Models unite to fight body image battle

I had simply had enough of trying to be something that wasn't naturally me, and that was that.

She was approached by a modelling agency when she was 15. But was then told she needed to lose weight.

Extreme dieting and exercise helped her drop a dress size but Monique Bentley soon realised she was wasn’t living a life she wanted to.

Now 27, Bentley has returned to modelling with confidence in her weight and strength, launching the campaign, Models With Curves.

I aims to inspire women to embrace their natural self – and shape – while promoting a healthy lifestyle, which isn’t necessarily ‘one size fits all’.

Plus size fashion retailer Navabi has teamed up with Bentley to promote the initiative in a campaign, which showcases four curvy models – Marte Boneschansker, Alva McKenzie, Aglae Dreyer and Laura Catterall- and Bentley, standing proud in their underwear.

Monique Bentley. Image: Twitter

Bentley hopes the initiative will help young girls grow up to feel confident in their skin, not feeling the same pressure she did in her teenage years.

“I was 15 and it was a top London agency, I was going to try. I went to the gym five or six times a week with swimming sessions that followed, I ate well and I cut out anything bad,” Bentley tells the Mail Online.

“This went on for one or two years, but even after I dropped a dress size, I was still half an inch ‘too big’ around my waist and they wouldn’t take me on.

“I just remember saying to my mum that I can’t do it anymore.

“I was young and my life was on hold, it was revolving around diets and exercise when I was already fit and healthy; I had simply had enough of trying to be something that wasn’t naturally me, and that was that.”

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