A Derry model has said the fashion industry has become more and more responsible in its choice of models in an era when social media continues to be a source of body-image anxiety for many women.
Kayleigh O'Reilly, aged 26, who is a former Miss Northern Ireland, made the comments while speaking about her recent experience as a lingerie model for the local fashion brand Amazing Nikki.
She said the fashion industry has finally realised women don’t want to see airbrushed pictures of size zero models online or in magazines.
“I am really passionate about making things realistic for real women, so I was honoured to be asked to be an ambassador for Amazing Nikki. But I was a bit wary - I am 26 now, I am a woman now not a young girl, but that is exactly what they wanted for the brand," she said.
“I have wide hips and I am broad, so sometimes it has been a struggle to find underwear that fits me well. I sat down with the designers and worked out how the underwear should feel on me, which is more realistic for the average woman. I wanted to be a voice for woman - we want sexy underwear but we want it to be comfortable too," she added.
The Derry women said she was happy to embrace her size 10-12 curves to prove that sexy lingerie isn’t just for super-skinny girls.
“The fashion industry has finally come full circle. Now they are using unairbrushed pictures, curvier models, girls with stretch marks, and that is what women need to see," she said.
This revolution has come, ironically, at a time when demands being placed on young women by themselves and their peers via electronic communications are more unrealistic than ever, she remarked.
“Social media can put a lot of pressure on women, and certainly young girls, because people can post pictures with filters which aren’t real life. I was a bit scared of putting myself out there and modelling this underwear at first, because I am real and I knew there would be a reaction, but it has been overwhelmingly positive.”
The lingerie is currently sold exclusively online at www.amazingnikki.com and will be expanding with stores across Europe this year.