This is one of the most compelling interviews I've ever read on this site. I already admired the Queen Grace collection for the beauty of the clothing and for the fact that it featured Kelsey in its look book, and had both Kelsey and Katherine on the runway, but reading about Ms. Zelner's passion for her endeavour and her unwavering commitment to her customers makes me even more supportive of her line. In Marina, I think we have a champion of plus-size beauty like none other.
But "shocking and appalling" is right. As I was reading the interview, I knew instantly which revelation was meant. It angered more than I can say; more than just about anything I've ever read anywhere:
MARINA: I had an experience where we hired a model—and you know, we’re not going to name any names—
HSG: Of course.
MARINA: —but it was a big, big agency. And we saw the photographs, the portfolio that was sent to us. She was a beautiful, voluptuous woman. When she showed up—we have sample 16—and we started trying it on her, and we couldn’t believe what was happening. Well, she lost 45 pounds.
HSG: [aghast] Oh, my God.
MARINA: And we felt horrible for her, but the bottom line is, I cannot use these images. This is not a true representation of what my brand is all about, which is empowering beautiful, curvy, sophisticated women. And she shared with me that her agent actually suggested that she should be losing weight—she’s going to get more bookings.
HSG: Oh, my God.
MARINA: Yeah, it’s very frustrating. But it’s still out there. It still exists.
HSG: That’s so appalling.
MARINA: Absolutely. I felt the same way about it
I wanted to shout at someone when I read this. I can't believe that a agent for a plus-size model
-- someone who is supposed to be supporting
size celebration, who is supposed to be promoting
the use of fuller-figured models -- would tell a model to diminish herself!
That agent basically set out to destroy plus-size beauty; to eliminate a classically curvaceous figure.
There are so few gorgeous and genuinely full-figured models in the industry anyway, and he/she just ruined one of them.
This is worse than anything even an Anna Wintour or a straight-size designer could do. Those people merely affect the minus-size industry. But this agent actually sabotaged the plus-size movement, by eliminating a true plus-size model and turning her into another faux-plus fraud.
Here's the link to the audio of that passage. It makes me livid:
All I can say is, thank goodness Marina realized that she couldn't use these images, and decided to use Kelsey instead:
MARINA: We’re not going to compromise our principles and our belief that a beautiful, curvy model can communicate the right message to the customers out there and present it the right way.
Bravo! If only more plus-size labels would display this kind of pro-curvy commitment to their customers, the movement would actually advance.
I just dread to think of all of the companies that, when faced with a model so badly diminished from her plus-size self, would still use her images. The fact that Marina resolved not
to be a party to such deception makes me want to support Queen Grace that much more.