Pioneering South Korean curve model Taylor Tak is one of only a few models challenging normative notions of beauty in her home country, where the designated starting point for “plus-size” clothes is the equivalent of a U.S. women’s size 8.
Tak, 26, said that the notion that she was too large to be beautiful had been ingrained in her since she was child. At age 10, she said, she was even sent to a “diet school” where she was allowed to consume only 600 calories a day — close to a fourth of the amount of calories that nutritionists say a growing child should consume daily. So when a professional photographer in London first approached her to ask if she had considering modeling, it almost felt to her like a hurtful joke.
“Initially I thought, ‘You must be kidding me’ or like, ‘Is this how a photographer tries to flirt?’ but he was serious,” she recalled in an interview with HuffPost. “We took about 50 or 60 shots, and I really loved being in front of a professional camera.”
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A year later, Tak has a deal with Australian-based model agency NAM Management and does shoots across the globe. But in her home country, she said, a woman or girl of her size is unlikely to ever find clothes that could fit her in a mall. Instead, she and other women were forced to find all their clothing at online retailers.
“In South Korea, they’d call me fat, not curvy,” she explained. “Curvy there is basically a slim, thick body — no belly, big boobs and big butt. So many girls are working hard for A4-size waist, no-thigh-gaps, long and thin arms.”
“My hope is that young girls see my photos and realize that your weight and your size don’t define your self-worth,” she continued. “Losing weight shouldn’t be your life goal. You’re not born to just lose weight. You don’t have to change your look for a happier life.”
Read the full story at HuffPost.