Since seemingly the dawn of time, women have found their bodies neatly filed away into the same five or six types: apple, pear, hourglass, ruler, even banana (who is a banana? No one is shaped that way). Fashion magazines tell us how to dress for our body types — god forbid you wear a crop top if you don't have a flat stomach. But most people never stop to think about the fact that categorizing the bodies of all 3.5 billion women on this Earth into a few groups is not only reductive, but also potentially insulting.
That's why we decided to photograph and interview a group of models, dancers, photographers, and all-around smart women who are redefining body types and so much more. Aside from spreading messages of body positivity, they're making cool things happen every single day, often while overcoming crazy odds. We spoke with a woman from a small town who danced her way into an apprenticeship with the second company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. We also chatted with France's only plus-sized model regarding how she used to feel inadequate about her body as a teenager; since then, she's started a conversation surrounding body diversity in her country. More than redefining body types in their own right, these women are inspiring younger women to do the same — no matter what numbers the labels on their clothing read.
So the next time you find yourself pigeonholed into a body type or shamed about your shape, consider some of our favorite quotes from these women. Djouliet Amara says, "I guess you could say I have a ‘ballerina body,’ only because I’m a dancer and I have a body.” (Damn straight.) Philomena Kwao describes her body as "Philomena," and nothing else.
That's a pretty apt description, if you ask us. After all, there's only one body like yours on this planet.