In July 2013, I was featured in the refreshing-like-watermelon Curvaceous Inc– a fashion magazine for women, celebrating curves of ALL shapes and sizes. It was an honour to be a part of such a fresh and forward thinking magazine. Since then, CI‘s founder and Editor In Chief Leanna Grant has worked tirelessly to spread the message of her empowering publication – and it shows! Her brain-child won the award for Best Magazine at the 2013 British Plus Size Awards. Since then, the unstoppable Ms Grant has secured front cover appearances from the likes of Amy Childs, Hayley Hasselhoff and Hollyoaks’ actress Jessica Ellis. Not to mention that CI has been nominated for Best Magazine again at the 2014 British Plus Size Awards! I’m so pleased that this visionary magazine is growing from strength to strength and I’m delighted to have interviewed Leanna exclusively for iamleyahshanks.com.
Have you ever battled with any body image demons?
Yes, since I gave birth to my daughter nearly 14 years ago! I was really slim and curvy but I then put weight on, which has fluctuated up and down ever since. I battle with body image ALL the time but that is why Curvaceous Inc is VERY important to me because it helps me and other women feel confident and learn to love their body regardless of shape or size.
What was your inspiration and vision in creating Curvaceous Inc?
I have a love for fashion magazines but couldn’t relate to any of the women in them. I feel the media have this position of power and aren’t promoting a positive message to young girls and women in general, so you could say I saw a gap in the market. I hope that we continue to grow and become a globally successful magazine.
I personally love CI because it showcases girls of all kinds, a theme which runs consistently through its social media channels too. Why do you think this is important to do?
We are all different and I think it needs to be more visible. It is extremely important to me to showcase different sizes and diversity. I come from a multi-cultural family so I know no different; however, this isn’t seen in mainstream magazines.
You are an amazing inspiration with the work that you do promoting body confidence and I absolutely love the passion you have.
Has there been a CI feature or interview that you’re particularly proud of? Why?
There is too many to choose from! Carolyn Franklin who is a fashion industry icon and does so many amazing things in and for the industry. Hayley Hasselhoff was one of those moments where I said ‘’did that really happen!?’’ I am a massive Hollyoaks fan so featuring Jessica Ellis was amazing too!
What do you think other magazines need to do MORE and LESS of to help ease this constant pressure on all genders to look stereotypically perfect?
I think there needs to be less talk about diets, more about wellbeing, inspiring and empowering people.
What are your thoughts on excessive Photoshopping?
I don’t agree with it. It plays a massive part in the reasons why people are so body conscious. Mainstream publications are making their audience believe a person is 100% perfect and nobody is.
Has anyone given you any advice that you’ve found particularly inspirational or is there a quote that has really stuck in your mind?
“Gratitude can transform your life.” – Rhonda Byrne
What advice would you give to anyone struggling to accept the way they look?
You are beautiful and you need to love yourself and every inch of your body!