The Model Diaries: The Bad.

The Model Diaries: The Bad.

Welcome to The Model Diaries, a 3-Part feature exploring and exposing The Good, The Bad and The Bat Shit Crazy events and experiences of my life as a glamour model. Parental Warning: Expect nudity, alcohol, guns and lots of WTF moments.


As the great Marian Wright Edelman once said, In every seed of good there is always a piece of bad. With the tremendous highs of my career came some crashing lows. The rejection, the waiting, the lies, the late payments, the never payments, the broken promises and the constant attack on your image. Of course, you go into this career knowing you are trying to get a job because of the way you look. If you grasped at the root of it’s definition and tugged on it’s weeds you would be floored by the reminder that you chose to be judged, to have your petals plucked off by a passing stranger. But no one’s trunk is that strong to not be shifted by the storm of critiques that shower upon on you in weekly downpours. By your agent, the client, the casting director, the make-up artist, the readers, the twitter followers, the YouTube commenter’s. I listened to Fearne Cotton’s podcast “Happy Place” recently where she spoke with Emma Willis about her time as a model. Emma, being the God-like woman she is shared how her self-proclaimed glass half-empty ‘this won’t last forever’ attitude helped her deal with the fact not everyone is going to like the way she looked, and that she was okay with that. This is the attitude you aspire to reach, the IDGAF vibe. Some days are easier than others, some days you go ‘Eh, oh well I wasn’t the right fit’ and you just move on. The days when it’s harder to do this is when someone highlights something that you already hate about yourself.

When you’re the face of pubes being back in fashion in Australia. (Picture Magazine)

I used to shoot Page 3 for one of the newspapers and the photographer had a reputation for ahem- ‘saying it like it is’ shall we say. You’d walk into the studio with baited breath, hoping that this time you’d get a pass and she’d fail to mention your wonky boobs. “Your eyebrows need doing; Your nails are awful; Learn how to curl your eyelashes; Are you moisturising your skin” – This was just the onslaught from the make-up chair. You nod along sweetly whilst inside your budding flower is now shrinking through shame and embarrassment. After the most recent downpour which has left you feeling like a rat drowned in your own misery, now you have to step on set for the shoot and pretend you feel real sexy about all your flaws. The blasé comments spill onto the hardwood floor as you stand around, desperate to impress whilst contemplating just how much you need the £300 to simply be insulted all afternoon. “You can’t wear this because you’re too big”, “Lift your arm up because you’re left boob is saggy”, “You can’t do that pose because you have chunky legs”, “When are you going to get your teeth done?” Oddly there was something extremely intriguing about this woman. She was hurting your feelings but you still respected her, she was kind of…. sweet. Much like a crazy aunt who slags off your outfit and flirts with your boyfriend, she’s not being that offensive, but you’re definitely not offering her your couch for the night when she argues with Uncle Bill after downing a bottle of vodka. I’ve heard she’s made many girls cry when they left her studio, but we all went back anyway; Whether through some fuckery of wanting her approval or really needing some money for your big night out in Oceana on the weekend to meet Gaz from Geordie Shore. Being told the shit things you already know about you is well, shit.

Next comes the interviews. Those shitty, demeaning, dehumanising interviews. I once went through the effort of having a test shoot done for Valentine’s Day, with the idea that the photographer and my agent would try sell the pics to one of the publications and earn us all some solid queen elizabethz£££. To start with, the whole context of the shoot was just cringe and lacked any smidge of creativity, with it’s white wall back drop and heart foiled balloon. The photographer was hating it, I was hating it, and it was ironically a big fuckery of loathness for what was supposed to be the most romantic and heartfelt day of the year. After battling on (first world problems IKR) through the shoot and getting dem’ money shot$$$ we managed to secure an image sale to the Daily Mirror. Wooooo. The glamour. A woman from the newspaper phoned me up to do the interview which was going to accompany the images. “Hi Jess, I’m just going to ask you a few questions” Sure, fab, yeah, continue. “What’s your favourite sex position?” _______________________ Flat lined. My eyes rolled to the back of my head as I couldn’t comprehend a reason why the fuck I would divulge this information to you, to tell your thousands of readers, the possibility of my parents seeing, to be belittled down to nothing but a sex move and for what exactly? The Twenty Five Quid a picture you’re going to pay me? No thanks hun. “I don’t answer questions like that sorry”. “Oh, okay well next one. What’s your signature move in the bedroom?” _______________ *my eyes have come full circle by now* “I don’t answer questions like that sorry”. “Well um, they’re all like that really so do you want to have a think and get back to me in an hour?”. It took me 1.5 seconds to think. I’m not doing it. My agent continued to tell me how they won’t use the images without the interview, how they were only words, how my career was only worth the £75 they were going to pay me and the privilege of being known as Doggy Davies for the rest of my life. Okay I made that last bit up. But it’s safe to say that that one was filed under the ‘How I’ve wasted my life instead of working towards having a ‘real’ job saving other peoples lives‘ folder.

Let’s talk about the photoshoots with people who you don’t actually know. Who you’ve never met. Who aren’t a brand, a magazine, a company. I am honestly flabbergasted that there isn’t more horror stories out there of models being abused or exploited in these situations. Although being in the Harvey Weinstein era I am sure that there are unfortunately many out there, who felt and still feel like they couldn’t speak up without it affecting their career. British Glamour Model Chloe Ayling’s story of her being drugged and kidnapped by some dickhead in Milan after being lured there for a fake photoshoot was unfathomable for some people to believe, but I was just shocked that this was one of the first times it had happened (or that we’ve heard about at least- we’ve all watched Taken). You rock up as a young woman on your own, to a location which is usually isolated i.e a hotel room, an apartment, a studio etc, to meet someone- usually a man in this industry- that you have never met, and then strip off and have your pics taken. When you type it out like that it sounds fucking ludicrous. How could I be so stupid? But you put trust in your agent, in your colleagues, in the industry. That everyone is in the same boat and just trying to make a living out of it. I’ve had a couple photographer’s be a little bit handsy when moving you into positions that made me freeze up and think plz stop touching me. Would I of felt awkward if we were on a big set with ten other people around? No, probably not. But when you’re in a two ft by two ft hotel room by yourself the situation is a tad more intimidating. Read the room guys.

