Plus Model and Embody Denim Designer Natalie Wakeling Shares Her Story and Offers a 15% Discount to You For One Week! Her Jeans Are Awesome and For Women of ALL Sizes!

Photographed by Anna Bertalli

Natalie Wakeling is a plus-size model and clothing designer from New South Whales, Australia. Natalie is the youngest of four daughters. She grew up surrounded by a strong influence of fashion and a desire to be a model. In 1999, Natalie was one of Australia’s first plus-size models to appear in consecutive editorials for Cosmopolitan magazine. She helped to break the stereotype that only straight models should appear in mainstream magazines. In 2006, Natalie Wakeling created EMBODY DENIM, which is a denim line for every women of every size who has ever struggled to find a perfect pair of jeans.

First plus model used for Australia’s Cosmopolitan magazine.

How did you begin your career as a model?

I was quite athletic, had a solid build as a teenager, and had secret aspirations of being a model. I just happened to be too big for straight size modelling so I pretty much gave up the thought of ever being a model. When I left school, I trained as a photographer and make-up artist. One day, I was working on a shoot as the make- up artist, when the photographer said that I should try plus-size modeling and that the best agency was BGM Models. I met with Darrianne Donnelly, the agency director, and she signed me immediately. I have been with her since I was eighteen years of age.

Was it hard for you to make the transition from straight to plus modeling?

Letting go of all the fears that you harbour about putting on weight was hard, but I soon relaxed and enjoyed being the size that I was, which allowed me to be a model. It was a little scary to decide that I was no longer going to skip meals and exercise like a maniac to remain thinner than I was supposed to be. As soon as I started to land some major photographic campaigns, I found that my inner confidence grew and I started to understand more about myself.

Photographed by Anna Bertalli

Do you feel that plus-sized models are becoming more widely accepted by today’s media?

The change has been quite phenomenal over the past two years. My agency, BGM Models, has been slowly chipping away at the mainstream fashion Industry for over a decade now, and I’m glad to say that things have moved forward quite dramatically here in Australia in the past twelve months. We now see plus-size models included in main fashion festivals, along with magazines using bigger models in every issue.

I was honoured when asked to be the face of ‘Every Body Counts’ Fashion Festival in Perth, Western Australia. To have reached a point in my career where I stay in five star hotels, be met at the airport with a limousine, and to treated like a queen is awesome. Whilst in Perth, I had the privilege of meeting other well-known fashion designers and attending VIP events. I even managed to deliver a speech to a full house, which included Jerry Hall. The ‘Every Body’ parade featured fifteen women of all shapes and sizes. It was a huge success and was special for the fact that it was included on the main programme.

Here is another article about The Perth Fashion Festival:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/-/lifestyle/7919319/fashion-launch-for-every-body/

What inspired you the most when creating Embody Denim?

Beside the natural desire to exceed in something you love, I desperately wanted to wear an amazing pair of jeans designed for my shape. The concept of my brand was very different. My jeans are made for different body shapes without focusing on the size.

Photographed by Marvin Joseph. The group shot includes BGM models Kate Hislop, Natalie in front,Laura Wells, and Kiralee Martin.

What was the first pair of jeans you created?

For my first collection, I designed four styles – Babe, Body Love, CHIC, and Ice Queen. Since then I have expanded my range to include twelve fabulous styles.  I have also designed a jacket and skirt to add to the collection. I’m currently working on my fashion range, which I hope to launch in 2011.

Do you have a favorite cut from Embody?

I love the ‘Bella’ style, as it is just so glamorous and holds everything in the right place.

I love that you created jeans for every body type…brilliant!  Was that difficult to achieve?

The sampling process is tiresome, but once I had the measurements figured out for certain body types,  it all just fell into place.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Every style I have ever made in every colour–maybe around 20 + pairs.

Photographed by Marvin Joseph. Natalie modeling her Embody Denim. Natalie is the designer and she is constantly updating the styles (for all sizes) to correspond with the current fashion trends.

What Embody cut has been the most popular?

Everybody loves the ‘Bebe’ and ‘Tempt’ narrow styles. These two styles are totally different, being the Bebe more suited to apple body shapes and the tempt narrow being perfect for pear shaped ladies that struggle with gapping waistbands.

Are there any trends coming out next season that we should be keeping an eye out for?

I will be releasing a brand new crop style jean with lots of detailed panels. It is the perfect jean that manages to make everyone look a size smaller. We are still love the holes and rips and even the acid wash, denim is so varied now that you can pretty much wear whatever you want. I definitely recommend dressing for your shape rather than trying to wear the hottest look of the moment. Confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear.

We all love denim, but what makes denim so important to you?

I guess denim is like a third child to me. To be able to create something and make it work has been a challenge and it has been wonderful to be able to make so many women feel good about themselves whilst wearing Denim that I have designed.

What do you love to pair your embody denim with?

I love a bit of a rock chic feel.  Something sexy under a blazer always looks hot.

Natalie had just been signed with Ford and was able to wear a high end designer Sass and Bide for this photo shoot.

What has been your favorite memory since creating Embody?

I have so many. I guess the day I was able to do my own photographic campaign was really exciting. It was so much fun to direct from behind the camera and to be the boss for the day.

Who would you love to see wear a pair of your jeans?

I have a very long list, but if it was a celebrity, I would love to see a pair on Beyonce.

Where can Plus-Size Models Unite readers find Embody Denim?

It is very easy you can buy direct from http://www.embodydenim.com.au/. I also offer free international shipping.  I would also like to offer your readers a special 15% off for one week.

**To redeem, please email sales@embodydenim.com.au with plusmodelsunite in the subject line. Please mention the size and style that you wish, and Natalie will email you a discount link.

This photograph is from Natalie’s very first shoot with Cosmopolitan ten years ago.  It was eight pages long and made Natalie’s career what it is today.

Have you ever struggled with body image or self esteem issues?

I think every time my body has gone through a radical change, such as the teenage years and after having babies, I start to think about how I can improve my body.

What advice would you give to young girls and women who are struggling?

I think you need to ask yourself– is it really your body your unhappy with or is it another problem?

Talk to your best friend or parents about your issues.  Sometimes it’s as simple as going for a walk to make you feel more at ease with yourself and your body. Check out all the gorgeous curvy women that are really doing well for themselves by just being the way that they were meant to be.

What do you love about yourself?

I’m a pretty approachable person and always laugh very easily (sometimes too loud).

The Men’s Style magazine shoot was a first for a plus size model.

What are you excited about right now?

The possibilities of the future. Not knowing what’s around the corner from one week to the next.

*Thank you, Natalie!

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