It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re picking the brains of bold, powerful women who represent our future. Today, meet curve model Jay Krakower.
Throughout time, we’ve counted on a small number of community leaders to push things forward, break perceptions, and bring change. And ladies, the past two years have been pivotal. We’ve seen–and struggled with, and spoken out against, and called shit out on–issues that have been pressing, and still continue to press womankind. It’s change that we want to champion throughout this month while celebrating those who are propelling us into a far better future. So throughout March, we are focusing what matters to us most right now: groundbreaking, culture-shifting, era-defying, and straight up goals women.
By Chiara Mingione
Photos by Maya Fuhr
Meet Jay Krakower—the curve model who’s made it her mission to make you feel beautiful in your body. She’s the body pride crusader in the modeling industry we’ve all been looking for. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed an uptick in curve models, propelling a wave of change in the model archetype. One of the trailblazers in this wave is Jay—and her presence is providing the industry with a much-needed voice for size diversity. Now, she’s speaking up—and we’re calling it now that you’ll be seeing her around a lot more. We caught up with Jay to talk body image, industry standards, and changing the status quo.
So how did you get into modeling?
I used to love going through magazines by the lake. I would look at all the different poses and beautiful men and women, so I started taking pictures with friends and later started working with a photographer. I saw a gap in the industry with the lack of diversity which really got me interested in what it means to be beautiful so I started getting photographed to show that beauty was—not just the limited selection which is seen in the media.
When were you like, this is it, I want to do this?
When I was younger, I was constantly bullied because of my weight. I was always heavier than the other girls. My weight used to be the thing that always held me back. But at around 16, I realized that there was nothing wrong with being curvy or chubby which made me begin my mission to show other women that there is nothing wrong with their body—no matter the shape or size. So I started posting pictures on my Instagram about my body and that is when I really realized I wanted to model and make a difference.
“I realized that there was nothing wrong with being curvy or chubby, which made me begin my mission to show other women that there is nothing wrong with their body—no matter the shape or size.”
What changes do you want to see in the modeling world?
I definitely want to see all different body types being represented. I think it’s really important that women have the ability to reference all different types of beauty in the media. As a kid, I felt the need to change to look like the models in magazines—tall and skinny. I believe it’s really important for everyone to be represented. Women should be able to grow up seeing women who look like them so they don’t have to compare themselves to impossible standards. I definitely believe that we should be able to see women with cellulite, roles, bumps, and stretch marks because we all have them. I want to see the industry veer away from airbrushing. There are so many things I want to see changed, but I do think the industry is progressing slowly.
What do you think are the major issues affecting models?
The need to be “perfect”. I don’t like that word at all. Everyone is perfect in their own way no matter how corny that sounds. Even with the industry becoming more inclusive, I think the pressures of up-keeping an image gets difficult. The pressures of being around people who are taller or skinnier or curvier or have a more defined bone structure—the industry pushes you to look more like this. The major issue is being yourself and doing what’s best for you.
Why do you think the female voice is so important right now?
Right now, female voices are being heard more than ever and it’s time to empower one another and make the change we want to see.
Most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
My grandmother always taught me that beauty starts from within. When you are happy with who you are, people notice. That is when you are most powerful. Always stay true to what you believe and don’t be afraid to be different.
“When you are happy with who you are, people notice. That is when you are most powerful.”
Advice for aspiring models?
Be you. There is nothing better.
Who inspires you?
There are so many people who inspire me. My Bubbie and my Zaidie. My Zaidie is so strong and inspires me every day. My Bubbie has made me the person I am today. My dad, he is honestly the coolest. Maya Fuhr, Barbie Ferreira, Diana Veras, Paloma Elsesser, Chloe Wise, Ramon Serrano, Emma Gonzalez and so many more. This world is so full of so many inspirational people I could go on and on.
What’s next for you?
I’m also an artist so I’m currently working on a series called Ladies which references relationships with food, the female body, and sexuality. I’m also working on building up my photography portfolio. So many exciting things!