This month we meet Penny Whittingham. Hair columnist and curve style blogger of @pennyfroreal.
Recognised for her unmistakeable curls and killer curves, Penny offers her audience beauty and fashion direction designed to boost cool confidence. We spent the day with her in London's Notting Hill where she gave us insight into her world and a view for the season ahead.
Penny wears the Freya boots
Alongside writing your hair column for Eliza and content creation you’re also a successful curve model. Tell us about your favourite place that modelling has taken you.
My favourite place that modelling has taken me is into the world of collaboration. There is something special about creatives having a shared vision and truly wanting to come together to produce something that perfectly reflects the brief and has no other motive than to showcase and honour each other's work. I love it even more when the creatives involved are liberal, curvy and plus-size women of colour; It adds feelings of belonging, warmth and freedom which isn’t always achieved on a usual set and I'm really happy to exist in that space. Shooting with Stylist Magazine was also quite cool!
As a curve model, have you noticed a shift towards a more inclusive attitude in the fashion industry or do you think there is still a way to go?
Diverse? Yes. Inclusive? Not so much.
The industry has become more diverse in terms of visibility of ‘difference’ i.e. it’s no longer just straight-sized bodies being shown. However, there is still this unwritten expectation that to be a curve model you have to have a chiselled jawline, thin waist, slim arms and high cheekbones which, for most women, is completely unrealistic on top of needing to be above 5’8 to be considered a worthy hire for most fashion brands. I think we’re a long way away from all bodies being represented and even further away from having a sufficient number of brands that not only have inclusive sizing but also provide on-trend pieces in those sizes because, believe it or not, our style extends far beyond maroon, peplum tops and floral dresses.
Penny wears the Dalia boots
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Comfortable, neutral, funky
Knee-high boots are back on the agenda for Spring/Summer. How will you be styling yours?
Definitely either over skinny jeans (if we’re not boycotting them) or underneath flares/palazzos and wide-leg trousers.
Penny wears the Dalia boots
You’re a real advocate of curvy confidence and that’s something we love about you. What advice do you have for women who are feeling less confident in their bodies and are perhaps in need of a boost?
We often walk around feeling like we're being judged under a microscope when in reality, the only people *actually* concerned about how we look are ourselves. If you don't like that feeling, it's time to change your mindset. Remind yourself that your confidence and body type are unrelated and how you look has no bearing on your value.
Dancing around my bedroom in my underwear is one of the best way I shake off bad energy and negative thoughts and it always helps me to appreciate my body a bit more on those 'poor self-image' days - try it!
Penny wears the Hestia boots
What does being a #DuoWoman mean to you?
It means feeling powerful, happy and comfortable exactly as I am with no need to change myself to fit someone else's ideal.