Talking of trusting your agent, early on in my career I was booked for a job for ‘Harley Davidson Magazine’ – Does this even exist? Did it ever exist? Who fucking knows. It definitely isn’t something I’ve found on Google. Anyway, young and full of enthusiasm I headed down to London to meet the photographer Sal* (name changed cos I don’t wanna die.) I walked into the studio which was on an industrial type-esque estate and was greeted by Sal, a big bald chap. He seemed friendly enough and I sat down to get my hair and make-up done. What unfolded was one of the strangest shoots I’ve ever experienced. First off the clothes he handed me- some random Marilyn Monroe type floaty dress. A corset. I think some leather was thrown in there. It was all just so fucking random and I remember thinking…. What the fuck does this have to do with Harley Davidson? I plodded through the shoot until we hit a stumbling block. “Have you ever experienced real sadness in your life?” ….. “I want you to cry and look really sad”….. “Think of someone close to you who has died”….. Erm. WTF. Yes, I’m sure all professional lad mag’ shoots want you to cry on camera about your deceased family member whilst wearing pleather and wishing you were the one who was dead. I think I realised quite quickly after the crying request that this was probably not a photoshoot for a magazine. Thank fuck I didn’t shoot topless at the time because things could have got really weird, really fast. The whole shoot just left me with a weird vibe and I was glad to get out of there. I told my agent that I wasn’t happy with how the shoot went and that I wouldn’t be shooting with Sal again. A few months later and without seeing any pictures from the shoot or publication of these images (there’s a surprise) my agent emails to inform me Sal wants to shoot with me again. Yeah I’m not doing that. I told her that after the last time I’d already made it pretty obvious that I didn’t have a burning desire to go and weep about my personal life with my tits half out to an old man again. Weird that. Skip to a few weeks later when I’m cruising down the coast of West Wales for the weekend when I get an angry message from my agent. “WHERE R U?” Erm just passed through that well known seaside town of Aberaeron, why? “UR SUPPOSED TO BE SHOOTING WITH SAL TODAY! I CONFIRMED IT” Oh my bad, because what part of “He makes me uncomfortable I’m not shooting with him again” did I not make clear? “Don’t put anything on twitter and I’m going to have to say you broke down on your way there” Or maybe just tell him I don’t want to shoot with him again cos he wanted me to shed tears. This news did not go down well with Sal. Sal was not happy. Sal tweeted about unprofessional models “breaking down” on the way to the shoot (Fair play Sal, I wouldn’t of believed it either). Sal then proceeded to tweet me asking when I was going to fix my teeth. Sal mad. Be less like Sal.

Trusting your agent. Ahhh this could be a theme. Perhaps the ultimate horror story of my life as a glamor model falls under this umbrella. A betrayal of trust I’ve never really discussed, or ever really confronted. But we’ll leave that one for the book, shall we?


Keep an eye out for the 3rd and final feature of The Model Diaries, aka The Crazy, coming to Jabber With Jess soon! In the mean time be sure to spend your lunch breaks trawling through the rest of my blog posts and let me know what you think!

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The Model Diaries: The Good.

Welcome to The Model Diaries, a 3-Part feature exploring and exposing The Good, The Bad and The Bat Shit Crazy events and experiences of my life as a glamour model. Parental Warning: Expect nudity, alcohol, guns and lots of WTF moments.


I wanted to kick this series off with the good, because boy there sure was a lot of good. Being in the World of modelling and I guess on a wider scale, you could say the entertainment industry, was as electrifying and intoxicating as you could imagine. There was a sort of provactive appeal to the uncertainty of the career path ahead, which enticed you in with it’s “what if’s” and the “could be’s”. An appeal in which I imagine only the most fucked up optimistic of individuals would decide to enthral themselves within instead of arming themselves with the security of knowing you had a job to wake-up to in the morning. Nevertheless, the potential in which lay ahead was far too alluring for a vibrant young soul with a creative mind and a lust for life (yep that’s me). I left for University at 18 with no desire to become a sociologist, but a loose plan of crawling my way through my course with as little enthusiasm as possible whilst being closer to London- which equalled closer to my modelling dream. I never actually wanted to live in London mind, you can take the girl out to Wales n’ all that.

Nuts Mag Shoot, 2014 ish?

I could start reeling off good memories from day one of my first ever photoshoot, right up to the present days of weird-posing my way through a May Contain Girl (MCG) set with a slightly podgier belly and a-lot less flexible legs. I know my sullen-and-yet possibly over the top previous declaration that my modelling career is over whilst continuing to post new pics’ from shoots on social media has confused a few of you (no need to be so desperate for me to retire god damnit) but the truth is modelling is no longer a career for me, I.E: I don’t shoot enough to make a living off it, I.E.I.E: A bitch needs too eat. But I still shoot with MCG because I adore it. The team which is behind this website have been a part of so many of my most cherished and memorable moments throughout my career. I shot with these photographers on my second Nuts Magazine Shoot, one which brought about a kind of “I could really do this” realisation moment in my life. One which also brought about a certain Ms Fisher into my life. That’s right, Joey bloody Fisher. We met on set of said Nuts shoot, “Lucy Vixen’s Busty New Babes” one believes, and instantly hit it off. The moment of meeting in which many of you have asked about and are probably hoping was a lot more exciting than the reality really is went a little something like: “You’re from Wales? I’m from Wales!”, “Ahhh, you’re from Wales? I’m from Wales!” “Oh class”. And the rest, as they say, is history. Six-ish plus years on myself and the Fish are two-peas in a pod, floating around a pan of boiling hot water screaming “EVERYTHING IS FIIIIINE”. The Good in which I owe to my modelling career is most definitely a plethora of friendships.

Another “good” in which derives from these awesome photographers was my first shoot for FRONT mag’. Shot in the kitchen of what I can only describe as someone’s Nan’s 500-year old townhouse with possibly the filthiest oven I’ve ever seen, blossomed a coming-of-age shoot for myself, a creative style I had never been a part of before. Whilst still being relatively new to the industry, all my previous photo shoots had been of the typical glamour type. Big tits, Big Hair, Red Lips, Sexy lingerie. You get the picture. But this one was different. This one was fucking cool. The concept was me baking, which was ironic considering no one had probably used this kitchen in a fucking century. My props? Some fake cake mix, a mixing bowl, a spoon and some trays. My outfits? A pair of tiny denim shorts, a beanie hat and some knee-length socks. My make up? MINIMAL. Cue me asking the director if he was sure he didn’t want me to wear any more eyeliner. The typical glamour poses went out the window as I broke my back rolling around on the cracked tiled floor and smothered myself in cold flour mix. This was the my first taste of fake cake batter, my first real taste of the diversity and possibility which aroused in the layers of this industry, and where I first fell in love with the idea of creative direction as a job. This was also where I declared Piers Morgan as my most hated individual in the post-shoot interview (that’s right, I was in the I hate Piers Fan Club before it was cool) – which still stands to this day BTW.

