2 Malaysian curvy models on their modelling career, inclusivity within the fashion industry, and the term “plus size”


By Calleigh Yap

2 Malaysian curvy models on their modelling career, inclusivity within the fashion industry, and the term “plus size”

Plus-size fashion has been enjoying the spotlight it deserves in recent years, with more and more brands introducing a wider size range not only to cater to more shoppers, but also to champion the body positivity movement. Accompanying it, are a slew of curvy models who are redefining beauty standards. Ashley Graham, Paloma Elsesser, and Jill Kortleve are some of the top names to know right now, but in Malaysia, there are also a few models who are carving out space for themselves in the local fashion industry. Enter Amanda Imani and Cashreyn Mohd. Azlan—two part-time curvy models who have worked with brands such as Uniqlo, Zalora, and more.

Want to get to know them? Below, Amanda and Cashreyn speak to us about their modelling career, the body positivity movement, and more:

Amanda Imani, 28content creator, singer-songwriter, and part-time model

How did you get into modelling?

I used to be involved in many photo shoots when I first started out in music. Naturally, I met people who are in fashion and got into some part-time modelling. The very first local designer who was open to having me—a model who’s not a sample size—was Leslie Variyan of Variante.

What are some of the brands that you’ve modelled for?

Zalora, Curvafabulous, Ms Read, Variante, Violetta by Mango, Missguided, and more.

Photo credit: Zalora

What are your thoughts on the local modelling scene, and inclusivity within the fashion industry in Malaysia?

It’s a pretty small industry and I’m glad to see that over the years we have embraced models with different shapes, sizes, and heights.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced during your modelling career?

Fitting into sample sizes! It’s hard when brands and designers want to work with you but you aren’t a size zero. I’ve experienced that many times. Previously, there weren’t as many plus-size brands available, therefore, modelling jobs were also lesser. But nowadays, I’m glad to see that there are many more brands supporting and catering to curvy women.

Aside from that, plus-size women in the industry would always be labelled oversized, big, bulky, chubby, fat, etc. People would just throw around those words like it’s nothing. To me, that is rude and totally unprofessional.


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Have you ever dealt with body shaming, and what advice would you give for others who are experiencing the same thing?

Yes, definitely. Even when I first started out in the industry, I would always get body shamed at photo and music video shoots. At the time I was still a teenager, and it used to really bother me and it has definitely lowered my self confidence.

Over the years, it has sort of become a norm for people to comment on my weight and size, but that hasn’t stopped me from making music and videos or modelling. Instead, it has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, knowing that there are many women out there who look up to me. Personalities and talents come in all shapes and forms, and that makes the world special!


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Many curvy models have mentioned that they’re not a fan of the term “plus size”. What do you think about it?

I think modelling, regardless of size, should just be called modelling. I don’t think we should continue to term size-zero models as models, but models who aren’t size zero as plus-size models. It’s discriminatory and it definitely affects how the public sees us. All sizes matter.

Thoughts on the body positivity movement?

It’s really amazing to see so many influencers and celebrities promote body positivity. I think this year especially, I’ve seen a surge in brands and campaigns that have released edit-free photos and embracing people who are unique. I think that’s really important because the public can now see that models aren’t just the typical tall, lean, and skinny girls. They come in different sizes, colours, shapes, and age.


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Is there an influencer or model whom you look up to?

The very first mainstream plus-size model I came across was Ashley Graham. I think she’s really beautiful and confident. I also really like Kate Upton. It’s wonderful to see these women grace fashion magazines like Vogue and Sports Illustrated.



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