Sammy Nickalls
August 27, 2015 11:36 am

We’ve recently been seeing a fabulous body-positive revolution in the modeling industry, thanks to models like Tess Holliday and Denise Bidot, who are totally redefining beauty standards as we know them. But unfortunately, not all designers and agencies are exactly on board. Body shaming and unrealistic standards are still alive and well in modeling, and one Swedish model’s experience is proof.

Agnes Hedengård, 19, has been working as a model in Sweden for the past five years. But recently, she hasn’t been getting any jobs because the industry thinks she’s “too big”. . . despite the fact that her body mass index (BMI) deems her considerably underweight. Agnes took to YouTube on Monday to display her body in a (super-cute) bikini while explaining her situation.

“They think my butts are too big, and they think my hips are too wide. . . According to the model industry, you cannot look like this,” she explained in the video. “You need to be thinner. And I have been in contact with big agencies and clients that really want to work with me, but as soon as they get ahold of my measurements, it’s a whole other story. They’re like, ‘no, she’s too big, she needs to get into better shape, we will not work with her.'”

According to the National Institutes of Health, a BMI of below 18.5 is considered underweight. Agnes’ BMI is 17.5. “[The] purpose of this video is to show everyone that a big part of the model industry thinks that this is too big,” she explains. “. . .It’s absurd, and I hate it, and I just want other people to see this. You guys, I’m too big! I’m too big for the industry. . . love yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

The video has clearly resonated with thousands of Internet viewers. After Agnes created a video of her explaining her situation in Swedish, it went viral in her area, so she created one in English and shared it on her Facebook page. The video garnered more than 1.8 million views in just three days. “I’m so pleased,” she told local news site the Local.se. “I’ve gotten so many good responses that I can’t really believe it. That so many people agree with me is crazy.”

Models young and old have contacted her expressing their approval of the video — including some models participating in Stockholm Fashion Week this week. “I think I would have got the exact same response if I had posted it three weeks from now,” she told the Local.se. “I posted it and didn’t think twice about it. I think it’s quite funny, because a lot of the models walking the fashion week love that I did the video.”

Agnes has spoken out about body shaming before via her Instagram page, posting pictures of her body and highlighting the absurd standards of the industry. “Many people in this industry wants to work with me but the most common response is ‘[she needs] to get in better shape’ or ‘she’s [too] big,'” she wrote on her Instagram.

Thank you so much, Agnes, for speaking out against the fashion industry’s ridiculous standards. It’s time for agencies to endorse body positivity and represent women of all shapes and sizes instead of engaging in dangerous body-shaming tactics. We may have come a long way in the modeling industry, but cases like this remind us that we also have a long, long way to go.

(Images via YouTube, Instagram)

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