FRONT Mag. Cake tits. Nips removed.

I couldn’t talk about good memories, friendships and diversity in this industry without mentioning the Hot Shots Calendar. I still vividly remember looking at the “pin-up girls” 2013 calendar images online and thinking I want to be one of those girls. The entire concept and production looked so sleek, never mind the rest of the package that came with it; They travelled to America, they got to shoot a load of guns, drink loads of beer and most importantly it was all to raise funds for an amazing cause, Help For Heroes. I don’t know if any of you believe in the Law Of Attraction but I truly believe I thought this opportunity into reality for myself. No one could tell me otherwise, my sights were set and I wanted to be a Hot Shots Girl. Whilst not knowing how the fuck I was going to make this happen, I had utter faith that it was going too. Cue their first ever open casting call for the 2015 Calendar. I had never had a successful casting before. I’d come close, had a couple call backs, but I knew I had to nail this one. I remember the day in London in a small plain white studio, there must have been at least another 30 girls there and it was safe to say I was shitting myself. Which is why when someone cracked open a crate of Corona I was more than happy to take up their offer and get some Dutch (or Mexican) courage in me. Well one beer turned to two, and two beers turned to three, and by the time my turn came around on said casting couch – ahem – with Daisy, Kelly and Rosie I can’t really remember what the fuck I was saying. We were given a crash course on how to hold a gun (unloaded of course) and soon after I slithered into a bikini to have a few pics taken, trying desperately hard for my beer goggles not to show. After the casting had finished a load of us carried on the erm, work? Elsewhere and had a few drinks at a pub. I think maybe a shisha bar was involved. But my alcohol riddled memory bemuses me. As you can tell, this casting went really well.

Not long after the casting my manager phoned to let me know I’d made the cut to the last few girls. This in between stage of waiting is kind of a blur to me but I remember the excitement and gut-wrenching nervous feeling of ‘What If I don’t get it’ rising in my stomach, but I tried to never lose faith, this was my gig. And on my 21st Birthday I got that call that I had been waiting for since I’d first seen those 1940’s inspired images sprawled across my computer screen; I’d made it, I was a Hot Shots Girl.

This adventure led to me travelling outside of Europe for the first time and visiting America; Salt Lake City of all places where the Mormons didn’t exactly welcome our British drinking culture and where they had some god damn awful rule that the server would not take your order for another drink until you’d finished the one in your hand. Little did they know this just encouraged us to get even more fucked up by downing the drinks we had as fast as they were given to us- Cut to us riding a Tuk-Tuk around the city flashing to the poor innocent passers-by #BritsAbroad. The photoshoot took place on an Army base, which caused quite the commotion over the pond when the News got wind that there were “babes in bikini’s” driving tanks on government property. *Insert footage of us waving from the top of a tank on CBS and ABC news*. Although the trip of a life time, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me as the new girl. Honestly, I was way out of my depth. These girls were veterans when it came to the industry, I was merely trying to keep a-float. I wasn’t confident with what to do with any of the props and equipment. I was out of shape but refused to admit it. I wasn’t really that confident or comfortable in myself. I was supposed to be featured in two months of the calendar that year but got dropped out of the second shot, and the modelling aspect of the trip was basically done for me by Day 1, meaning I had to watch everyone else smash their scenes all week whilst experiencing the overwhelming yearning of wanting to be just like them. Although not all woe is me of course; My spirit soon picked up when I got the chance to shoot some guns for the first time (All supervised and at targets I must add- shooting at people and animals is not cool kids) including a machine gun…whilst wearing a bikini, health and safety this was not. After having a Fat Amy “I’VE JUST BEEN SHOT!” Moment when a scorching hot bullet casing flung behind me and landed down- yes down- the back of my bikini bottoms leaving a small burn scar which is still there to this day (tells a pretty badass story if I do say so myself), we ended our trip sitting round a huge campfire in the middle of nowhere, eating the juiciest beef brisket I’ve ever experienced, drinking case after case of Corona, toasting marshmallows on the open fire and basically winning at life.

Shooting the 2016 Hot Shots Calendar

I could write forever and a day about my experiences with Hot Shots. Going to Vegas for the first time and realising that- fuck Disney land– this is the most magical place on Earth. Visiting Tedworth House Recovery Centre and meeting veterans and the volunteer’s who do amazing work for Help For Heroes. Getting my first lap dance in a strip club whilst battling with the feminist in me whether this was okay or not. Puking up baked beans in my mouth on the take-off to Vegas after another heavy night of drinking, and being handed a can of beer to swallow it back down again. Dancing on tables in fancy restaurants. Running off on the 10-mile trek to the nearest toilets of the Venetian Hotel to be sick mid-calendar signing (can you see there’s a theme here?). The list is endless. Turning my vision into reality and going from dreaming of being in the calendar, to sorting my shit out and being on the front cover two years later, is the proudest achievement of my career and the time I spent as a Hot Shots Girl are memories in which I will cherish forever.

Images by Harris Nukem.

Another huge “good” career moment for me was working with the independents; the photographers you collaborate with just because you both admire and appreciate each other’s work and want to create something amazing. These images would always be shot as TFP (time-for-prints) or with the vision of selling them on afterwards. The best thing about these shoots is that there was never any pressure to follow a certain storyboard. You wouldn’t have to wear shit you didn’t want to wear, do poses you didn’t want to do, in a location you don’t want to be at. You were both here because you wanted to be, exploring vision’s you both want to deliver and with total freedom when it came to the creative direction and styling. Basically, its foundations pave the way for some pretty awesome fucking pictures. In fact, my most treasured images of myself from my 7-year stint as a model have come from collaborating with these immensely talented photographers, who’s work I still hugely admire and am a fan of to this day. Memorably Jordan Green, Matt Comer, Haris Nukem, Adam Flowers and more recently Sam Jordan-Richardson (who shot my 2019 calendar which you can purchase here BTW- you are welcome) I’m honestly so humbled that I’ve had the chance to collaborate with individuals who are such masters in their field. Seriously, take the time to check out their work, it’s incredible.

