Shero of the Month: Kelsey Rose Weber, Plus-Size Model & Body Positive Activist
“Our ‘imperfections’ are what make us unique and that is something to be celebrated.”
by Danielle Sinay
YSBnow believes that everyone is beautiful now. But sometimes, even for me, remembering that can be hard. Because when the fashion industry continually promotes unrealistic beauty standards – that only “skinny” is “beautiful,” and that photoshop is reality – we’re made to feel bad for simply being who we are.
Fortunately, Buzzfeed, frustrated with the lack of plus size representation in high-fashion, took it upon themselves to work towards changing that. Behold: high-fashion advertisements, recreated with plus-size models, like Kelsey Rose Weber, who is photographed below.
Kelsey is one of our favorite people ever – she’s beautiful, brilliant, seriously badass, and as such a strong proponent for positivity and self-love she embodies everything YSBnow stands for. We’re honored to have her for our YSBnow Shero of the Month.
We caught up with Kelsey to talk all things body-positivity, confidence, and her inspiring personal story. Read on for our Q&A with Kelsey Rose Weber below!
Let’s start off with hearing a little bit about you. What’s your personal story?
I grew up in Tokyo for most of my childhood and moved to Los Angeles when I was about 8. I started to become super interested in film and fashion when I was in high school but it wasn’t until college that I really began to pursue them. I studied film in college and then when I graduated I immediately began working on set and I just love being in production. I founded my own craft services company, KR Crafty, about a year ago and it has been a crazy journey juggling that with my modeling but I have tons of gratitude for it all!
What inspired you to become a plus size model, as well as start advocating for body positivity? At what moment did you realize that this is what you want to do with your life?
When I got to college I gained 70 pounds. – you could say that the “freshman 15” wasn’t the case for me! At first I really struggled to understand my body — I was holding weight in different areas and I had to buy all new clothes so I felt as though my own body wasn’t my own. My junior year is when I really began to pursue it and I haven’t looked back since. As soon as I started to have love for myself and my body, I felt that it was important to spread this love and acceptance to those around me. I constantly see people picking themselves apart and it becomes exhausting so I’m constantly working to remind people to love themselves, inside and out, no matter what size. Our “imperfections” are what make us unique and that is something to be celebrated.
Have you ever struggled with body image issues?
I was tiny, tiny, tiny in high school, and gaining 70 pounds was a struggle for me, but it also humbled me. I actually suffered from a pretty severe eating disorder in high school and ended up seeking help for it.
I felt I wasn’t worthy unless I was at my “ideal” weight, but that “ideal” weight kept becoming smaller and smaller until it was just unhealthy and unattainable. Gaining weight humbled me greatly because people treated me differently as a curvier woman — men and women alike. I started to hold some resentments against people because I would constantly hear things like “you are so pretty for a big girl” and I just started to remind myself to not let people have that power over me. As long as I loved myself and my body, then the words people said would hold no weight (LOL)!)
What’s your favorite part of being a plus size model?
Showing women that beauty is always evolving and that people different can be empowering. The plus industry has grown leaps and bounds these past few years and I love being apart of an industry that is inspiring women to embrace their bodies. Curves come in all shapes and sizes and we are now not limited to wearing matronly fashions — now curvy women can be fashion forward and thats really exciting. I’ve always been huge into fashion so being able to model new styles each years pushes me to try new things as well.
What’s the hardest part of modeling?
Putting yourself out there is hard sometimes — while I love my body, when you read some of the comments people make it can sometimes get to you. The hardest is when people try to bring in their “concerns” for my health — I eat healthy, I work out and I live an active lifestyle but my body naturally is a size 14 and that is ok. We all have different metabolisms and bodies and shaming women for having something that is different shouldn’t be this negative thing.
Who are your personal role models?
My personal role models are my mom and my sister. My mom taught me the value of hard work and staying true to yourself — even if you feel you are at rock bottom. She has been supportive of my modeling since day one and has always had my back no matter what. My sister is currently getting her PhD in Gender Studies so she’s working to change the conversation when it comes to topics that sometimes we overlook. I am so proud of them and I am grateful for their support tenfold.
What’s your ultimate goal as an advocate for body positivity?
My ultimate goal with body positivity is to teach people acceptance and tolerance. I am currently working on a workshop that is aimed at middle school and jr. high girls that would combine both conversations on bullying with topics of self love. Body image habits start when we are young and if we help our younger generations accept each other, we can begin to change the way we see beauty and begin to show everybody that EVERY.BODY.IS.BEAUTIFUL!
What advice do you have for teens who are struggling with body image and self-confidence?
Don’t feel like you are alone — even the people who bully you the most or say things behind their back have their struggles. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and try to approach every situation with kindness. Self-confidence is something you have to build within yourself each day so remind yourself each morning that you are important and that you are worthy. Don’t let others have so much power over you to affect how you see yourself because the way you see your reflection in the mirror is such a powerful thing.
If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?
I’d tell her to get ready and enjoy the ride. I remember back in high school I had an idea of how I’d like my life to go and I ended up going in the complete opposite direction but I love it! Life is a journey, life is a story and live each moment to the max because you never know what is in store for you.
Our mission at YSBnow is to remind young women that they are beautiful NOW, however they define “beauty” for themselves. What advice do you have for our readers who may be struggling with self-confidence and acceptance? What do you do for yourself to feel good and confident about yourself?
Each morning I do a gratitude list where I list three things or people I’m grateful for. It’s an awesome way to start the day with positive thinking and a nice reminder of the wonderful things you do have in your life. Self confident and acceptance is an ongoing journey so do your part to help others in this journey as well. We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down and this starts with YOU and it starts NOW 🙂