For the great majority of us, when we hear a term “model” we instantly start thinking of a tall skinny lady with the pale face and neutral facial expression. We start thinking of someone extremely thin and, naturally, someone having manly figure rather curvy and feminine. Christina Donskov, 26, is a Danish model who breaks such presuppositions associated with models: “A model is a model whether she wears a size 0 or a size 14”, says she, who herself is working for a model agency in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Models, who are employed to display and advertise commercial products have always been the center of attraction and jealousy. They have also been a point of discussion for many centuries in a row as a number of women claimed they cannot imagine how a piece, shown on a runway, would look on them as models usually look much skinnier and taller than potential customers. It seems that standards of 90-60-90 and 172cm have changed (yay!) and therefore plus size models now have the opportunity to step on a catwalk proudly. “First of all I don’t really like the term “plussize”. It has such a negative vibe to it and it makes being curvy sound so bad”, says Christina Donskov. “Besides that working as a model is a job, and the job is the same whether you are a curvy or a regular sized model. So why even have the term plussize? Perceiving a model as no “regular model” just because she is not a size 0, like me, is just wrong. A model is a model whether she wears a size 0 or a size 14. Besides that a size 0 model does not represent the average woman in any way, and no woman or girl can identify or live up to this unrealistic womanly body ideal. Having said that I do not wish to see the size 0 models disappear, I just wish that the model and fashion industry included and embraced diversity in modeling more. We all have different body shapes, so why not embrace that in the fashion industry as well?” she asks with a smile.
The way of being a model
“Last year, 2012, I modeled in a plus size fashion here in Denmark”, starts Christina. “Prior to that I had not done any modeling, but modeling in this fashion show got me some model jobs here and there. Then in February 2013 I modeled in Carmakoma’s fashion show during Copenhagen Fashion Week produced by PEEPERS DENMARK, and meeting with PEEPERS DENMARK and the CEO Mica Oh was the startpoint to a career in modeling”, explains Christina, admitting that every photoshoot, fashion show, styling and location is interesting for her. “I always find things that inspire me at every photoshoot or fashion show, being the atmosphere or surroundings, just as much as I find inspiration in what I wear and how I am styled. Of course I also have my own personal style, and therefore I sometimes get even more excited when I wear something for a shoot or show that I would love to own myself, are we not all like that? The facts is though, I really love and appreciate the inspiration I get from working as a model. I get inspired by designers, photographers, models, styling, clothes, the surroundings and so on, and getting all these different types of inspiration is something I appreciate very much. It is part of where I get inspired, not only professionally but also personally.”
It is thought that models are “empty good-looking dools” (heard it once from a friend), yet Christina can also break this stereotype pretty easy. Without modeling, she is also a singer and writes her own music. “I study in University of Copenhagen, where I major in musicology, so music makes a big part of my life and I could not life without it”, she explains. She simply seems to be fortunate to be good at both areas that somehow complement each other. “I think that being able to express yourself through art, whether this is music, photography or modeling or some kind of other form, is a very valuable talent”, she agrees with me. “Not only do you use the creative side of your brain, but you also express yourself and embody feelings. I think that being artistic is very valuable and something we need to remember to focus on in today’s society and not turn away from.”
The value of a role model
The need of role model, especially for young individuals, have constantly been emphasized of a number psychologists, claiming that younger generation tend to observe someone’s behavior in order to change their own, as the person serves an example. Christina claims that her goal with the modeling is make women understand that they are beautiful regardless of their size, since majority of women constantly worry about their body shape. ”Modeling is not only a job for me. Modeling is also a way that I hope to inspire other people. I came to realize that being a model also means being a role model and I am truly honored if I can help make a change in the way that women and girls perceive themselves.”
Knowing that the average woman wears size 40 EU/10 US, Christina says that she feels and understands the sharp difference between skinny models, walking on a catwalk, and regular fashion customers. “I hope that being able to see women that look like women, with womanly curves, will help to make a change and reduce the unsatisfied thoughts about one self that fill up so many young girls and women. So yes, modeling means a lot to me, because I wish to show these girls and women that a curvy and womanly body is beautiful, explains Christina.
Shoot for the moon
A motivational speaker and former Ohio politician Leslie C. “Les” Brown once said that one has to shoot for the stars; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. Christina Donskov is obviously the one on the way to the moon due to brilliant “targeting” and planning skills. “I am very goal-oriented and I have an overall vision of what I want in life. Sometimes life throws things at you that you are you are not prepared for. Some of them are good and some are bad, but all you can do is to accept it, learn from it, and make the best out of it”, explains she with the smile and adds the phrase her mom would usually repeat: “What does not kill you, makes you stronger”.