Image by Matt Comer

I could continue spawning tales of nipples and tipples for as long as it would take for me to muster up the courage to go to my spin class (FYI it takes a long ass time), but I must refrain from revealing too much all at once, or else you might never come back for part two. Plus, I really need to get my ass to this spin class (the Christmas diet has not been kind).


Keep an eye out for the 2nd Part Feature of The Model Diaries, aka The Bad coming to Jabber With Jess soon! Whilst you wait (on tenter hooks I’m sure), indulge yourself in some of my previous blog posts and let me know your thoughts!

The Model Diaries: Introduction (The Good, The Bad and the Batshit Crazy)

The Model Diaries: Introduction (The Good, The Bad and the Batshit Crazy)

Hello there! If you’re still here and reading this blog in the New Year then you must be bored thank you! As I delved into in my previous blog post (shameless plug but give it a read here) then you’ll know that 2018 was a heavy 12-months of many emotions for me, but finally starting this blog was a task I managed to cross off my shopping-list of life and provided me with an outlet to jabber (always on brand) on about the many things in which occupy my mind. And thank the LAWD above for not leaving my high and dry, over 18,000 of you have held my hand and joined this journey with me over the last four months since it’s launch date. You are awesome! With your generosity and support in mind, I wanted to give a little back to my #dayonefans who have stuck by me since my days as the new, slightly bewildered ZOO girl, to my current “weird phase” of being “pretty nuts” (still the best review of the blog out there); Here’s introducing my new 3-Part Feature “The Model Diaries”, where I’ll be exposing some of The Good, The Bad and The Batshit Crazy events and experiences I’ve encountered throughout my career as a Glamour model.

Not to say you’re all perverts or anything- ahem– but my most popular blog entry to date is on my Life As A Glamour Model, and after receiving a few requests on Instagram (feel free to let me know of any topics you think I should be chatting about on here!) for similar content I thought 2019 was high time I gave the people what they want: Stories about tits. I will be sharing some of my most memorable memories and mishaps as a model in the hope of providing you, and especially any specific glamour mag’ fans, an exclusive behind the scenes insight to the industry and lives of it’s stars.

Parental Warning: Expect nudity, alcohol, guns and a lot of WTF moments.

Keep an eye out for the First Part Feature, coming soon! ❤


New Year: Don’t Look Back in Anger

New Year: Don’t Look Back in Anger

As the year draws to a close I’ve found myself musing over the past 12 months and torturing myself on what didn’t quite go to plan. “This will be my year” is a phrase which has penetrated my vocabulary and exposed itself simultaneously each time January comes back around. The notion that the clock strikes midnight on December the 31st and shunts a “new you” into formation is an idea in which I have indulged in through the seek of pleasure and to rid past disappointments. January the 1st has become a metaphor in so many of our lives; A scapegoat to the trials and tribulations of the past 365 days in which we barely kept our heads above the water. “This year will be different”. We thrust all our hopes and dreams which have built up over past ages into a new realm, beaming with the possibility that things won’t go to shit over the next 13 moon cycles. But what if this approach is only setting us up for failure? You see, the issue which has evolved within me of the decrepit catchphrase “New Year, New me” is that behind it’s glossy and buoyant exterior is the underlying notion that there was ever something wrong with the old me, the matured me, the battered and bruised through approximately 9,371 days on this planet me.

When things are going good, then it’s fucking great. That awe-inspiring feeling of your avenue into eternal happiness finally laying it’s marble tiles in alignment with your dreams. I’ve been on this path way and skipped up my sunflower-lined avenue many of times in my 1338 weeks on this earth. I’ve planted trees across the Atlantic and smelt the roses as far away as Tahiti. I’ve scattered my petals across publishing houses and studio sets, and swam in the most crystal of seas. I’ve rooted myself amongst some of the finest flower beds on this Universe, entangling myself with a unique array of species I now call my best friends. But whilst burying myself in a rabbit hole of disappointment this year, I almost forgot the tunnels in which I have ran. 2016 was a specifically good year for me. One in which I continue to reminisce on whilst stealing any potential future happiness through comparison, with thoughts that nothing will ever live up to those first-time experiences and fire-igniting discoveries within myself. Anything since then has just been catch up. A chase in which to reach the end of the rainbow that I potted approximately 36 months ago. I’ve read that some of the lowest points for young adults often affect the most ambitious. Those who set their bar so high that they are destined to fall before they can fly.

We live in a culture where we are obsessed with setting goals and achieving things; With living our lives as if they are a shopping list, ticking off buying a house and getting married like you’re picking up bread and milk from the supermarket. But our lives are not lists and our journeys do not begin with a trolley and some eggs. Our avenues are not always tiled in marble but paved with cracks and missing stones. A year of setbacks or failing to manifest everything on your calendar within the given space of 525,600 minutes should not be cast down as defeat. Of course having ambition and a vision for what you are going to work towards is a healthy and important aspect of life. It ignites the fire in our bellies and wraps us in purpose, but we must not endorse it as our only purpose.

A handful of some of the highlights of my year ❤️

What I have come to realise this year is that we are so much more than the house, the car, the job, the relationship, the baby, the holiday. We have wasted not one of our 31,536,000 seconds this year. This was our year because we are still here. I was prepared to look back on this year as a write off, a crestfallen chapter to my happy ever after. I placed all my value on my goals and achieving professional and material status. I haven’t done this so I can’t be that. Next year I will be this so I can be that. I was willing so fruitfully to toss aside 365 mornings of waking up alive and healthy as a failure, because I have not reached the industry level that I so nobly set upon myself 365 evenings ago. But whilst my shopping list may not have been complete, I have sank my roots much deeper than they were 52 weeks ago and added an immeasurable and invaluable ring of experience to the pattern of my life. I have spread my pollen further, scattered my petals wider and planted my seeds in a bottomless pot of endless opportunity for growth and hope.

