I N T E R V I E W: Isabel Hendrix
Isabel Hendrix, feisty plus size model, girl power fashion blogger, and self-love advocate, is a blogger I stumbled across a couple months ago. She is recognized worldwide by her colorful hair, body positivity, and support of small businesses.
The idea of modelling hasn’t even crossed her mind until she became a blogger and worked at an online store. Then she was able to work with models, photographers and shops and thought it would be fun to try it out. It took her some time to find out her style and sense for fashion, but when she did, bam, she really distinguished herself from lots of bloggers and models on the scene today.
By trying to be positive force as there are so many negative ones surrounding us and just by being herself, she built a strong online community. E-mailing each other for a month and trying to set up an interview was worthed, why? Read on.
As I was going through your blog and other social media accounts, it is very obvious that you are very different to most of the bloggers out there. What made you started?
I started I think almost 6 years ago now and when I first started it it was not as it is now. I did not have as much of unique of style. I moved away from home to College and I didn’t have many friends. So I was like I am gonna to this thing. I did that to take up my time. After blogging for a while I met other bloggers and saw more of diverse fashion style so I just kind owned what I really liked.
Blog-wise, what do you mainly focus on?
As I have grown on my internet presence, a lot of girls have been reaching out to me saying how uncomfortable they feel in their own skin. It is like a personal fashion blog but now I am trying to focus and feature a lot of girl power stuff. Furthermore, it is really important for me to make a kind of positive impact on the world. It is good because I feel like I am helping out some girls, i am sure some guys find it helpful as well. So this is what I am focusing on currently, so the girls empowerment but through creativity.
Before even girls started reaching out to you, what made you even focus on the girl empowerment?
Everybody is being told by someone that they are not doing their life right. Well, I had an eating disorder when I first started my blog, so throughout the beginning years of it I was going through the treatment for eating disorder and gained a lot of knowledge about myself and how my and other people’s minds work. So like self doubt and body image issues. So that became really important to me as it helped me get a lot better and it became part of who I am today. I was trying to be positive force as there are so many negative ones surrounding us. And then just being myself online drew people and then from that it kept going and going like a snowball effect. From me just being who I am, so positive, and trying to make people feel good about themselves so people just kept on visiting my blog.
Yes definitely, I think that including me, a lot of girls in the teenage years have/had body image problems. And having somebody online tell and show you visually that it is ok to be whoever you are and however you look like is really inspiring and nice. So moving from here, you became a plus-size model?
Yea, I basically I thought that I would try out modelling. I work for online-clothing company and as a blogger I worked with models, photographers and shops and I thought it would be fun to try it out. And I did and there was a really positive reaction from an online community.
How does that term ‘plus-size model’ even make you feel?
Personally I don’t really have a problem with that. I don’t mind it at all, I like it. I do understand people being against that term and wanting to be addressed as just ‘models’, and the whole thought behind it. But there are such huge things that need to still happen in the fashion world, before we can just have model for everybody. So for me I don’t mind it and I don’t find it offensive. I feel like there is almost that some girls are ashamed of that, but the other group could have no problem with their body so they wish they could be called like just a model.
I definitely get negative comments, but mostly I just don’t focus on them. Because most of the time they are either really young and they don’t really understand what they are doing is mean and rude or they are just uneducated. They might have an idea in their head like if you are not skinny you are not healthy that it is really false, as there are facts to back it up. So if it is a girl I will either address it or delete it because if you keep them up it kind of allows for the environment where the negativity will keep festering and growing. And that goes on all of my social media accounts. I do address the issue sometimes because I feel like I can explain it. But if it is guys that say that I really don’t care about trying to educate them, as there are so many guys that are so dumm and I don’t want to take my time trying to educate them. I understand a woman feeling weird about the body image because I have been there, so I would rather take the time to explain it to someone who I can relate to. So I really care about providing some insight into girls minds and issues.
So besides you there is a lot of similar bloggers trying to empower body image and women. So do you think that you and them have changed the way we perceive women and bodies especially on internet and social media?
I think internet and social media are such a huge help for all kinds of people who are not necessarily empowered by cultural society, like any gay or black kids or any person that have been beaten down by society. It is because you can get all kinds of information on internet and connect with people who understand you and have gone through similar problems. I think internet really added the safety net for people who are not necessarily normal or whatever. Like whatever normal even is. And then I think that there are a lot of people who are ‘normal’, but they are more educated because of the internet. Because they see all these things, and they care about humanity and they care about making people feel good and comfortable. So I think it’s is really really really good. I know there are negative aspects to internet where people hide behind their computers and are being bullies, but I think overall the goodness that comes out of it is way bigger.
