We're not there yet, but inclusivity in the fashion industry continues to shift in the right direction. With consumers having long grown tired of being told what is beautiful, we are seeing more models that portray the beautiful diversity of the world. And apace with these changes has come a whole new roster of unselfconscious models.
Nandi, Suzanne, Florence and Celine on their Hello! Fashion cover shoot
For the September issue, Hello! Fashion features four boundary-breaking cover stars: Nandi Macalou, Suzanne Nayana, Florence Rose and Celine Jørgensen have individual personalities, interesting hobbies and, for some, careers they work on alongside their day jobs.
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Nandi became a model at 13, she was discovered by a student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, who asked her to walk in her graduate show. So impressed, she introduced Nandi to a model booker, who immediately signed her. Nandi, who is half-Belgian, half-Malian, has recently graduated from UAL University, where she studied contemporary media cultures. "I recently wrote my dissertation about Malian-Belgian identity after visiting my family in Mali."
In the future, Nandi would like to explore acting opportunities, she has taken workshops and theatre courses since the age of 14 and studied acting at a theatre university in Brussels In her spare time she skateboards and pole dances. "I think having other interests and having knowledge about something else makes you a more interesting model."
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Suzanne was born in Guwahati, Assam, in the north-east of India. When she was 17, auditions were held for Lakmé Fashion Week in her local town. Out of hundreds of girls, only two were selected and Suzanne was one of them. When she flew to Mumbai for Lakmé Fashion Week she was signed by her mother agent.
Currently based in Delhi, Suzanne travels regularly for work. And when India went into lockdown due to Covid, the day she arrived in Japan for three months, she ended up staying a year, working the entire time. "It was one of the most nourishing experiences of my life. I feel like it made me grow up so much as a person." While there she taught herself to speak Japanese - she also speaks Assamese, Dimasa, Hindi, English and is learning French.
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Florence has many creative outlets. She studied performance, design and practice at Central Saint Martins, a course that also included theatre, costume design and filming; but it was when she began experimenting with make-up that she realised she wanted to be a part of "the whole concept".
She has worked on brand partnerships with Stella McCartney, Gucci and Marc Jacobs. And she is also a film enthusiast. "I became interested in film when I was studying. I've directed a lot of 'theatre films' with massive set designs with a friend and now I'm working on the first one by myself."
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Celine who grew up in Arendal, on the south coast of Norway, was scouted in a shopping mall, whilst visiting family in Oslo. Her background in dancing helped her confidence as a model. As well as dancing, "Mostly ballet, jazz, contemporary and little hip hop", Celine is an avid skier. As the saying goes: Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. I try to go as often as possible during the winter. I love the thrill of it, the adrenaline and the freedom you feel."
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Her career highlight so far is becoming one of the first curve girls to work for Zara. "As one of the world's biggest clothing retailers it was usually dominated by very slim girls on their website, but now they've started to use more and more curvy girls."
The full interview appears in the September issue of Hello! Fashion, out now…