This year saw me pick up a bike for the first time in thirteen years and cycle across France on an invaluable memory making journey with my Dad, whilst raising funds for a wonderful charity. For my 25th Birthday, I raised a glass of bubbles in Beverly Hills with two of my best friends and danced front row at Coachella to some of the World’s most talented artists, surrounded by people I love. I have watched my relationships with my family grow to a deeper level through strength and resilience as we drew closer whilst loving, and losing, the head of our small dynasty. As cliche as it may sound, I have laughed harder and smiled wider with my friends than ever before- seriously, you all fucking rock. I have (occasionally) beat my inner procrastination monkey to finally set up this blog (That IS something I can tick off the shopping list!) and although I have slipped off some stepping stones along the way, I have never given up on chasing my dream; I have never given up on the old me. This January I won’t be saying hello to the new me, but commit to watering the 25 rings of my life with love and gratitude; Preparing to sprout new buds of abundance and seasoning my avenue with lessons learnt, filling in the cracks one marble tile at a time.

Raise a glass of bubbles to your personal achievements of the last 12 months, however big or small, and remember it’s okay to pat yourself on the back and remind yourself of how far you’ve come in- even if that is just waking up this morning.

Cheers to you!

Happy New Year!

X

Body positivity: Can it outlive the turnaround of fast-fashion?

Body positivity: Can it outlive the turnaround of fast-fashion?

So you have a body. And you’re positive. Congrats, you’re body positive. But I want to delve deeper into this public display of acceptance which is sweeping Instagram and leading brand campaigns, and see if body positivity can outlive the cut-throat turnaround of Fast Fashion, or if it is just another trend to be cast aside to the bargain bin with stretch chokers and disco pants.

The fast-fashion industry is currently riding a wave of self-acceptance, with industry power houses Missguided and PrettyLittleThing taking the lead with their inclusive campaigns. Featuring “plus” (I won’t dive into the irony of celebrating “everybody” whilst listing them as plus size aka bigger than “normal”) sized girls and those with “imperfections” (Are freckles really a flaw?) these brands promise to encourage you to “Keep on being you”, but what happens when the trend runs thin, does the acceptance and positivity disappear too?

This isn’t a straight topic, and it doesn’t have a black and white answer. I know the counter-argument will be that the hope is these brands will continue to move forward with their inclusivity, and the trend will never die. But this is fashion. And what’s hot right now will be more, not, in a couple months time. You see, my issue is- I struggle with the authenticity of the body pos’ movement within the fashion industry, and how they claim to represent all women and men, whilst well, not representing all women and men. Is that even possible? And is the industry venturing into murky waters- making fashion all about the models, instead of the clothes they’re wearing?

The inclusion of models who are a variety of sizes is and should be- welcomed in fashion, and in all aspects of advertisement for that matter. But there is a salty-ness in the air towards the models who have traditionally been represented. Get this girlfriends, we can lift ourselves up without putting anyone else down. Sounds crazy right? The example which stands out for me on this dates back to when I was watching the Lorraine show a year or two ago. She had Hayley Hasselhoff, a “plus” sized model on who was discussing her career after recently attending one of the many fashion weeks held Worldwide. Both women gagged and cackled at how “those other models look like they need to eat” and that “they were probably starving backstage!” All the while whilst championing body positivity and applauding women for their confidence. In typical “millennial being offended by everything” style I sent out a tweet highlighting the irony in their display, in which Hayley replied something along the lines of how “it wasn’t intended like that”. And I’m sure it wasn’t. But here’s where it get’s confusing. Body positivity is not engrained in us. Society has not raised us through generations to look at every body as being beautiful. To look at our bodies as being beautiful. Subconsciously, we forever lift one ideal up by stamping on another. Comparison and competition is within our blood. And a couple of money-making campaigns encouraging us to “feel good” is not going to knock the ancient judgement out of us. Is it really possible for us as a society to embrace and accept our bodies as beautiful?

A more recent example of this is US-underwear brand Knix and Simply Be’s “We are all Angels” campaigns who, using ‘plus-sized’ models, launched a press campaign alongside the annual Victoria’s Secret show which took place last month. The problem with this statement is: No we’re not. And that’s okay. We don’t all need to be angels or held at that standard. We are after all, more than our bodies. This may be controversial, but there is a reason that these women are positioned on a hierarchy on this specific platform- they work fucking hard for it, their whole career’s, to walk that one show. The VS brand is built on striving for the out-of-this worldly looks of the angels, it was never created to be relatable or to represent “real” women (That expression in itself grinds my gears- you identify as a woman? You’re a real woman. Simple as) As their head of creative Ed Razek controversially stated, the show is intended to be a 42 minute “fantasy”. Now, this absolutely does not mean I don’t think there should be a more diverse representation on the VS catwalk; And for Ed Razek to argue that “no one had any interest” in seeing plus size girls in the VS show because of an unsuccessful attempt to cast over a decade ago is out of sync with the industry and it’s new direction. However I’m just calling for models to be cast because they’re good at their job (HELLO Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence as perfect candidates for this!), instead of using models to fulfil and push a political agenda that doesn’t adhere to their brand image. I also strongly believe that VS should never rule out using transgender models because these women are fucking taking over the World right now, and Carmen Carrera would slay those angel wings. However, this time of year always see’s “pro body pos'” brands come out to attack the angels with counterpart campaigns and it just does not sit well with me. We can all feel beautiful and accept ourselves for who we are, without quaffing at the achievements of others in return.

Lane Bryant’s “I’m No Angel” Campaign

Another side note to this is the argument that these VS models represent an unrealistic body image. Being 5ft 11 inches, with long legs and a 30 inch’ hip width is unrealistic to me. As is the opposite end of the spectrum. But this doesn’t mean it is unrealistic to every single person out there. Being impeccably ripped is unattainable for me, because I won’t put in the hours to achieve this, but it’ not unachievable. Someone out there will put the hours in, and will achieve and attain that body image. It just won’t be me. And that’s fine. We need to be careful with who we alienate and who we are putting down when we are attempting to applaud multiple beauty ideals. Seriously, what do you mean by a real woman? I fucking hate when people use that phrase.

