What it's like to be a curve model during Fashion Week | Lovelle's story | Interview
August 17, 2023 • • Lovelle Hill
In the lead-up to Fashion month, the BRIDGE team sat down with curve model, Lovelle, as she opens up about her experience walking the runway. From being the first ever Juicy Couture curve model to making her runway debut for Karoline Vitto, Lovelle discusses her journey from humble beginnings in southeast London to making her dreams a reality on the catwalk.
When and how did you start your modelling career?
Lovelle: I have modelled over the years because of my music. I guess it goes hand in hand, with music and fashion. Two years ago is when I decided to take it seriously, that’s when Bridge came in. It just made sense because then I knew exactly the kind of model I wanted to be and how I wanted people to see me. I felt like that conversation was understood, so I didn't feel apprehensive anymore. I want to show that I could actually do it, you can do it all.
How did you get into Bridge?
Lovelle: My old agent Lauren, she's so lovely, placed me with Bridge. She knew we had the same vision and that the brands Bridge work with were a good fit for me. After lockdown, I spoke with the team, and now I'm here!
Tell us about your runway debut.
Lovelle: I was working at the Standard and Madeleine Ostlie saw me and asked who I was signed to! After that, I got an email from Bridge saying I’ve got a casting with Karoline Vitto. Me and Karoline became cool, and we are both based in Southeast London! She's all for body confidence, and Maddie's just a baddie herself. Bridge then sorted everything after the fitting, and I got booked to walk the show. It was great. Jourdan Dunn was in the crowd. I remember I came home after the show and I cried because I know I'm a model, but I'd been told that I'm not, so when I did this, I was like, I'm a real model. I went out to celebrate and that was when I saw I was posted on Vogue, and I was like this is what it's about, this is about doing things that people dream of and making it a reality.
What was going through your head as you walked the show?
Lovelle: People usually are thinking, don't trip, but I just said to myself, don't do anything different. The reason you are here is because you were doing just you. You need to keep that same energy that you had the first time because this is why we're here. Just trust yourself.
How did it feel walking the show with other curve models?
Lovelle: I think it's nice to see someone that reminds you of yourself on the runway because that is the only way really that you are going to also imagine yourself in a situation like that. A lot of times, even being a woman in general, being a black woman, being from an area I grew up in, it's hard to imagine those things because you are not usually the first one who is picked, so to see people that were like myself was so nice. It just felt great to be recognised and be seen.
Do you find that brands have a curve model in their runways or in their campaigns just to tick a box?
Lovelle: 100%. The whole point of having different people on runways or having people shooting for their brands is that this world is made up of so many different people. This world is not full of slim, white, tall, blonde women. There’s more to life than this. I think people don't understand. With Juicy Couture, for example, I became their first ever curve model in the UK; do you know how many messages I've received from girls who are saying, “I finally see myself”? This is what is out there in our world.
In your opinion, has the industry progressed in showcasing body inclusivity?
Lovelle: I don't know if I'm looking for it or if I see it because it’s there. You know when you start to notice something because, obviously I follow models like Paloma and Precious, so am I noticing it because I'm following them or if we are actually out there? I think it's changing, but I still think there’s still a long way to go. I feel that sometimes there's still this aesthetic that we're still looking for which is the perfect curve, but everyone’s bodies are different. I still think there's more we can do.
What do you think the industry could do more to move forward?
Lovelle: I do see the same faces, so I think we need to get out of that comfort zone and try something different. I would love to see a bit of rotation and see new faces and people willing to give chances and try something new. I love people doing what they need to do and being blessed by it, but there's a lot of room for all of us.
Are there any brands that you think that are progressing in terms of diversity?
Lovelle: Savage, Ester Manas, Sinead O’Dwyer, I think GCDS is slowly getting there, I love them all.
Do you have any future aspirations for the upcoming fashion weeks? Any dream designers that you want to walk for?
Lovelle: For Ester Manas, I need to walk in their clothes. The clothes are so beautiful and it's nothing I've seen before, it makes me feel powerful and just very feminine, I want to feel like a queen, and I feel like Ester makes you feel that way. Also, Di Petsa who I had a go-see for, I didn’t get the show, but I’ve made the first step and now the goal is to get to the next step, which is walking the show. Di Petsa gives me goddess and that’s all I like to encompass in myself. I'd love to walk for GCDS because they're super cool. I want to walk shows in Paris and Milan and see my body type where it’s not as common. I just want to continue doing things that people wouldn't think I would. I love the word no; I love being challenged.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Lovelle: I feel like I've been an adult from a very young age, and I am very hard on myself, even when I'm doing great. From January to now, I got my place, I got on Juicy Couture, I've done campaigns, and released my music. So when I think about my younger self, I just want to say, trust in yourself, trust that out of anyone, you are the one who's able to get yourself out of it, you are the one that sees the vision. My trust in God, my faith in God and myself is huge, and I would like to tell her, trust me, you are going to be okay. You don't have to worry too much about things.