Chanelle Mustafa | Curvy Confesions

Curvy Confessions is a 1 on 1 conversation with plus-size, full-figured, curvy, body positive influencers and models. I started this series to help empower, uplift and encourage women to feel positive about their bodies and become comfortable in their own skin!!

Who are you? 

Chanelle Mustafa, South East London, 24, Curve model. 

How did you become comfortable with your body?

In 2015 Simply Be held a competition in association with MILK. Over 3000 girls entered, as well as me. It was a hashtag competition and I didn't have instagram at the time, but with a little encouragement from my friends, (OK BIG ENCOURAGEMENT!!) I decided to enter. A few short days later I received an email from Simply Be, inviting me to the day casting where they had only invited 30 girls from 3000! For me this was one of the biggest achievements in my life. 

On the day I was surrounded by such beautiful confident girls, I really did not think I stood a chance. We were all placed into a room patiently waiting for the announcement of which four girls would be flown out to New York to film two TV adverts and literally become models over night! When they called my name, I had to take a second to breathe and close my eyes just to open them again to see if this was real and not a dream. 

In that moment I decided it was time to love myself, all of me.  

Did you have a difficult journey to accepting your body?

If I'm honest, I'm still on this journey and I don't think it ever will end. In the society we live in today I think every girl will struggle at some point in their lives whether you're "plus sized" or not. But as a plus size model I feel it is within my duty of care to show all women its ok to be who you want to be, beauty is within everyone and it is just about learning how to see your own beauty because once you can everyone else will. 

I feel like the hardest part of my journey was in secondary school, I always felt out of place. I was never really bullied, just not accepted for who I am. 

What are your views on the latest inclusion of plus-size women in fashion,especially as a curve model?

Although it is great to be seeing more plus size women in the media and more and more brands are choosing models that are a size that their clothes actually start from. I don't think the industry is anywhere close to showing the public what an average woman looks like. Don't get me wrong being toned with a flat stomach is a beautiful perception of a woman but realistically do the majority of plus sized women look like that!? 

The day I see cellulite and stretch marks being represented by brands, teaching young women that its ok, its part of life, your body changing and growing from a girl to a woman. Then I will be very satisfied and happy that the plus sized world is actually being real. 

Have you faced any difficulties being a Curve / plus-size model?

Nobody whether it be brands or agents has ever given me any negative views about myself, my agent is very supportive of me and my body. 

The only time I have had negative comments about my body is from trolls on social media, who think it is acceptable to post negative things about a person when they do not even know them! I would never be negative to anybody about themselves, you do not even have a squint of what is going on in that person's life and what that one comment could do to them and their confidence.  

There is still a preferred body type for curve models, which tends to be hour glass, has this pressured you to try and change your body in any way?

As long as I am healthy I do not feel the need to try and change my body for somebody else. The world should be able to accept me for who I am. If a brand does not want to use me because I have love handles, or a bigger chest than the average woman my size then so be it! There are plenty more opportunities in this world! 

Your favourite body part and why?

My favorite part of my body is my face. It is the only part you can really see my ethnicity. I am half English, half Turkish Cypriot. My English mum gave me my freckles and eye colour, while my dad gave me fuller lips and a bigger eye shape. 

What advice could you give a young girl/woman who may be struggling with her body image?

We will all have good days and bad days when it comes to our bodies, just make sure that on them good days you embrace it. Take a picture, make it your screen saver, print it out blow it up! so that on them bad days you have something positive to look at!  

How do you celebrate your body?

I generally like to celebrate with pictures. When your feeling good about yourself its good to show it and what better way to do that by taking a picture and uploading it to social media so that everyone else can celebrate with you! 

Describe your body in 3 words. 

Strong. Beautiful. Eye catching. 

Thankyou Chanelle for speaking with me. I love your confidence and keep being amazing!

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