Another one of my issues with the body pos’ movement is its representation of sizes. You have your slim (size 6-8) and your “plus” (size 16-18), but where the fuck is the middle people? Where are the women that me and my friends can relate too? Yes, it’s time to get out your tiny violins folks and check my priveledge, but in all seriousness the industry seems to ride this body pos’ wave for profit by using one extreme representation to another. These brands drill into us that we are all beautiful, whilst ignoring an array of sizes and heights and shapes and curves. And I’ll be damned if I see a 5ft 4′ girl with huge tits, or a pear-shaped “plus” sized girl grace the campaigns of these brands. SURE they’re using females who are more shapely than the traditional castings, but these women are still models. They’re still perfectly in proportion and fit into their sample size whilst being 5ft 11′ with perfect teeth. Of course they’re fucking beautiful. That’s their job. We sit at home scoffing in excitement that a brand uses someone with stretch marks who’s face was carved by the Gods and forget that although we can relate to these small flaws, these women were picked from an agency who accepted them onto their books because of their model-esque beauty. I’m not saying this is wrong. There is a reason models are models. But the way these brands capitalise on “normal” peoples’ insecurities whilst using ridiculously beautiful women seems hypocritical to me. Just don’t mention it, and use them as the norm. Make them as aspirational for us as consumers as any other model used is, instead of attempting to make us relate to these goddess-like females on a “we both have stretch marks” level to sell a couple of GRLPOWER tee’s.

And lastly, my question is HOW? How do I feel beautiful in your clothes when they’re still too long for my short stumpy legs? How do I feel confident in your tops when my boobs poke out the bottom? How do I “make my mark” when I can’t get these jeans up over my hips? You can throw all the two-minute body pos’ campaigns at me in the World, and I’ll still feel shit about my rolls and how your sizing is off, forcing me to buy a size bigger and feel even shitter about myself than before. Cater to what you’re trying to achieve, we are begging you. So what happens now? Where do we go from here?

Savage X Fenty are leading the way with their body positivity and creative direction

A brand who I believe is leading the pack when it comes to body pos’ right now is Savage X Fenty by Rihanna. Their debut fashion show showcased women of all shapes, sizes, skin colours, and even some heavily pregnant models. The show withheld an aspirational and inspirational ideal of beauty and fashion whilst representing all females. The products and design element were not pushed aside for a political agenda and the creative aspect of the catwalk was simply iconic. If anyone needing schooling on how to empower all women to feel sexy, then this is the brand for you. However even Rihanna can’t bypass criticism when it comes to this movement. The brand has been criticised for promoting their products using ‘plus’ sized girls, whilst their sizing only goes up to a DD. And some of the images used to promote their underwear has seen women’s boobs poking out the bottom of the bra’s and overflowing at the top, begging the question are they really catering for all women, or pushing this as an agenda to drive sales?

The issue with body positivity, is that you can’t please everyone. It is impossible to represent every single shape and size and height and imperfection in the fashion industry. And whilst diversity should be applauded, no amount of fashion campaigns can make me love my cankles, or make me not have to turn my trousers up for being too long. Brands make these bold statements preaching how we should all love ourselves, without giving us the steps on how to get there. And of course they haven’t, they’re fashion brands, not our therapists. But when claiming ownership towards our feelings through their campaigns, these brands need to take some responsibility of the sheer volume of the task they’re putting upon us. Self-love is not a cash cow, and there’s no quick fix. I hope as the industry continues to evolve that the inclusion of diversity in all forms expands and that the underlying sentiment of these campaigns are of good intentions, and not a trend that will be cast aside along with our feelings when the Kardashians decide to claim curves are out next season.

Naked and Free: Why are you so afraid of sexually liberated women?

Naked and Free: Why are you so afraid of sexually liberated women?

It’s the oldest story in the book, and I’m about sick of bloody telling it. Man sees women’s body, sexualises it, fine. Women has women’s body, sexualises it, not fine. The male gaze is a theory developed many years ago by Laura Mulvey and its core beliefs are still present to this day; simply put this is the concept in which women are represented and presented as mere sex objects for the pleasure of- and by – the heterosexual male viewer/audience. From film, tv, magazines and adverts- (my fave thing ever is the spoof ad by Women’s suit company ‘Suistudio‘ which depicts women in suits with naked men, directly touching upon the representation of women as naked objects in fashion ads) a women and her body has often been used to sell products and garner attention. Sex sells we are so often told. But what happens when the power balance flips and the women decide to take control of their sexuality; freely and openly objectifying themselves and using their body for financial gain? Well, they’re all tramps of course.

Little Mix “Strip” Artwork

Last week saw Piers- I will say anything controversial to please Daily Mail readers – Morgan take an un-necessary and uncalled for (like all of his opinions) swipe at girl band Little Mix for posing naked- bar insults they’ve received scribbled all over their bodies- to highlight body-shaming issues in society (oh the irony of his anger towards this specific campaign) and to promote their new single “Strip”; a song which encourages women to embrace and love their bodies with the lyrics “Finally love me naked, I’m sexiest when I’m confident”. Piers shared that “young female pop stars shouldn’t have to use nudity to sell records” claiming it was tacky and going as far as to tell one member to “put some clothes on, if she has any”…. original Piers, really original. He pretended to show concern for their young fans whilst shaming the trailblazing young women that they look up to, all in a lousy attempt to hide his misogynistic views that women’s bodies are something to be ashamed of and their sexuality damaging to young girls. In fact unbeknownst to the old Oaf, his attack only highlighted the underbelly of Little Mix’s campaign that women are constantly attacked and made to feel ashamed about their bodies. Point proven, Good one bruh. But in a World shit-scared of sexually liberated women, Little Mix aren’t the first female popstar’s to be targeted and shamed for their public display of sexuality.

For as long as my FizzTV watching, 12 year old self can remember, popstar’s like Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj have been writhing around my tv screen like the sexy, bad-ass women that they are. From crop top’s and hip slingin’ jeans to bikini’s and thongs, the women of pop have embraced their sexuality through their outfit choices and provocative dance moves, choosing to own their objectification- which would have been thrust upon them regardless -in a historically male-dominated industry, and cashed those cheque$$$$ in the process honey. But the glory years of women in pop (will we ever be gifted someone quite like Rihanna again?) have been tainted with criticism that these explorations of sensuality from ‘supposed role-models’ are damaging our gender with the ever-impending doom of being viewed as sex objects. Actress and writer Rashida Jones whipped up a controversial conversation on twitter a couple of years ago where she called out female popstar’s, asking them to reign in their sexiness and as she so politely put it- to ‘#stopbeingwhores’. Seriously? Who’s setting women back now? *huge fucking eyeroll* Other women engaged in the conversation, chipping in with opinions such as “There’s a big difference in being proud to be a woman and selling yourself” and “What ever happened to class and leaving something to the imagination?” Hey guys, the 1920’s called, they want their views back. Whilst Rashida has since shared her horror at the backlash and insisted “there is a difference between shaming and holding someone accountable”, this hypocrisy of attempting a call to arms amongst the female community by slagging off their fellow peers and labelling them derogatory sexual terms- an angle which is so often taken up by other women in the name of “Feminism” – is an attempt at ‘girl power’ I will never be able to understand.

