We as a society are literally surrounded and bombarded with images. What a person 'should' or 'shouldn't' look like, what they should/shouldn't wear - who they should/shouldn't aspire to be.
Social media, fashion magazines, plastic surgery - the Kardashians. It's EVERYWHERE!
But you know what's pretty cool? A modeling agency based in New York just expanded to Seattle - they're all about keepin' it REAL. We sat down with the CEO and founder of We Speak, Briauna Mariah, to get the down low on the modeling agency that's committed to celebrating all body types (I know, sounds like an oxymoron, right)?
How is We Speak different than other modeling agencies?
We Speak is a non-traditional agency which began in NYC, and there are a few things that set us apart. We represent health conscious, drug-free women and promote positive body image within the industry. We protect model's pay and nurture a safe, family-like environment. We also don't put size requirements upon our models, we just ask that we have up-to-date and accurate measurements for clients. We don't take commission from model's pay. We encourage clients to step out from a narrow mold of what a model should be and celebrate those that do. We encourage women to support the brands that hire healthy models.
How do you ensure the models are “health approved”
All our models are We Speak health-approved, meaning they pass a holistic health questionnaire and doctor's physical.
Plus-sized models have often been critiqued for "glorifying obesity". What’s your response to criticism?
This isn't really a criticism that has ever come up for us. The whole point of We Speak is to showcase healthy, relatable women in the media. It's important to recognize that health comes in all shapes and sizes. We don't praise one body type or size over another. Instead, we celebrate healthy living and body diversity.
What’s the response to We Speak in Seattle?
It's been a very welcoming response so far! We've been focused on the NYC market during our starting stages, but now that our Seattle model board is growing, we're excited to dive into the Seattle fashion market even further. If Seattlites ever want to know more about how to support and spread our mission, they can visit our FAQ. Locals can also help by encouraging their favorite local brands to hire healthy models.
Do you feel that its important to show kids/teens REAL bodies?
Yes, of course! People come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. It's important for young people to have relatable role models they can look up to. I believe this is the start of spreading more beauty awareness as well as helping young people realize what they, too, can be capable of.