How on earth is this woman ‘too big’?
AUSSIE model Bree Warren is used to being told her body isn't quite right.
For years, the size 12-14 swimsuit model from Queensland struggled to book jobs because her curvy figure was "too small" for "plus-size" modelling jobs and "not quite small enough" for mainstream gigs.
"I had hips, I naturally had a little bit of a bigger build and so nothing ever really eventuated," Warren, 31, told news.com.au. "I was sort of this middle ground that they didn't really know what to do with."
At age 22, Warren moved overseas to get work, modelling in London, Europe and New York.
Overseas, the fashion industry was responding to overwhelming consumer demand for body diversity in advertising campaigns, but the conversation was only just starting back home in Australia.
While curvy American and British models such as Ashley Graham, Iskra Lawrence and Kate Upton were booking big magazine covers and landing lucrative contracts on the other side of the equator, Aussie models like Warren were missing out here.
"It was pretty slow in terms of the Australian market just because of my size," Warren recalled. "In Australia, there wasn't really any work for me as a plus-size model as the size that I naturally am."
All of that changed this year. Warren's Instagram following has climbed to over 200,000, she landed campaigns with swimwear brand Seafolly, Dior and General Pants and the cover of Women's Health magazine.
"Now, compared to when I started modelling eight years, it's a completely different industry," Warren said.
"I have become busier in the last year than I ever have before … it's a testament to how much attitudes about body diversity have changed. It was definitely harder in the beginning, but now it's a really good time in fashion for diversity."
Warren's success is her relatability. The average Australian woman weighs about 71kg and is a size 14-16.
Women aren't used to seeing their own body shapes - with cellulite, curves and stretch marks - reflected in the images companies use to market clothes, accessories and beauty products.
Swimwear has traditionally been worn by sample-size models with chiselled abs and all their lumps and bumps edited out.
Warren mostly models swimwear and lingerie both in professional campaigns and on her own Instagram account. While she definitely knows her angles and chooses flattering lighting, the images on her Instagram are not Photoshopped.
"I have a body type that is relatable to a lot of women. It just seems crazy that there has only been one way to be beautiful for so long there's really only been one body type until now," she said.
But building your brand on social media inevitably brings plenty of naysayers.
"That's probably the uglier side of modelling. You have to deal with rejection a lot and accept that you're not right for that (job) or you're never going to get it. I think that's probably when you can get into a negative spiral in that way," Warren said.
"I often see some comments (on social media) like, 'You're too big to do that' or, 'You're too small to do that'. 'You're not plus-size enough' or I that shouldn't be doing certain jobs. This is the size that I am naturally meant to be. I'm healthy, I'm active. This is just my natural body shape.
"But I have a lot of supportive people on social media. I do feel the positive outweighs the negative. There's always going to be people who are resistant to change."
Warren's next goal is booking a photoshoot with Sports Illustrated magazine. Its annual swimsuit issue is considered a rite of passage for bikini models looking to dominate internationally.
"I hope one day the tide will turn and in 10 years people will think it was strange that we never had body diversity," she said.