Ironically, in comparison to everyone’s uproar of female pop artists, my first recollection of seeing semi-naked women in the media was when I loaded 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” single into my PC and a music video featuring Fiddy writhing around with topless women in a bath full of melted chocolate played on my screen. I was around thirteen at the time and I remember instantaneously ejecting the CD whilst coming to the realisation this song was not about licking actual lollipop’s at all, swiftly hiding it under a huge pile of STEPS CD’s and praying my mum never found my new found stash of soft-core music vids. I have to say, Britney Spears oiled up in a bralet and trousers, belly dancing whilst holding a snake didn”t quite have the same long term effect. If you’re searching for somewhere to direct your anger, aim it at the music industry, the executives, the agents, the consumer’s, the male rapper’s who use 50 naked girls in their music video whilst grinding with their tops off and calling them hoes. But aiming your anger towards those who are fighting similar battles as you are in society whilst attempting to break their own glass ceiling is just plain lazy, and to be honest it’s exhausted.

Oh the hypocrisy: Where’s the outcry?

In other “We hate women being sexy” news, last week saw Australian Lingerie brand Honey Birdette face backlash after releasing their Christmas campaign. Not new to criticism for using provocative images, Honey Birdette have often been targeted for their sexy campaigns and shop-window displays, with a petition calling for their ad’s to be banned labelling the pics “porn-style advertising” and “hyper-sexualised”. One big issue which separates this brand from others is that they concentrate on women’s pleasure and sexuality as their selling point. DING DING DING, there goes the women enjoying sex alarm. Best put a stop to that immediately. Women’s groups and journalists alike have attacked the brand for “giving in to sexualised images”, immediately labelling them as derogatory for women, damaging to children and giving us all a bad name. One journalist in her critique towards the brand, saw her reference the recent case in Ireland in which a young rape victim had her choice of lace underwear used against her as a sign of consent, in her argument that this women’s underwear company needs to “have a responsibility to ensure their products- and their marketing campaigns- are socially acceptable” adding how the case “shows in the minds of many men, and some women, sexy underwear equals consent” Sorry, but What The Fuck? These people are so terrified of women being sexual beings that they are claiming lingerie brands should take some form of responsibility for their products and the supposed ‘message’ they give out. The same said critic also added that the image included “a good percentage of side labia” – if the crease which joins your leg to your groin is a labia then we’ve all been walking around swimming pools with our labia’s hanging out for fucking decades. Go back to sex ed’ class love, and give yourself a fondle whilst you’re at it, you might find out you quite enjoy it.

One of the images involved in the backlash to Honey Birdette’s Campaigns

Throw in Chrissy Teigen’s tweet about teem mom star Farrah- “Farrah Abraham now thinks she’s pregnant from her sex tape. In other news you’re a whore and everyone hates you.” and it’s clear to see that women are our own worst enemy when it comes to respecting each other’s sexual prowess. Chrissy continued her twitter tirade stating “Does calling this ‘slut shaming’ make you feel better? Like pulling the bully card? Ladies: you aren’t a super feminist for okaying super whores.” Ugh, sorry Chrissy, but I just can’t stan you on this one. For one, you’re best friends with Kim Kardashian so any validity when mentioning a sex tape and being a whore is void on your behalf… and two, why do you give a shit about another woman’s sex life enough to publicly shame and embarrass her for the sake of a few retweets? SURE the Farrah tape is a little, shall we say, explicit, but can’t a woman just live out her porn-star fantasy without being labelled an above-average whore?! Whether that be on one of the World’s most popular porn site’s or after a frisky Friday night down the local, this judgement and ridiculing has got to stop.

But seriously, does it ever occur to these critics that some women like to feel sexy? That some women enjoy being sexy? That some women like to wear sexy lingerie- or nothing at all- to empower themselves rather than project themselves as sex objects for the taking? This concept of women posing for sexy photo’s is not a new phenomenon. For years photo studio’s have held make-over days where every-day women get all dolled up and indulge in a sexy photo-shoot whether it be for their man, to celebrate their bodies or simply to treat themselves to a day of pamper and a ‘feel-good’ experience in the process. People pay for that fucking shit. Because they know how good it makes them feel. How much pleasure their naughty pics will give their husband. They accept it as a fun experience. Applaud it as a body-positive move. But switch up the roles to the woman being paid to wear the lingerie, to the woman getting all the financial gain and pleasure, and it’s suddenly disturbed and wrong. The mind boggles. We as women should be embracing more ad’s with the female as the dominator, the one in control- as finally switching up the roles amongst the sexes and in the bedroom, rather than attacking them. We should be praising female celebrities for being so open and care-free with their sexuality within the media, and their acceptance of the bodies they’re in, and not publicly shame them for it.

Why are you so afraid of women being sexy? This outcry every time a women sexualises herself is the product of an intense history of a patriarchal society, which has for so long solely viewed women as sex objects for men, instead of accepting that women can be sexy and sexual for themselves. The call for women to feel ashamed of their bodies being seen in public; that women can only be sexy behind the bedroom door is what sets women back and places their sexual well-being and pleasure, along with their health, in the hands of men. Calling for women to ‘stop acting like whores’ or to ‘put some clothes on’ isn’t going to change the society we are in, or a woman’s personal sexual behaviour. And so it shouldn’t. At a time where women’s progress and equality has never been higher, our rights to the choices we make over our own bodies are still in question. The next time you disagree with a women’s sexual way, agree to disagree, accept it, and look for somewhere more important to direct your anger and energy. There are better ways to fight the patriarchy and protect our children from harm than banning women in nipple tassels and getting vibrator’s taken off supermarket shelves (this really happened). In a World full of Piers Morgan’s, be an Emily Ratajkowski. Fight the good fight.

