Italian Plus Model: Valentina Fogliani is Passionate About Being Healthy & Promoting Positive Body Image.

Photographed by Ferdinando Serra

Valentina Fogliani is from Modena, Italy. She has lived in Milan for the past six years as a successful plus-size model.

Before Valentina started her modeling career she participated in the “Miss Italia” beauty contest as a size twelve. The organizers told her that she was “a little fat.” She was young and wanted to become a model so she lost weight. She was a successful “straight” model, but she seriously sacrificed her health to stay a slim size.

Valentina said, “For me it was a very strong sacrifice to resist food and stay a slim size that didn’t represent my real personality or body type and in 2004/2005 I became a plus-size model. I started to feel better and my job was so much more wonderful and exciting than before.”

She has posed for many fantastic clients and recently posed for photographer Luca Patrone for the Curvy Can “I’m Not A Fashion Victim” campaign. The campaign helps support positive body image and draws awareness to eating disorders.

The  Italian plus models (left to right) Marina Ferrari, Valentina Fogliani, Elisa D”Ospina, Mjriam Bon, Eleonora Finazzer, and Latvian plus model Aija Barzdina, all came together to pose for photographer Luca Patrone for the Curvy Can “I’m Not A Fashion Victim” Campaign.

Please tell us about your shoot for the “I’m Not a Fashion Victim” campaign.

In September, after a shooting with my friends Aija, Mjriam, Elisa, and Marina, I felt the need to do something about alimentary disorders like obesity, bulimia, and anorexia. We are plus-size Italian models and we are so happy to be like that. We are happy to work in fashion with our bodies the way they are. I thought it was important to do a campaign, which represents our beauty without the filter of skinny fashion. Our beauty is the beauty of all girls and women who aren’t submitting to the fashion style size. Our campaign tells our story — we feel better now with our curves!!! I suffered of bulimia for four years so for me personally, this message is very important!

How do you define beauty?

For me beauty is a mix of elegance and “savoir faire,” which is not tied to appearance, but is inside of us all. Sometimes I feel full of beauty only because I am happy. For me, beauty is when my body and my soul feel in harmony.

Photographed by Ferrantini

What advice would you give to girls and women, who are struggling with body image and self-esteem issues?

I would like to tell girls that it is very important that we accept our body. To be beautiful we do not need to be skinny like models or look like societies stereotype of beauty. Each person has a different personality and a different body. We should all be unique!!!

Are you currently modeling outside of Europe also, if no, do you hope to model internationally?

Usually, I work in Italy, but sometime I model in London (where I have an agency who represents me) or in Germany. I would like to expand my modeling outside of Italy to places such as Europe and the USA!

What do you like most about modeling?

I think the most interesting thing about modeling is traveling and to meeting strange and interesting people!
I prefer the plus-size modeling world because as a plus-size model I am happier. We can eat what we want, we don’t become sad or anxious about our weight, and we can also work if we have children. I have met a lot of plus models who do shoots during their pregnancy. I think this world is more “human” than fashion skinny!

Sinyus Photopgrapher

Tell us about your involvement with Teatro-Cucina.

This is the show of my company Theatre “Teatro in Povere” and I am an actress in Teatro-Cucina. This is a show with three actors and a musician. We offer food to guests during the show. The show is a beautiful mix of food and theatre emotions. Teatro-Cucina is a show I love because it tells a life story of human beings, love, and food. These are all things necessary to live a very good life.

I was “regular” model until 2004. I suffered a lot as a skinny size, because my body conformation was not so skinny. I had bulimia for four years from 2002 through 2006. I found a way to accept my body through acting and performing. I started to see my soul and not only my appearance as a skinny or not skinny body.

What are you excited about right now?

I hope to travel with our project and our “I’m Not A Fashion Victim” campaign. I think it is very important to visit schools and to speak about bulimia and anorexia because teenagers are victims of those disorders! I hope we can speak about our campaign on television, radio, and in magazines because it is so important that people know about us and about those very dangerous disorders such as bulimia and anorexia!

Photographed by Ferdinando Serra

*Valentina, thank you for sharing your personal story with us and the world. We applaud your passion to reach out to girls and women!

We would love to hear from our readers! Is there a special topic you would like us to cover? Do you have a story you would like to share? We are here for you!

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  13. Hello Valentina,

    I just want to say I really respect what you’re doing to help promote positive body image. I have also recovered from an eating disorder and know how difficult it is. Congratualtions for choosing health!

    I have always wanted to model but I know my body really isn’t the type for the industry. I’m not curvy plus size or skinny straight size, I’m the ‘middle man’. But I’ve learned to be okay with that. Some days it’s hard but we all have bad days. The trick is learning how to deal with them in a healthy way.

    I’m hoping to go to Italy at the end of January, I’ll be on the lookout for your work!

    Take care,

    Elyse

  14. Hello Valentina,
    I just wanted to compliment you on what you are promoting. I feel this is very necessary to combat this twisted idea that most people , especially young people , have that models should be the thin stereo type instead of just being themselves. I am a photographer , i do mainly creative art, but also photoshoots at times. I hate this artificial business what every magazine is full of now a days, hardly anything is still real or portrays a genuine feeling.
    I hope more people will follow in your footsteps . I am trying to do my part by keeping myself and my photography involved in real life.
    Cheers Valentina and congratulations with the arrival of your baby..ciao, Johannes

  15. Hi Valentina,

    I am in the process of creating my own company/website as I have a Public Health background. I would be so honored to feature your article on my site. I think your discussion on being comfortable with your own body image is so important and definitely a public health issue. I was wondering if I can interview you in person? Will you be in the U.S. anytime soon? I may be in Verona, Italy end of December.

    Best Regards,
    Tara

    • valentina fogliani Says:

      Hi Tara, nice to meet you, I’m pleasure and so happy to receved your comment on my interview.
      I am very happy if you use the article on your web site!
      Usually i am not in U.S. but if you come in Italy I will bw pleasure to invite you in Modena, next to Verona if you want to make an interview whith me!
      I am pregnant at now, my baby will come at the end of December, if you come you will meet also my baby!
      Sorry for my bad english!
      Thank you,

      valentina

  16. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sharon Haywood. Sharon Haywood said: Italian 'plussize' models participate in "I'm Not a Fashion Victim" campaign to raise awareness of eating disorders http://bit.ly/ay8Q2j #ED […]

  17. Lindsey Bowen Says:

    beautifully WRITTEN ARTICLE, AND WHAT AN AWESOME WOMEN SHE IS!
    THIS IS ALL VERY INSPIRING, THANK YOU FOR LETTING US HAVE ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE AND INSPIRATION!!

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