U.K.-based plus-size lingerie company Curvy Kate announced its annual contest winner: Sophia Adams, a 21-year-old living and training to be in the police force in London. The "Star in a Bra" contest winner is a fuller-figured gem who took a chance and came out on top, winning a trip and photo shoot in Portugal, a year-long contract with Bridge Models, and an editorial in Curvy Kate's Spring/Summer 2016 catalog.
The company made headlines recently with their recreation of Victoria's Secret's "The Perfect Body" ad, and have been supporting the size acceptance movement since 2009 when they first began offering their size D-F cup bras.
In a fashion industry that has so often neglected plus-size women, it's incredible to see someone like Sophia Adams be noticed and appreciated for her body.
Looking through her Instagram, you can see how in leading up to the announcement of the winner of the contest, she didn't just want to win. She wanted to see women like her — women so often not represented in the media or the fashion industry — getting the positive attention they deserve. She wanted to see more women like her modeling.
Fair representation in the modeling industry will probably always be a struggle, but it's exciting to know that little by little, things are changing. As more companies join the likes of Curvy Kate or Lane Bryant with their #ImNoAngel campaign, change will be made.
You can already begin to see the shift in culture as more plus-size models are getting exposure. But it's really just the beginning, and we have a long way to go yet.
Can you imagine what seeing someone like Sophia Adams on an ad will do for young girls (and us women!)? I, for one, am already more accepting of my own curves and what I used to call "flaws." It's powerful when you can see yourself in an ad. How much more positive is the thought, "Oh, I look like that in my bra and underwear," instead of, "OMG, I'll never be able to look like that?"
I'm not saying that traditional lingerie models aren't also beautiful, of course, but they've been so idealized that we tend to forget that they are actual women as well. Sure, there are non-model women do look like them, but it's probably safe to say the majority of women do not.
Seeing someone really own their curves (or lack thereof) and their weight (however small or big the number on the scale) is the essence of confidence. And I think as we see more of a variety of sizes in advertisements, we will more honestly appreciate all women who really do come in so many different shapes and sizes.
The fact that Sophia Adams is not just a curvaceous woman, but also someone picked out of a crowd of everyday women, undoubtedly helps others reach a certain confidence to see their own beauty. Whilst I am sure Sophia's own confidence will be boosted by this amazing opportunity, I believe that she couldn't have won unless she had already loved and respected her body — and that's what we all need more of.
I hope this inspires us to continue on our own process of loving ourselves — in being able to look in the mirror and adoring what we see. We only have this one body, and it's with us for the rest of our lives. Why spend any of that time resenting it when we could be falling in love?