As women struggle to fit into the societal standards of being ‘perfect’ and in a certain shape – which is tall, skinny, and flawless, some women are breaking these stereotypes by embracing their beautiful bodies and redefining standards. Teefah Hassan a plus size model, body positivity advocate and the co-host of Pop-up curve is one of such women.
In this chat with TheNewsGuru, she opens up on being a plus size model, Nigerian men’s love for plus size women , the stereotypes and lot’s more
What is the difference between plus size and curvy?
Most plus size girls are curvy but not all curvy girls are plus size. Curvy women are women with hourglass figure, that is, women whose waist are relatively smaller to their hips. So a woman doesn’t necessarily have to be plus size to be curvy. Plus size comes in different forms from hourglass shaped, apple shaped to pear shaped; it’s that extra flesh here and there that makes us plus size.
Who is Teefah Hassan?
Teefah Hassan is ambiguous, there’s not just one word or term to describe me.
What’s your take on plus-size modeling in Nigeria?
Plus size modelling in Nigeria is still a growing industry; few people are starting to embrace the idea, while a lot still have reservations. I find it funny because who if not Africans [Nigerians] should be more embracing of the idea? The average Nigerian woman is plus size, so it still surprises me when I hear stuff like “plus size women shouldn’t be on the runway” or “we can’t use plus size women for our beauty ads” The need to follow the western set standard of beauty has consumed us in Nigeria yet in these foreign countries, they are very accepting of plus size models and input them in almost everything, from fashion, to beauty, to commercials. I believe we need to do better in Nigeria.
How do you juggle modeling with other things you do?
The best part about modeling is that, right now, it’s not a full time job. It gives enough room to pursue my other business without much stress.
How were you able to conquer the rejection you faced as a plus-size when you ventured into modeling?
To be honest, before i decided to go into plus size modelling I tuned my ears to block negativity and only hear positive comments. Truthfully it’s not the negative comments I was bothered about, I was more concerned about myself! ‘Am I sure I have reached that level of total body acceptance? Hope I wouldn’t get on that runway, see the lights and run back in?’
Those were the more pressing issues for me. Every day, I love myself more and with the level of self-love I have attained, I’m sorry, I have zero tolerance for negativity. Thank God for the block button.
Based on your experience, what do you think is the major challenge plus-sized models face?
When you are walking on a platform that show cases both body types, the major challenge is being taken seriously as models, not just some big girls who want to show off clothes.
While in editorials, the challenge is even getting called for jobs to start with, especially beauty brands. Like I said earlier, a lot of people obsess over societies set standards of beauty. So if you are not skinny we can’t use you in our beauty advert. There a whole lot more challenges but these are the most annoying.
Do you think African men are drawn to plus-sized women?
Oh definitely, most African men love plus size women.
Any awkward or embarrassing moment?
Going to Yaba market is always an awkward moment. Those men come up with the most creative names for big women
What projects are you working on?
I am working on a lot of projects especially for my plus size sisters and teenage girls. Right now, I and my friend are working on the pop up curve which will be happening on the 28th of this month. I will also be embarking on another pet project very soon. You are just going to have to stalk me to find out what it’s about.