When Ford models shut down its plus-size division in the summer of 2013, five of its former models decided to band together and form ALDA (which means "wave" in Icelandic), a collective to promote size diversity in the industry. Co-founders Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson, Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, and Danielle Redman put it this way: They're staying "ahead of the curve by embracing their curves."
Now, in the February issue of BUST magazine, the five models talk about how they're hoping ALDA can be a beacon for every woman who's ever felt like the fashion industry doesn't represent them (so, most women in the world at one point or another!).
"I've been called a plus-size model for 15 years. I don't have any shame with it, I don't really care, if you want to call me 'plus,' that's fine, but at the end of the day, I know who I am," Graham says in a behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot. "I am Ashley Graham, and I am a model—I am not just a plus-size model."
"I never really understood that gap between being a curvier model and a straight-size model; it didn't really make any sense to me," Eiriksdottir says. "As a group, I thought we'd have more leveraging power...to help push the limits in the fashion industry...I think women want to see more women they can relate to; they don't want to see everything as photoshopped."
The models say that ALDA isn't supposed to pit one body type against another—instead, they argue that ALDA is trying to embrace the "wave" (Hence the name!) of change headed toward the modeling industry and expand opportunities for all women through workshops, lectures, events, and, of course, modeling. In fact, DNAInfo reports that all five founders approached IMG Models last year and signed with the agency—and that one of the first things IMG did was submit them along with straight-size models for Fashion Week.
Henderson says: "Fashion dictates so many things in our lives, and little girls grow up thinking that this is what beauty is...And what ALDA does is say, 'Listen, every woman is beautiful'."
You should also check out:
Stay In The Know
Marie Claire email subscribers get intel on fashion and beauty trends, hot-off-the-press celebrity news, and more. Sign up here.
Prada, Tom Ford, and Dior: The Top Designer Beauty Brands Worth Buying
Money well spent.
By Emma Walsh
15 Grown-Up Backpacks That Also Fit a Laptop
They're stylish enough to show your coworkers.
By Julia Marzovilla
Natalie Portman, Who Never Comments on Her Marriage, Just Commented on Her Marriage
After rumors swirled that her husband, Benjamin Millepied, had an affair, she called speculation about their relationship “terrible.”
By Rachel Burchfield
Senator Klobuchar: "Early Detection Saves Lives. It Saved Mine"
Senator and breast cancer survivor Amy Klobuchar is encouraging women not to put off preventative care any longer.
By Senator Amy Klobuchar
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
I'm plus size, but after I decided to pose nude for photos, I suddenly felt more body positive.
By Kelly Burch
I'm an Egg Donor. Why Was It So Difficult for Me to Tell People That?
Much like abortion, surrogacy, and IVF, becoming an egg donor was a reproductive choice that felt unfit for society’s standards of womanhood.
By Lauryn Chamberlain
The 20 Best Probiotics to Keep Your Gut in Check
Gut health = wealth.
By Julia Marzovilla
Simone Biles Is Out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Olympics
She withdrew from the event due to a medical issue, according to USA Gymnastics.
By Rachel Epstein
The Truth About Thigh Gaps
We're going to need you to stop right there.
By Kenny Thapoung
3 Women On What It’s Like Living With An “Invisible” Condition
Despite having no outward signs, they can be brutal on the body and the mind. Here’s how each woman deals with having illnesses others often don’t understand.
By Emily Shiffer
The High Price of Living With Chronic Pain
Three women open up about how their conditions impact their bodies—and their wallets.
By Alice Oglethorpe