She had a blossoming career in plus size modeling, but Katie Willcox says the industry does not come as advertised.
“I was programmed to feel lesser than because I was a woman, and I was larger than the image of beauty we are sold.”
Entrenched in a mix of emotions – mostly emptiness, unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment, the budding model left a career on the rise and embraced a new mission of creating a body positive platform and brand through her company, Healthy is the New Skinny.
“People view the industry from how it is portrayed in the media. America’s Next Top Model is what set it off for me as a young girl. It looked so glamorous and fun but I quickly learned that there is much more to the industry than living a life of glamour and happiness. There are so many standards to meet that seem to be nearly unattainable. There were points where I was both deemed too large for straight-sized modeling and too small for plus-sized modeling. It became difficult to find a healthy balance in between,” says Willcox.
As the CEO of HNS, her vision is to chip away at the media’s depiction of health and beauty. She also launched Natural Models, an agency dedicated to providing girls and women a positive experience in the industry.
“I wanted to create something or some place that girls could go in order to understand health and body image. Many times people believe that in order to be attractive or worthy of love you have to fit a certain mold. We’ve replaced skinny with healthy because healthy is a goal that anyone could reach regardless of size and we feel it is much more important.”
Katie’s story has been featured on national networks like Fox News, even catching the attention of Oprah and Huff Post and now she’s opening up HERⓇ about the pitfalls of plus size modeling and what she believes will pave the path to changing how women, beauty and health are portrayed in mass media.
“The media has programmed us to believe that our appearance and our failure to fit a certain mold makes us unworthy of happiness. Then they go on to offer us a solution on how we can ‘fix’ ourselves. We are exposed to hundreds of advertisements a day and whether we realize it or not, these images are being stored in our subconscious. We can begin to change this by helping our followers to become more aware. From there, we aim to educate and teach girls on how to identify and protect themselves from this type of harmful media exposure. Education and self-awareness is key.”
Katie’s goal is to empower young girls and women to love themselves. An even bigger feat she wants to accomplish? Changing the World.
“I have taken the platform that I have been given and have decided to put it to good use. I want to make a positive mark in this world.”
The model turned entrepreneur believes the only way women win is through collaboration.
“Another woman’s beauty is not the absence of yours. Each and every one of us is unique and it is important that we celebrate that,” she says.