A working model for over a decade, 26-year-old Robyn Lawley counts mother, DJ, brand ambassador for Fruit Juice Australia, author, swimwear designer and cook as just some of her many talents.
After fighting to maintain a size 6-8 body for years (a dangerous goal for someone who is 6ft 2in) Lawley became sick and tired of being sick and tired and turned her sights to a new horizon. “To be honest, I felt a little hopeless. It’s just the craziest thing to have to starve in order to book a job. In the end, even if I had starved for months, I still would have had trouble because of my bone structure.”
Moving to France, without speaking a word of French, she soon discovered a new passion and embraced the freeing nature of life outside of someone else’s standards.
“It was soon after I walked away from the modelling industry due to the immense pressure I felt to be a certain size in order to be successful. I revisited my love of food, and through this realised there is happiness and balance when it comes to cooking with and eating real, quality foods.”
When she began modelling again, it was on her own terms. Signing with a different agency, which she says supported her from day one, Lawley set about changing up the fashion industry and challenging the damaging perceptions of beauty ingrained within it.
“I started to model as the size I am today and haven’t looked back, it also helped to see other models my size kicking butt.”
In 2011, alongside models Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine, Lawley became the first plus-sized model to appear on the cover of Vogue – a move that Lawley hoped would spur a revolution in fashion pages. Early last year the model became the first above sample size woman to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Although these inclusions failed to spark a new editorial direction for magazines at large, they did catapult Lawley to international stardom, giving her the platform with which to begin a revolution of her own.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, the busy model attributes her work ethic to the influence of her father.
“Don’t ever use the excuse ‘but I’m a girl, so I won’t know how to do that.’ My father first told me this, after I used it to get out of refilling the oil in my car or checking my tire pressure. My dad was an incredibly wise man who taught me that being a woman is never, in any situation, a hindrance. You should never say you do anything ‘like a girl’, as phrases like these is what is holding us (women) back. My advice is – it’s time to liberate yourself from these habits – never slander your gender like that!”
The same goes for her will to see her chosen industry celebrate body diversity, rather than maintaining an unrealistic interpretation of the female form. “Just look around you, incredible fashion isn’t just worn by skinny teens. The reality is beauty comes in all sizes, always has, always will. It’s time to mix it up. “