How one plus-size model is taking on the fashion industry
Ray Segev opens up about her struggles and reveals her plans to revolutionize fashion.
From a small town near Jerusalem, internationally recognized plus-size model Ray Segev blogs about beauty ideal, body image and self love. Segev knows a thing or two about such subjects. She’s endured countless uncomfortable situations in her journey to become one of the world’s most-recognized models who’s curvy, like real women, and not unrealistically supermodel thin.
"There have been countless instances where I have been disrespected,” Segev told From The Grapevine. “Most of them happened because the team members didn’t treat me as equally because I do not fit the mold. In their minds I was not the ideal of beauty and therefore, not worth taking photos of.”
Segev didn’t retreat from the camera. She simply started collaborating with brands who embraced her curves and believed in making fashion accessible to everyone. She now has a slew of global fashion and lingerie campaigns in her portfolio. She feels a sense of pride that her native Israel became the first country in the world to ban underweight models.
Segev says she just wants to see more diversity in fashion. You could even call it her personal mission. Although approximately 75 percent of the global adult female population is size 10-32, it’s a demographic in fashion that has been served poorly. Most magazine spreads and couture fashion shows around the world feature paper-thin models who appear drastically underweight. It's an unfair and irresponsible beauty ideal.
"Each and every woman should be able to choose what kind of style she wants to adopt regardless to her shape and size,” says Segev. “Options should be open and available to them. The reality is that in this age of globalization, with information accessible from around the world, there is a growing need for diversity and it is a prominent matter that fashion brands can no longer ignore.”
Back in 2009, after heeding the suggestions from friends, Segev had professional photos taken of herself. “I hated myself in the photos and decided to just forget about the whole thing,” says Segev. A few days after she received the CD with the photos, Glamour magazine published a story featuring a model, Lizzie Miller, with real curves. “The Woman on Page 194” resonated with women around the world, and it created a social media storm that caught Segev’s attention.
“The article about Lizzie Miller literally changed my life,” says Segev. “Looking at this beautiful woman made me feel legit for the first time in my life. And I had this epiphany: This is a message I must pay forward. So more and more women around the world will understand that it’s just perfect to be who they are. That’s when I decided that I’m going to be a model and no one will stop me.”
Segev now only collaborates with, and models for, brands and designers that share her passion for changing outdated and unrealistic perceptions of beauty. She uses her blog, which she started while living in New York, as a tool to communicate with her followers, share style tips and relatable stories, all of which are echoed on her gorgeously curated Instagram account. Her Instagram profile warmly welcomes all and reads: Fashion belongs to everyone.
“I just want women to feel inspired,” says Segev. “Even if one person changes their flawed body image because of it, then I have succeeded.”
Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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