Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and here’s someone practicing the greatest love of all: self-love. As a plus size model in the fashion industry, Callie De Wind (@calliewelly) is breaking down barriers in more ways than one by reminding us that beauty and confidence comes in all forms. Below, we talk to the model on representation and body diversity in the fashion scene, how to be bold and unapologetic and more.
How did you get your start in modelling? I started modeling sometime in 2018 when I was first scouted by a representative of FEMALE magazine through Instagram to be featured in a beauty spread for their monthly issue. After some time, I started doing some modeling gigs here and there for fashion catalogs shoots and campaigns.
I had my mini break when I was chosen to represent Malaysia in Make Me A Zalora Model Cycle 4 in mid 2019 held in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I was a semifinalist amongst other models from countries around South East Asia.
What is your personal philosophy in life? My personal philosophy in life is that life is short, don't let the thoughts of another dictate your every move. Instead, do it for yourself and no one else.
You're a role model to a lot of women but who are your role models? Who do you look up to? Ever since I was a little girl, my number 1 role models have always been my parents. Their perseverance and strength are what kept me believing that I could do whatever my heart desired, that no one should be able to decide what I can and cannot do in my life, and that everything I do and/or achieve, is a result of my own choices. This kept me strong through the many challenges I've faced in life and whatever more challenges and obstacles I may face in the future.
Can you share with us your thoughts on the local fashion scene and its representation? Do you feel like it's improving? Though there is still a lack of diversity and representation in our current fashion scene, I do notice it's much better than what it was a few years ago! People are more accepting to size inclusivity with every passing day. We are nowhere near where we can be, but the process of acceptance and being open to a more diverse representation is slowly being embraced by many.
What was the most impactful or memorable comment you've received so far? It was definitely when someone sent me a message that my confidence as a plus size woman had inspired them to slowly step out of their comfort zone and embrace their curves.
With respect to being plus-size in the industry, are there things that you love and not like so much? There are many things I love, but the best would be with how some girls look up to me being a model of a woman my size. There are many young girls out there who struggle with loving their bodies and come to me for advice sometimes, whether be it with simple questions like where do I shop for my clothes, to deeper questions on how to start their journey of loving themselves. I try my best to help these ladies with every chance I get and I absolutely feel honored that they would come to me for it.
Whereas, for things I don't like so much, it would definitely be the judgmental individuals I stumble upon every once in a while. There's always a handful of people who try to bring me down with spiteful comments, though I never let that faze me, it's not the best thing to hear sometimes. I always brush it off because I've come to a point in my life where I will unapologetically be myself and accept anything that comes my way with a positive outlook. After all, haters are a confirmation that you are doing something right.
We absolutely love the way you carry yourself and the body positive ideals you bring! What are some ways you can share with other women out there on embracing their curves? My number one tip would be, stop worrying what other people think. All my teenage life, I would be cautious of what I did, or what I wore just to please the people around me. Yet I never truly felt happy about myself. Until I learnt that what matters the most, is my own happiness in the life that I have the power to control. Everything in your life is a reflection of the choices you make. So, wear that dress you've always wanted to wear, put on those heels you love, and wear them with confidence and pride! Then watch as you slowly start loving yourself and every curve on your body.
I've come to a point in my life where I will unapologetically be myself and accept anything that comes my way with a positive outlook.
How would you describe your personal fashion style? Do you have a go-to piece? I would say my style is very girly chic. I would always try to incorporate something feminine in my styling. But my go-to piece will always be my high waisted skinny jeans. I can literally style it up for any occasion, whether it's for brunch with the girls or a night out in the city.
Lastly, please share with us 3 of your local creative crushes and their IG handles to shoutout! 1. Nalisa Amin (@nalisaliaamin) — I love her confidence and the message she always gives out to her followers
2. SYA (@itssyaofficial) — My best friend and favorite upcoming rapper of DEFJAM SEA, she's super talented and I just know she's going to make it big one day.
3. Becca Yap (@beccayap) — She is the founder of my favorite sportwear brand, Liberty Active. She has started showcasing a wider representation in her brand and I think that's awesome coming from a sportwear brand.