Meet Healthy is the new Skinny Founder Katie H. Willcox
Katie is the founder of Healthy is the new Skinny and Natural Model Management in Los Angeles California. Both Natural Models and HNS are dedicated to bringing a new perspective to girls when it comes to health, beauty, and body image. Katie has gained a valuable perspective about beauty working in the modeling industry for over 12 years as a "plus size model." She feels it is her duty to share what she has learned in order to help girls and women everywhere relieve themselves from the pain and self loathing that is passed down from generation to generation. We can break the cycle by understanding how it was created and Katie is going to teach you how.
"We literally have been brainwashed into hating ourselves. Once you have the information and education on how advertising works to manipulate the masses, you are then able to cut the cord that is holding you down. That is when your free will is activated and you can begin to think for yourself. That is how we will discover what it means to love ourselves again and that is how we rise up as women together."
You may recognize Katie from this iconic photo shot my Matthew Rolston for O Magazine. This picture depicts what an average woman would need to alter on her body in order to look like Barbie.
Katie created Natural Model Management and Healthy is the new Skinny at the age of twenty five with the help of her husband Bradford Willcox. Katie met Bradford when she was a size 14 and feeling unhappy with her body and self image. Bradford thought Katie was "The most beautiful girl he had ever seen." Bradford played a huge role in Katie's life by teaching her a valuable lesson:
"Every single person is beautiful to someone. No matter how bad you may feel about yourself, there is someone who thinks you are perfect."
Over the course of two years Katie transformed her body and mindset by challenging old outdated beliefs about herself and going on a journey to discover what kind of life she wanted to live. Katie learned about nutrition and how to take care of her body. She discovered her love for the ocean and being in nature. The thing that changed Katie's life the most was not diet and exercise, it was focusing on feeling happy. It was a combination of changing her thought process about herself, learning how to better treat her body, having a lot of fun, and doing things each day that made her happy!
"I realized that for my whole life people made me believe that being a larger size and stature was a bad thing. As a result I would only eat a specific diet and workout in order to be smaller. I was not eating well and treating my body well, I was eating and exercising out of some deep rooted shame. I have now realized that those ideas never belonged to me. They were given to me and I no longer had any room in my heart and head for ideas that would shame me for existing. I decided to give myself permission to be me. I now find ways to workout that match my strong warrior spirit. I changed my mindset from wanting to be small to wanting to be empowered and strong. For me it was about owning my own existence."
Over the course of two years Katie went from a size 14 to a size 6 and now is a healthy size 10 at 5'9"and 163 pounds. She believes in being honest about weight and size in order to show girls that it does not define you in anyway. Bradford comes from a personal training and fitness modeling background and has been Katie's source of support and love at every stage and size. He continues to support Katie in all that she does and has decided to dedicate is Instagram account to his beautiful wife sending her messages daily to remind her that he loves her.
"Some people like chocolate, some people like vanilla, and some people like strawberry. My flavor is curves! Everyone is allowed to like what they like without apologizing for it. Just because the media shows you one type of pretty doesn't mean that is everyone's flavor." -Bradford
After feeling unfulfilled working as a model in a system that showed no signs of change Katie and Bradford decided to take a leep of faith and opened Natural Model Management for models like Katie who wanted have a healthy experience in the modeling industry. Katie was her only model when they opened in 2011 and she hit the streets to discover new models for her agency. Not only did she find girls off the street, she personally taught them how to model. Bradford who is an amazing fashion photographer was able to shoot beautiful images that gave the models a shot at working in a competitive industry. Because Katie and Bradford are a dynamic team they were able to turn their dream into a reality and within the first year they had models making six figures in bookings. Today Natural Model Management has the best talent roster for the curve industry on the West Coast and their models are booking jobs around the United States and world.
"I honestly look back now and think, How the hell did I do that?! I just really believed that girls could work as models just being their natural size. It takes more effort on the agency's part to seek out clients and try something new but because I had seen the harmful effects the industry can have on the models, and the girls that look up to them, I just had to try. I know people say things like "You are part of the problem." I can understand why women are frustrated and can make judgments from the outside looking in but the truth is the best way to create any kind of change is from the inside out! Modeling is not going anywhere and so it is important we create healthier standards within the industry for the girls who do have that opportunity as well as a healthier ideal that consists of a wide range of beauty for the girls and women who are consuming it. Beauty is not the enemy, it is our narrow definition that we need to change. Beauty is all around us we just need to open our minds and then our vision of beauty will change." -Katie
Over the past four years Healthy is the new Skinny has been in a constant state of evolution. HNS is Katie's vision for the future. After speaking to over 10,000 students about body image and the media Katie has worked to better understand how young people think and interpret the images and messaging from the media on a daily basis. Katie is in a unique position being that she is the only person in the world to open her own modeling agency and still continue to be a successful model herself. Katie has been exposed to all sides of the industry as an agency owner working with clients and models on a personal level. She continues to model herself at a healthy size and weight for her body, and Katie and Bradford speak at events for junior high to college age students about body image and the negative effects of the media. Because of all of the experiences Katie has gained an entirely unique perspective.
"It took me almost 30 years on this earth to realize that my value is not in my beauty or my body, and that my liberation is not something that can be sold to me in the form of sexuality. I have learned that my mission was never to be beautiful, it was to experience physical beauty, and then teach what I learned from that experience. What I have learned is that true beauty and true liberation come when you are no longer defined by society. You are a unique ray of light shinning in this world that can not be turned off or burnt out. You can not be defined, you are not here to be defined by others. You are here to shine." - Katie
In Dec 2015 Katie will add Author to her list of titles when her book "Healthy is the new Skinny" that she co-wrote with her Mother Dr. Janice White, is published through Hay House Publishing. To hear more from Katie you can follower her on Instagram @healthyisthenewskinny and watch her on the Healthy is the new Skinny Youtube channel in a new series she has created to help girls open up to new ways of thinking when it comes to their bodies, health, happiness, value, and love. If you change the way you think you change the way you feel!