I interviewed stylist and designer from the UK; the delightful Joey Bevan. His designs and styling have appeared on the likes of The X Factor, Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model, America’s Next Top Model, Vogue Italia, and InStyle. He has worked alongside brands like D&G and DIOR and has dressed celebrities such as The Saturdays, Jessie J, Melanie Sykes, and Kimberly Walsh.
As if all of that wasn’t quite enough, Joey bagged himself the national award for ”Inspirational Youth of the Year” in 2013 and is tipped for further huge success in the future.
Photographed by Chris Davis (specular)
Have you ever experienced any body image issues?
I have struggled with body image for most of my life. Since I hit puberty I had an issue with the way I looked! I hated every physical part of me.
Have you ever come across any pressure to conform to a stereo-typically ‘’manly’’ image?
I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled to feel manly, but I have suffered through trying to look perfect and have a body like a fitness model. Working in the fashion industry I regularly see men with ”perfect” bodies – the square pecks and stunning 6 packs – and I always wanted to look that way; “sexy and fit”.
What are your views on the modelling industry at present?
To be fair, I think the industry has got so much better over the last five years. The plus size image when I started in the industry was a UK size 10-12 and the “normal” model size was 4-6, that has changed a lot, even the names have changed; plus size is now known as curve and can be anything from a 12-plus. I see models who are a size 16 and working very well in the industry now. The sample size model has changed from a 4-6 UK size and is now a size 8 which I think is great. It’s so important to see the industry change and be a more healthy place to be. I do know some models who are genetically slimmer and are completely healthy, they just happen to be a size 6.
How do you feel about mainstream media’s portrayal of male body types?
I think it has changed a lot. It was all about looking a certain way just for the sake of looking good, whereas now I think it’s beginning to aim to be more health focused, but I do feel there is still a long way to go!
Why do you think that men are ridiculed for speaking up about the topic of body image?
I think it goes back to what you said earlier in the interview… About mean being looked at as “manly”! Guys don’t normally talk to their friends about how fat they feel, or how they don’t like their thighs; it’s not considered the “normal” thing to do for a man. So, for a man to come forward about body issues, it’s scary. Even though it makes themselves and others feel good to know that they are not the only guy in the world who has body confidence issues! Even the hottest male models have them, a lot of men just keep them inside and don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I think that as a culture, we are getting more and more open when it comes to male body image issues – which is fantastic – and more men are comfortable talking about personal problems and worries.
As a designer and stylist, what change would you personally like to see in the industry?
The one thing that bugs me beyond belief is gossip magazines. I can’t stand how they sell magazines by writing stories on how “so and so hasn’t lost her baby weight in less than 3 hours of giving birth”. I mean, the poor woman literally just gave birth – it’s healthy to have the weight for breast feeding and also to put what she needs back into her body! I’m sick of them making money because stars are ”over weight”, depressed or have broken up with a long term boyfriend. This kind of media will always exist, selling and making money from people’s personal issues and worries. I hear people slag off fashion magazines because of their use of slim models, but the difference is they’re not writing on the cover “we have skinny, beautiful, rich, models and celebs in our magazine and they look better than you!”, they just display a photo; we as people write the headlines or stories.
What made you want to get involved in the Be Real campaign?
I wanted to show people that struggling with body confidence issues is normal, because NO ONE is perfect. We are all different. Perfection doesn’t exist – even in the fashion and celebrity world! Confidence is from inside you. When you wake up in the morning, look into the mirror and say “well I think you are great the way you are”.
Have you read a quote or been given a piece of advice that has inspired you?
I really like the quote; “The best curve on your body is your smile”. Nothing says confidence like a person who enjoys whom they are!
I like to live by the saying; “Laughter is the key to happiness”. It’s true, when you can laugh at any situation thrown at you, the more happier in life you will be!