lifestyle

Meet The Malaysian Plus-Size Model Revolutionising Beauty Standards In Malaysia

Happy International Women's Day! Get to know Callie De Wind, as she shares her opinions on the modelling industry, fashion, and inspiring everyday women.

Cover image via @calliewelly & @calliewelly (Instagram)

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Malaysian fashion model Callie De Wind has been breaking fashion industry boundaries since 2018, and she's only just begun

The youngest of four siblings, this Malaysian beauty describes her encounter with the modelling industry as one by pure 'chance'. 

Scouted through Instagram by a representative of FEMALE Magazine, De Wind was chosen to be part of their beauty spread. The rest was history, as more calls started coming in, and she was there to answer them!

De Wind has racked up thousands of Instagram followers over the years.

Having modelled for both well-established fashion brands, as well as up-and-coming labels, De Wind has represented the likes of Zalora, Curva, and Mis Claire.

With the support of her family behind her, De Wind describes how the enjoyment she found in modelling propelled her to take on more projects, and step outside her comfort zone.

Describing the highlight of her career so far, De Wind stated that representing Malaysia in Jakarta, Indonesia for the 'Make Me A Zalora Model' 2019 competition taught her many things about what it takes to be a model.

"She has always been one to support me in everything I do, and always pushed me to do more"

The 26-year-old enlists her mother as the sole inspiration to take-up modelling. 

"Not many know this, but my mother was a beauty queen back in her day," said De Wind. "Growing up, I would look at her pictures from beauty pageants or modelling and I would always be in awe, wishing I could grow up to be like her one day."

De Wind mentioned that her mother's confidence and grace inspired her to become the model she is today.

But her journey hasn't always been smooth sailing, as De Wind describes how she felt the pressure of the industry at one point

Throughout her career, De Wind noted how multiple brands have looked down on her because of her body shape.

"I have very wide hips and a small waist, so that tends to throw some brands off, as they don't want to worry about how clothes will fit me or look on me". 

De Wind recalls occasions when she was hired and the clothes did not meet her measurements recorded prior to the day of the shoot.

"I think this part is extremely important because sometimes it can make the models feel unwelcome or as if they did something wrong."

"I have seen many changes in the acceptance of plus sized fashion in Malaysia"

When describing the reception to plus-sized models in Malaysia's fashion industry, the 26-year-old noted that those in the scene were still trying to figure out their way around it in 2018.

"Many did not know what it takes to make clothes for a plus-sized person, it's very different from making clothes for a person wearing a size 10."

In her own words, De Wind stated that by definition, a plus-size model is someone who wears a size 12 and above, including clothes meant for tall people or anyone bigger than the average human.

"Over the years, I have seen many improvements in the fashion industry to include the plus-sized range and their willingness to learn about our bodies and how they move in clothes."

While so much has changed, De Wind admits that it's still hard being a plus-sized model in Malaysia. "Many brands are doing plus-sized fashion as a fad or to be considered diverse."

As a self-proclaimed Body Positivity Advocate, De Wind is a firm believer in diversity and media representation of every shape and size

"The more the media shows representation of different bodies, the more body positivity is spread," said De Wind.

"Young girls always look up to what they see on social media so it's important to have representation of all sizes, so these young girls know the reality instead of constantly feeding them with the 'ideal look'."

On the topic of diversity within the media in Malaysia, De Wind maintains the stance that everyone needs to feel accepted.

"Women have been told that they need to look a certain way and carry themselves a certain way all their lives."

In asking what piece of advice De Wind would give other young women interested in joining the modelling industry, she stated that building your confidence from within is the most important feature.

"Everyone starts somewhere, and you wouldn't know how or when until you step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith."

When asked what message she would like to send to all women this International Women's Day, De Wind had this to say:

To all my beautiful, strong women out there, keep doing what makes you happy and don't ever change yourself for others. Don't allow people to dictate your happiness, you do you!
Callie De Wind

With multiple secret projects in 2022 that can't be revealed yet, De Wind affirmed that you'll just have to stay tuned to see where she'll be popping up next.

To keep up with Callie, find her on Instagram right here.

And to all women all around the world today, Happy International Women's Day!

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