Do you worry about the unrealistic and harmful conventions of today’s fashion industry? Well we do too. So that’s why when we heard about the new reality series ‘The Fashion Hero’ premiering on Amazon Prime on October 6th, we were very excited. The show will follow Brooke Hogan on a model search that focuses on real people and atypical beauty, seeking to redefine current unattainable perceptions of beauty.
We spoke to designer Anna Scholz and model Stacey, who are both set to appear on the show, to find out a bit more about this inclusive and body positive show!
Why are you excited about the show? How is it different from what’s already out there?
Anna: The Fashion hero is not only looking for models, but for brand ambassadors, for someone who is not only beautiful but also inspiring with a strong message.
I do believe that a lot of brands are looking for more than just models, we are all looking to connect in a new way with our customers.
Stacey: I’m excited about the show because it’s going to help people just like me who suffered and still suffer from body confidence and self esteem issues. There are different people on the show, which shows you don’t need to look or be a certain way, you only have to be the most amazing person you can be. Yourself.
What about “The Fashion Hero” drew you in to take part?
Anna: Challenging the normal standard of beauty in the fashion industry has been my mission for the last 25 years, so the core message of The Fashion Hero fit in perfectly with my own philosophy. I was also very curious to experience the production of a TV series and loved a new challenge for myself.
Stacey: When I saw the Fashion hero casting it immediately spoke to me, the show was all about everything I stand for, it’s about changing how everyone and the fashion industry see human beings, it’s about looking past size, height, race etc and looking at true beauty. It’s about changing the unhealthy standards of society and the fashion industry. I think it’s so important to be part of something like The Fashion hero, and to meet people who feel the same way as I do about change was truest inspiring. It takes one person to make a difference so having multiple people who are together for the same thing was so powerful.
The beauty industry has long presented men and women with distorted standards that damage self-esteem and create unrealistic expectations. This show is just a first step in helping out in the problem. What else do you think we as a society can do?
Anna: I completely agree with you, and I think a lot of things have started changing for the better when social media became so important in everyone’s lives.
First more realistic looking bloggers showed inspirational images of ‘real’ people wearing fashion, but I think social media has started to change and as everyone is starting to compete with supermodels and celebrities on all of these platforms, all the retouching, fake pouts and overglam fake lifestyles have started to make normal people feel bad about themselves again.
We all aspire to beauty but I think it is important to keep things more real and share more honestly. I think vulnerability is more appealing than perfection.
Stacey: I think there’s a lot of things society and the media can do to help change these unrealistic standards. Make all clothing ranges from the smallest to largest size, have different size mannequins in stores, completely ban photo-shop on magazine covers etc.
Start putting all shapes, sizes, colours etc on billboards, on magazine covers, on TV adds. Once society stop portraying one size as beautiful I think a lot of people will stop comparing themselves to that body type.
It will be easier to accept and love yourself if you see someone who’s similar to you being portrayed as beautiful because instead of saying “I could never look like that” you see them and say “wow she’s beautiful and she reminds me of myself”
What was your favourite episode?
Anna: I am finding it very hard to be objective about the show as feel so close to all of the contestants and challenges. I loved the Mirror Mirror challenge in episode 1 as the participants are so open and vulnerable about themselves, the team challenge to create an advert in episode 6 and of course the extreme photoshoot in the final episode 8.
Stacey: My favourite episode was episode 1. Mirror mirror because it was the most difficult episode for me. I always hated my body and getting undressed in front of complete strangers and revealing all my flaws was so hard for me to do. I couldn’t stand looking at myself so it was hard to allow other people to look at me.
When I got undressed and revealed how I felt about myself it was like everything was lifted from my mind, it was empowering seeing everyone in the room showing off their flaws and accepting them, it was also my favourite episode because everyone was still in the competition, there was a lot cut out for timing reasons but we all became so close and it was heartbreaking having half of us sent home.
What message do you want people to take away from the show?
Anna: To acknowledge that we all come with our own insecurities and that we should embrace our differences rather than strive to be like someone else (especially not an unattainable photo-shopped version of someone else).
Stacey: I just want people to realise that it’s normal to not love everything about yourself, it’s normal to want to change things about yourself because this is what the media has thought us to do, I mean they try to tell us the model on the magazine is perfection but they still photoshop them. If you have to photoshop someone who’s already perfect what is that saying to people? I believe every body type is beautiful. I want people to realise that they don’t have to be a certain size to be beautiful. You are perfect the way you are.
How have you found the reaction from the plus size community?
Anna: Positive, curious and embracing.
Stacey: The fact that plus size modelling is now a thing is a huge step forward but I’m still not happy with the industry. All plus size models again look a certain way, absolutely beautiful with an hourglass shape. I don’t want there to be categories, I don’t think plus size models should have the plus size label. I mean why should we? The plus size community is a huge step towards change. I really look up to people like Tess Holliday and Ashley graham who’ve chased their dreams regardless of what society tells them.
Is there a body positive moment in any of the episodes that people should look out for that you thought were particularly inspiring?
Anna: Stacey had an amazing transformation throughout the show, and her mirror mirror challenge in episode 1 showed the beginning of her journey, and you can see her embracing herself and becoming an amazing inspiration overcoming all of her fears in episode 8. But there are many beautiful moments in the show, Edwards story is close to my heart too.
Stacey: Yes, the mirror mirror episode, it’s just a really inspiring episode. Also the episode where we walked Montreal fashion week, we all got changed on stage and that was a big deal for everyone, again we were showing off our flaws to the public so it was difficult but inspiring.
Do you think the show will help change public views on beauty standards?
Anna: I think the show will be a piece of a puzzle of a much bigger picture. The fashion industry is embracing more and more individuality. If we can only make a few people feel more worthy, more included and better about themselves it is all worth it.
Stacey: Absolutely, the fashion hero is the first show of its type, it shows ordinary people from all over the world of all different colours shapes and sizes competing. Again people will watch the show and see people like me for example, I’m not slim and I’m not a typical model, I saw Ashley Graham and said “if she can do it do can I” and I think a lot of people who watch the show will look at all of us and think the same.
Also people will see our stories and how much the cruel standards have effected our self esteem and overall health and hopefully change will be made.
Be sure to catch The Fashion Hero, available now on Amazon!