Contrasting to the images we mostly see today of similar models and body sizes, a lot of your images on social media are very open, empowering and interesting to look at. Do you think it is important for women to see that it is okay to have curves, the cellulite and the stretch marks?
I think it is really good, since so many people respond to it so well.
Is there a meaning/metaphor behind your crazy, cool, coloured hair?
I don’t know, I really like colourful things. And I think that as soon you start colouring your hair into unnatural colours, anything natural just seems very boring. I started dying it into weird colours like 3,4 years ago. And I am also very lazy with make-up and hairstyle, and since I have my hair a weird colour also makes me a lot more interesting to look at. And I barely ever do my make up.
What about your style? Same as your hair it has millions of colours?
When I was growing up my one of my mom’s really friends had bright red hair and always wore lot of tie dye and lots colours and flowing colourful stuff. So, I do think that she really influenced me concerning my fashion style. She really was like my second mom for me, so I really grew up in the whole world of colours. So colours have always been kind of comforting. And then my mom and her mom dressed pretty interestingly like mixing patterns and combining a lot of layers, so I picked up influences from my childhood a lot. But then I really like to take things from different parts and I think that once you are in fashion world and you are able to get inspired by so many different things, you kind of hound in on what you really like.
Summing up the hair and the make-up and your whole style, what is in your opinion perfect and beautiful? Even though I really hate the word perfect.
It is funny because I really like the word perfect, but in my head it doesn’t mean the same as it is often defined. To me perfect things about my friends are the things that some people wouldn’t like or would think that they make them imperfect, all rolled into one making them them and making them perfect. But I don’t think so it is for everybody the same. But for me it is that as long as I feel good, then I am happy. But it changes depending on my mood and the day. But I really like when I can put up an outfit and I am just like “Ok, this is good. I can go”
What are you proud of in your life?
I think I am very much myself on the internet. And I am very passionate about things that I really like. And also I worked at the progressive and liberal Church as a receptionist where I had so many good connections with old ladies. I am very proud of the community that I have built because it has varieties of people. Obviously I have a lot of friends of my age and who like to do what I do. But then on the other hand I also have broader community, like ladies in their 80s. I have really strong connections to them and we have real conversations. But I am happy, and I like having variety of friends. Different ages and experiences. And you wouldn’t think that they would be interested in talking to someone like me, as I don’t really look like super normal. But they love it, they love the colourful outfits.
How did you cope with the whole greediness and bad side of fashion industry?
After I did the therapy after eating disorder that I had, I became a lot stronger, like mentally. When people say things to me that are mean I don’t take them as personally as I did in the past. And yes, it is not fun, but I have just built up strong mental boundary that I am not going to let them eat me away. Obviously all the people don’t like the same things, and would be better if they would not share it as it doesn’t have any relevance. I just try to focus on what I like and that there are other people liking what I like
It makes it a lot easier if you have support, and that is a good side of internet, where people are going to get you and understand your style no matter where they are from. But I think I would wear the same kind of things no matter what people thought because that is how I feel comfortable.
If you would be able to change something, what would that be?
One that is really real, I really miss my cat, so I would like it to be with me. But otherwise for me I wish I had more time in a day, because I always feel like I don’t have enough time to do things. I have a never-ending to-do list which does not get finished in one day.
Mentioning the Tunnel’s Vision, why did you girl start it?
So there are 3 of us, and all of us are interested into fashion and we all care about not adding to the world issues, so we sell mostly vintage clothing and hand-made items from different companies and small brands mostly in US. We are trying to do what we love and providing an outlet for people who have similar style and choices.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
My friend often tells me ‘People who are a lot more stupid than you can do it, so you can do it.’
What would you like to say to you to all the girls that follow you?
Once you begin loving and accepting yourself how you are everything becomes easier. You are going to be more comfortable in your clothing, style and the way you are in the world. The core is really important, you being happy really spreads out in your life.
What are you working on besides Tunnel’s Vision?
I am currently in the process of moving, so I haven’t been doing as much of other stuff. I think that I will be working with my friend’s clothing company ‘Which World Wide’, that she just started, as I will be modelling for her. I think that I might be doing some video stuff and I think I will be going back into my blogging routine. I am also working on self-love course consisting of five short videos, so that will be coming soon to my blog.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I am really excited moving and living in LA, so I am really hoping it is a really positive move. I just want to be able to continue doing what I love, because I feel really lucky that this is what I can do.
p.s: this is my first interview that I published on braidsandeyeliner, let me know what you think of posting interviews weekly with bloggers, photographers, models and people working in the fashion industry in the comment section below.