“There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman being comfortable in her perfect imperfections.” Interview with Hayley Hasselhoff

 

 

 


Daughter to a global household name, Hayley Hasselhoff knows what it’s like to be under the spotlight. The beautiful lady has many impressive accomplishments under her belt aged just 22. She’s a successful actress; best known for her role in the ABC Family original series Huge. A highly sought after plus size model; signed to MiLK and Wilhelmina having headlined shows like British Plus Size Fashion Week 2014, Pulp Fashion Week Paris and Anna Scholz for Sheego in Berlin Fashion Week. Hayley regularly promotes body positivity through her social media channels and has subsequently become a role model for many the world over. I spoke to the lady herself about the pressure of being in the public eye and why she thinks promoting positive body image is so important.


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Photography by Andres de Lara


 

Hi Hayley! How is 2015 treating you so far?

It’s been great! I learned so much about myself and my career in 2014 that going into 2015 I am more aware and confident in the direction I am headed.


Are any personal experiences of low body confidence behind your involvement in promoting positive body image?

I struggled with negative thoughts about myself and was bullied when I was younger. I think that it’s only normal for a person to struggle with body image while growing into their figure. Unfortunately, at a young age, you are never taught to love your body for what it is nor made to understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes. I believe this is because society has presented what they think the “perfect body” is, rather than celebrating real life diversity. Thankfully, my experiences in an industry that surrounds itself around body image has helped me become more aware and connected to my body at a young age.


How would you say you managed to beat your bullies and build up your self-esteem?

I think it’s very important to actually be aware of when negative thoughts about yourself start to pop up. You need to work on stopping them right away before it becomes out of control. I’m not saying it’s easy – of course it’s not, but when a negative thought comes to mind, I always make a point to shove it aside by finding something positive to think about in its place. Even today, I still sometimes have days that could be better than others…, but I truly believe that because I am so connected to who I am as a person, that I am now able to enjoy my bad days for what they are and work to get to my good ones.


Was there a particular body positive movement from 2014 which inspired you?

The Instagram account loveyourlines is so beautiful to me and empowering to women everywhere. Two moms started the social media account celebrating real women, real bodies and real self-love. Each post is a story of a woman who has or still is overcoming a struggle to love their body. The beauty in #loveyourlines is that each woman has a story behind their stretch marks which is so inspiring and touching. It has even opened my eyes a bit wider to loving myself and my body. It makes me so happy to know that there are people out there creating sites and social media movements for women and girls of all ages to gather and know that they are not alone. This is something that I truly believe will be a part of what helps us get through our own personal struggles.


How do you feel about the term “plus size”?

I look upon this as an industry term. Ever since I started modelling at the age of 14, I’ve always been categorized as a plus size model. I find the word empowering and only have good thoughts towards it.


Having been a plus size model for a number of years, what changes have you observed throughout the industry and what would you still like to see change?

It pleases me that the availability for on trend, high fashion garments in the industry has progressed greatly. It’s so wonderful to see that so many amazing new and underground plus size designers are getting recognition. It’s also great to see how many runway shows were presented last year to give plus size girls the opportunity to see what fashion is out there for them and a fashion week to look forward to. I think the plus size industry is still finding its niche in the fashion world and I only hope it continues to grow and earn the awareness it deserves. I think that it’s a beautiful thing that we have the opportunity to talk about body image through fashion, for me this is a crucial turning point; suggesting that we are finally in the right direction with promoting healthy body image – and it’s getting noticed.


Do you think that being in the public eye brings with it great attention on physical appearances?

Yes. But it’s all about how you let that affect you and your work. For me thankfully, I am more aware and focused on the art I am creating and what my voice being in the public eye brings, more than being worried about how my physical appearance is being perceived.


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Photography by Andres de Lara


What is your opinion on Photoshop and would you prefer to see more editorials completely free from retouching?

Yes and no. I think that it all depends on the editorial and what is trying to be told. For example, if it’s a piece on body image or the real woman then yes, I think it should be Photoshop free. But some editorials especially high fashion or mystical have a certain story to portray and retouching can enhance the story and bring a different sort of art to it. Morphing someone’s body especially in the plus size market is a different case all together.


In your opinion, what would you like to see done to help alleviate negative body image in today’s young people?

I would love to see more discussion; whether it be in schools, magazines or social media about positive body image and the beauty in diversity.


Where do you think your outlook on body image comes from?

My family always taught me that beauty comes from within. I always say that when you exude love into yourself, you exude love into others. For me, one of the biggest gifts of life is to share love with the world. But it can only be done if you are able to love yourself first. There is nothing rarer, nor more beautiful than a woman being comfortable in her perfect imperfections.


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Photography by Andres de Lara


Follow Hayley on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


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About Leyah Shanks

Positive body image activist and advocate for mental health.

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