Check out my other blog on sexism within the media here

Have a topic you’d like me to discuss? Let me know! jabberwithjess@gmail.com

Less Fast, More Sass: The Fashion Revolution

Less Fast, More Sass: The Fashion Revolution

Hi , my name is Jessica Davies and for 10 years I have been a slave to fast fashion. Phew, it always feels better when you say it out loud. For as long as my bank account can remember, I have been a whore to cheap online stores who lined my inbox with flash sales and 50% discounts. From splashing my Saturday job wages (all £15 a day of it) on Boohoo when I was 15, to Missguided hauls as a skint 18 year old student and right up to my present ancient 25 year old self, panic-buying cheap last minute festival garms’ on PrettyLittleThing; it may come as a surprise to some of you but I am a huge bargain hunter when it comes to fashion. 95% of the time I’ll only ever buy if there’s a sale on or if I have a discount code. Seriously, has anyone ever sorted their browsing by Price High>>>Low?! I am constantly scouring the internet for 20% off coupons and a last minute under £20 night-out look that I can spruce up by painting a decent face and throwing on some trusty *bigger the hoop, bigger the hoe'” hoops.

My flat is filled with Ikea bags over-flowing with clothes, clothes that I barely even like, clothes that I brought because I would rather spend £15 on a dress I tolerate than upload a picture on Instagram of me in the same dress I wore out two months ago. I will openly admit that I have bought more clothes than I need, more clothes than I could ever use. And the problem is, brands have made it so fucking easy for me to do this, I would even say they encourage it. Enticing me with secret sales and infiltrating my phone with their apps and early access codes; paying influencers to front their campaigns and flooding my social media with promotions and celebrity “edits”. Instagram has exploded fast-online fashion to astronomical sales, but what may have been on-trend this week, can end up in the basement bin by tomorrow morning. Because as soon as Kylie Jenner stops wearing it, we all move onto the next style like an army of cycling-short baring, corset-wearing disciples, desperate to grasp on to some sense of celeb’ luxury without the burden of luxury prices. So where does all our unwanted, throw-away cheap clothes end up? The answer doesn’t lie in fobbing’ off all our shitty items to charity shops anymore because well, they’re just shitty. The cool kids that shop in thrift stores are searching for garm’s worthy of an Instagram post, not a faded graphic tee adorned with last months phrase of the week (RIP to all the Love Island T-shirt’s, but srsly, please stop buying these) and unfortunately the reality is, most of our £3 tee’s end up in swanning around in landfill. In fact, it is estimated that £140million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year. So exactly what burden is this forever changing, cheap fashion having on our World? And what can we do to help change this?

The other week I watched Stacy Dooley’s new documentary, where she investigates fashions dirty secrets and dives into just how much damage throw-away fashion is having on our planet. One of the most-shocking finds in the doc’ was that fashion is the second most-polluting industry in the World, alongside the oil, coal and automotive industry. Another staggering statistic from the show was that it could potentially take over 15,000 litres of water to grow the cotton need to make a single pair of jeans. An insane figure in which I could never fathom when I ‘throw’ on (I wish it was this easy to get a pair of jeans over this ass- and those cankles) my pair of £20 ASOS jeans. Toss in some breath-taking imagery of a dried up sea-bed in Kazakhstan due to water being diverted to fend for cotton fields, and visiting one of the World’s most polluted rivers in Indonesia which runs alongside some of the most in-demand clothing factories used by top High-Street brands, and it is clear to see the substantial impact our desire for low cost, seasonal fashion clothing is having on the environment. So what are the big brands doing about this? Well, unfortunately not a lot it seems. Many of the top names including Primark, ASOS and Topshop all refused to provide a comment on their commitments, or lack of, to help maintain a more sustainable fashion industry. And this is where our call to arms comes in, folks.

After this aggressive wake-up call to the impact my shopping habits are having on our planet, I’ve tried desperately to cut down my purchases on the sites mentioned in this post. I’ve turned off notifications to the apps and forced them into a small folder on my phone where they’re not constantly staring back at me (No, I haven’t completely deleted them yet- baby steps). I’ve revisited my wardrobe and picked out some of my favourite pieces I already own- some which still have the tags on them- and started wearing them more than once. I even posted an Instagram pic in the same outfit this week- BIG MOVE MY FRIENDS. And you know what? No one batted an eyelid.

Outfit Recycling. January 2018, November 2018.

But perhaps my favourite (definitely my favourite) conscious fashion change I have made so far is my switch to shopping in vintage stores. Dye my hair pink and call me a #hipster, for I have sinned against the high-street giants. I’ve always loved vintage-esque’ clothes: oversized printed shirts, floral dresses and baggy Levi’ jackets are all staples I have adopted into my wardrobe over the years but the popularity of #retro garms has seen the price for anything listed as “vintage” soar on sites like Depop and Ebay to levels my tight-pocketed self could not correspond with. This is where my new found love of kilo-sales comes in. Kilo sales are where you pay per the weight of your items, instead of each item holding a value. This is the holy grail of my fashion whore-ness. Low price, staple-making fashion which is sustainable and recyclable. UNHHHH. These take place in pop-ups around the country, and as more permanent stores. Also, don’t rule out charity shops to find some hidden gems. The great thing about clothing is that it can be washed *shock face* so buying something second hand really isn’t the end of the World. It’s time for a Fashion Revolution. Raid your parents, your grandparents (it’s okay, this is cool now), your siblings wardrobes. Swap and switch your clothes with your friends. Say au revoir to the shaming of wearing clothes more than once and welcome the feeling of falling in love with your clothes again. I’m not declaring that I’m going to stop shopping in high-street or online stores anymore because well, I’m a realist, and I’m a sucker for on-trend fashion and good deals. In fact, *confession* time, but whilst researching some flash sales for this blog post I was drawn in by NastyGal’s 50% off store-wide offer and ordered two dresses well, just because I liked them. I’m an addict in recovery guys, I haven’t made it over the hill yet. But next time you buy something off these sites or high-street stores, especially in the thrill of Black Friday season, buy it because you love it, and because you’re going to wear it until it falls apart, and not because it’s a quick fix outfit for a Saturday night, or just because it’s on sale. Those trends wear thin pretty fast.

Keep an eye out for my posts on my vintage finds coming soon.

Check out wrap.org.uk for more information on sustainable fashion.