“I don’t want to be a model, I want to be a role model”.
This week I caught up with Jada Sezer, who is a London-based brand owner, model, ambassador for your YoungMinds charity and campaigner for body diversity in the fashion industry.Jada’s story is different from most models. Coming from an academic background, studying psychology & counselling at university and going onto her masters in child psychotherapy.
After noticing a lack of diversity in the fashion industry, she felt a calling to campaign for body diversity and inspire women to “feel beautiful no matter your size”.
This lead to her creating her own fashion editorials with photographers she met online. The success of these online editorials provided her with the opportunity to become the face of the first ever plus size show during London Fashion Week and sign with London’s top modelling agency, Models 1.
Read the words from our interview below:
In the beginning, I was really really confused with modelling. I didn’t really understand what it was or what kind of model I was.
I just thought if I signed to an agency it proves to other women that they can have the opportunity to feel beautiful and have access to working with big brands. I just wanted to inspire.
Then when I got signed I released I wasn’t able to that. I was just going to be a normal model and do as they told me. I enjoyed it, but as a model, you don’t get booked because of your voice, you get booked because you look good.
That’s why I started blogging. I wanted to show how someone who is a size 16 could still look cool and great. So, I started to blog and slowly moved into more mental health blogging topic.
Modelling restricting creativity:
Yeah, it does restrict creativity. It also restricts thought leadership because you’re booked because you look good, not because you’re a role model.
I feel like models today have to be more than just a model. Which is perfect for me because that’s all I ever wanted to do.
The plus-size model attitude vs the standard model attitude:
When I started campaigning my attitude was F*** the norm, let’s show people something different!
I feel like plus size models have adopted and proven that we are curvy and we don’t give a shit!
For me, I think that’s great but at the same time, I was doing that four years ago. So, I kind of feel like, why do you need to prove ourselves again?
But, the attitude of plus size models has definitely shifted from being that happy commercial girl wearing outdated clothes, to now being edgy and having this attitude of accepting us no matter what. However, now, it needs to shift to a place where it’s the norm.
Challenges and acceptance as a plus size model:
The funny thing is when I first thought ‘oh I’m going to be a model’, I didn’t know there was such thing as plus size. I thought, if you’re a woman that looks good then you can be the face of a brand.
However, when I started to model professionally, I was bracketed as a plus size model. Which meant that I only shot for plus size brands.
So, immediately you don’t get cast for mainstream brands like Gucci, Louis or even some of your high-street brands.
However, a lot has changed now. The recent L’oreal campaign was technically for a beauty brand and four years ago a plus size model would never shoot for a beauty brand. So, being involved in that campaign was kind of a dream come true.
Jada becoming an ambassador for Young Minds Charity:
When I grew up, the people I looked up to were talented women like Opera and currently Sophie Walker, from the Women’s Equality Party. These are women who were helping people and have more than just a pretty face.
With Young Minds Charity, I reached out to them because I felt like I needed to have that connection with a like-minded charity, which I could give back to.
‘SEZER’ the brand and long-term goals:
SEZER came about when I was in New York. I felt like I had reached a glass ceiling with modelling and couldn’t be as creative or forward thinking as I wanted to be.
My main aim is to merge mainstream with plus size, making it normal for brands to stock larger sizes.
I want to make a brand for everybody which focuses on producing quality pieces, with a positive social responsibility attached. Women of all sizes should be able to invest in quality.
Which reflects in our tagline “this is the armor you wear to take on the world” because these are the kind of clothes that women can wear to an interview, feel confident and get the job!
In the next two years, I would want to be stocked in Selfridges, Net-A-Porter, Matches and allow women of all sizes to shop in these places.
A few things I’m working on besides the brand which is taking up a lot of my time. I’m working with the Women’s Equality Party and at the moment. We’re trying to change policy on anorexic models not being on the catwalk / being allowed to model if they’re unwell.
Our other ask is that designers create your usual size 8 sample size but also a 12 so that you can have two sample sizes for women to fit into.
I want to keep being an ambassador for Young Minds Charity and keep getting their message out there.
Finally, just grow as a model, I feel as though I’ve got a great platform and it’s a shame to be wasted on just being a pretty face.
Keep up with Jada Sezer’s journey here
Images by JJ Smith