April 24, 2012
“17-year-olds need to know that there is life after high school. There is this light at the end of the tunnel where soon people will be admired and respected for their differences.” – Heather Hazzan offering body image advice to her 17 year old self and teenagers today
We initially stumbled upon this fantastic, empowering, energetic website created by model Heather Hazzan and quickly needed to know more about her. She had to be part of our agency! Her website wasn’t typical and offered much more than great photos. Through it she shares her journey of breaking into the modelling world as a teenager and developing an eating disorder to maintain an impossible size 0 frame. She speaks of losing her period for 5 years and constantly striving to lose weight but losing herself in the process. Now a healthy size 12-14, Heather feels balanced and happy and enjoys a career modelling at a size that suits her mind, body and soul. She encourages others to be healthy at all sizes. We know when you learn more about her, you will admire her as much as we do.
As a child, do you remember what you thought of your body image?
I was always off the doctor’s charts as a kid… I literally did not fit into my age group’s range for height and weight. Being heads taller and much bigger than all my friends was a little awkward as I got older, but I really didn’t think much past that. I was a very happy, healthy, and enthusiastic child.
You started modelling at 17 as a straight size model trying to maintain a size your body wasn’t comfortable with. Looking back, what influenced you to try to do this?
Modelling started soon after I decided to give up playing competitive basketball. Looking back, I think I just wanted to delve into a completely different world other than sports; modelling was just that. As an all-or-nothing type of person, I dove head first into modelling. Weight loss was just part of what I had to do in order to book the caliber of jobs I wanted. I ended up losing about 65 pounds… as well as my soul.
What was your turning point to regain that vital mind/body/soul connection?
After eight years of constantly counting calories and obsessively working out, it hit me that I didn’t have a life… no close friends… no boyfriend…. no social life… and no passions outside of scheduling gym sessions and keeping a daily calorie count. It struck me that, “Wow, I am actually wasting my life right before my eyes.” That is incredibly scary. Now, my entire mission in life is to make those eight hellish years worth something. I never want to waste another day on weight again. I’m proud to say that I haven’t.
If you could tell young girls and your 17 year old self about loving your body just as it is, what advice would you have?
17-year-olds need to know that there is life after high school. There is this light at the end of the tunnel where soon people will be admired and respected for their differences. When you think the mindset of constantly conforming is all there ever will be, it’s depressing. People don’t think the same and bodies don’t look the same; this is a wonderful thing. You will become more comfortable in your skin with time. It will shock you how much.
You modelled as a size 0 and now as a 12-14. How is your career different now?
My career is completely different now and in the best possible way. As a straight size model I only did little local jobs. I really think clients could tell that I didn’t have any fire behind my pictures. My personality was dead. As a plus model, companies can see that I’m truly happy in my healthy, natural size 12/14 body. I’ve gotten to shoot for things and work in countries that I could have only dreamed about when I wasn’t being true to who I was. Plus, it’s so freeing to not have to worry about maintaining a certain size. There is a lot more leeway in the plus size industry.
What has been your most memorable shoot so far?
My most memorable shoot was actually my first shoot as a plus size model. Victor Demarchelier shot me with male model Francisco Lachowski for V Magazine (my favourite!). It was incredibly surreal. The entire time I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. It means a lot when an amazing high fashion magazine like V embraces a curvier girl. It only solidified my decision to pursue plus size modeling.
Can you tell us about any exciting things going on in your life or any upcoming projects?
I’m planning to move to NYC!
Please make sure to visit Heather’s website where you can learn more about her journey, send her an email, enjoy her modelling photos and check out her wonderful photography skills. Her Ben Barry Agency page contains lots of other great info about her and several incredible photos. We are so happy to have such an amazing positive body image advocate on board helping us create diversity in fashion!