’s something WINK always has, and always will, stand for.
“In 2015, we created a campaign called #BackYourself that was based on the principles of women believing in themselves and being self-confident. We found that self-confidence was an issue, not just within our industry but also society, and it needed some highlighting and emphasising. The campaign saw a range of women playing different sports and having positive self-talk. We saw such a great response to the campaign and so many women embraced the movement. Too often it’s accepted that we put ourselves down, and compare ourselves to others, rather than championing what we can do and can achieve. It was such a fun campaign to be a part of. We also worked alongside Unilever last year to put together a TV commercial for one of their toothpaste brands. It depicted the A-Z of intimacy, with each letter representing a different couple. Each couple was different in terms of sexual orientation, ethnicity and age, and all of the models were WINK models. The final piece was a really beautiful representation of all types of couples in society. We were all very proud to work on something that sends such a positive message.”
Following suit, #DiverseTalentMatters is the latest goose-bump-giving film from WINK Models, and it reiterates the fact that every body is beautiful.
The Fashion Advocate x