Body Positive Hero is a series that celebrates the people who make the fashion industry ― and the world ― a more inclusive, body-positive place.
Horror stories from within the modeling industry are all too common, but each time a new one comes out, it serves as an opportunity to highlight the change that needs to happen toward a healthier, more inclusive environment. It also provides an outlet for the brave women who share those stories.
Liza Golden-Bhojwani, a model who currently lives in India, has been in and out of the modeling industry over the years, most recently getting back to work in 2016. She recently shared harrowing side-by-side images of herself ― one from her first Fashion Week in 2012, and one from today.
In a lengthy accompanying caption, she heartbreakingly referred to her size in the left photo as what she “needed to be” to actually book runway jobs.
Bhojwani unraveled the struggle she faced during that first fateful string of shows, where she recalled eating 20 pieces of steamed edamame as a meal and binge eating her way up from a 34.5- to a 36.5-inch hip measurement throughout the month. She explained that as she traveled from London to Milan to Paris, the show offers dwindled. “I knew the reason for me not nailing the gig, my size,” she wrote.
In 2014, she decided to revisit modeling and got into shape in a healthier way, through exercise and a more sustainable diet. But even though she called it the most fit she’d been in her life, it still wasn’t enough “for the likes of VS [Victoria’s Secret] or other brands.”
It was on a trip to India, Bhojwani explained, when things changed. She met her now husband, picked up all her belongings and moved there. Now not only does she have a healthier outlook on life, but she also has a totally different relationship with her body.
“The picture on the right of me as of right now, my body as it is,” she wrote. “Not perfect, not show ready or VS ready, not the best, but it is mine and my soul is happy.”
Bhowjani also wrote that now she works out, eats what she wants without feeling guilty about it and does it all solely for herself. “Maybe I wasn’t made to be on the covers of magazines and shooting the biggest and best brands, but I was made for a reason,” she wrote. “I do deserve to be happy and feel fulfilled. We all do. Maybe I was made to share this story and spread the message of body love to all the women out there struggling.”
While we wouldn’t exactly agree that Bhojwani doesn’t belong as the front of a major photoshoot, we are inspired by her honesty, her story and her words of self-love.