‘I’m Human’: Why We’re Loving Louise O’Reilly’s Attitude To Body Confidence
We meet Ireland's curvy modelling queen.
Since starting out in the industry seven years ago, Louise O’Reilly has become one of Ireland’s busiest modelling exports, and is currently signed to a whopping eight different agencies worldwide. Her back catalogue of work includes shoots for Cosmopolitan UK, Look, Simply Be and Evans, as well as a catwalk stint at this year’s Madrid Fashion Week.
As the face behind body-positive fashion blog Style Me Curvy, we knew Louise was the one to talk to about body confidence and feeling comfortable in our own skin. She’s one of the ambassadors of West Coast Cooler‘s #ThisIsMe campaign, and we caught up with her during last week’s Dublin Fashion Festival to pick her brains.
You’re practically a Dublin Fashion Festival veteran at this stage! When was your first foray into modelling?
It was around six or seven years ago, for The Afternoon Show on RTÉ. The call came literally two days after I signed with my first agency.
Did you feel pressure starting out in modelling to be a certain size or shape?
I haven’t always been confident in my own skin. As a teenager I found it difficult as I never knew what to wear or what style suited me. The fashion options just weren’t there. That’s why my blog, Style Me Curvy, is a project that’s close to my heart. I never want anyone to have to feel the way I did.
In terms of the modelling industry though, I’ve never really felt pressure to conform or be a certain size. Around a year after my first modelling job I signed with a German agent and worked steadily across Europe on shoots and catalogue jobs. Curvy modelling just wasn’t as popular then as it is now, so usually I’d be the bigger size on set, working with former runway girls who all had stretch marks or cellulite somewhere, for different campaigns. They’d all say things like, ‘I’m human.’ It was very refreshing to see.
What has been the highlight of your modelling career to date?
It’s a toss-up between two things. First, walking at Madrid Fashion Week last season for three well-known designers in the curvy industry: Couchel, Elena Miro and Marina Rinaldi. Second, when I was interviewed by Vogue Italia. Both equal highlights!
Your blog had huge success and is read in over 140 countries – amazing! What inspired you to start writing?
I really wanted to have a platform where people could go to enjoy fashion, regardless of their size. Whether they’re a size six or a size 26, fashion is something most women care about. I thought I could use my voice to help organically promote healthy body image and inclusivity.
What advice would you give your teenage self, looking back?
It will get better. Stop obsessing about your body and just embrace life. Oh, and in the near future when you go Debs dress shopping… don’t go for the moss green one!
What’s a day in your life like right now?
Every day is completely and utterly different. I’ve had a lot of 4am starts recently for early flights. Usually I’ll be straight off the plane and on to a shoot or a meeting, be it London or elsewhere. When I get back home, I try to get through emails, plan blog posts or squeeze in a street style shoot if I can. Some days I have three different jobs in quick succession and I have to run between each, followed by a work event that evening. It’s just 24/7 at the moment.
Autumn’s finally on the way – what’s in your AW16 wardrobe?
Biker boots! A good pair is a must for me. For livening up an LBD or a pair of jeans, I’ll throw an embellished bomber jacket or a long-lined military coats over the top. Plus I have lots of A-line skirt combinations that are great with tights when the weather gets colder.
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