Breakout Dutch model Jill Kortleve made her runway debut at Alexander McQueen’s SS19 show – and went on to score a spot in that season’s campaign, too. Both were major coups considering the fact that models who don’t fit ‘sample-size’ garments are woefully underrepresented in high fashion.
“I grew up in a small town in the south of Holland where I always had the feeling I had to act a certain way of dress a certain way to fit in and for people to like me,” Kortleve says. “It took me about 22 years to figure out that I was in control of my own life. I made a big decision in my work – which was to stop focusing on my body weight.”
Now based in New York, Kortleve has starred in campaigns for H&M and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, and has a series of huge (and, for now, top secret) projects lined up for 2019. But she says staying true to herself – see: her refreshingly candid IG, featuring toilet selfies and nasal flushing videos – and expanding the industry’s narrow ideas of beauty, is more important than any catwalk or billboard. “Now, I want to inspire young girls and boys, and show it’s okay if you don’t fit beauty standards, it’s okay to be a brown woman and have a moustache and arm hair, and it’s okay if you don’t have a flat stomach.”
Emma Elizabeth Davidson