Emily Bador 19 Brighton
Categories: Activism, Model

Posted: 15th May 2017

As we currently find ourselves - tight in the sweaty clasp of social media - and all it’s mundanities and notifications and selfies, there are a few people using social platforms for the greater good. One of those people is Emily Bador. Having modeled for the likes of Goodhood, Bella Freud, Nylon Japan, Tatler and Urban Outfitters, you probably recognise Emily’s freckled face and cropped fringe from your Instagram feed already. Her half Malaysian, half British heritage mean Emily’s distinctive looks have garnered a big fanbase. However, if you don’t follow Emily’s personal account, which you should - now - you might not be aware of Emily’s story. Having grown disenfranchised with the fashion industry, tired of the focus forever being on how she looked and not how she felt or what she thought, Emily started to candidly document her struggles. Perfectionism and body dysmorphia have long been loaded topics in terms of the fashion industry. In recent years, women have been calling out the industry more and more for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards through photoshopping, airbrushing and via the casting of underweight, actually rather ill, models. Emily, who began modelling at the age of 17 is no stranger to the booker’s critical eye, or the photographer’s heavy handed post-production. Instead of sitting mute and letting the industry carry on as is, Emily’s taken a stand.

Unwittingly, Emily has quickly become an influential figure online. Not taking her position for granted, she utilises her engaged following and large audience to spread inspiring messages to her fanbase. A self declared "intersectional feminist” and advocate for "body positivity," Emily is on a mission. Scattered in between shoots from the pages of magazines, are photographs taken by Emily herself on her iPhone. The images, un-retouched, in natural daylight and from frank angles are brave, refreshing and profoundly important. Instead, in what can be described as a “stretch marks and all” depiction, Emily publishes photos which show her in a true light. Bravely releasing before and after photos detailing the effects of photoshopping, and photos comparing her previous weight in 2015 to now, Emily creates a space for open dialogue about the issues surrounding the fashion industry and its obsession with weight.

Through streams of consciousness, that acknowledge her ever present fears, doubts and insecurities, Emily has opened a door and is refusing to close it. The pressures we all face, to be better versions of ourselves online, is something the majority of young women can relate too. The importance of people like Emily, shaking things up from the inside, are critical. In Emily’s own words: “I want to see different body shapes; fat rolls, squishy bellies, big thighs and I also wanna see that body hair, on your face, armpits, belly and breasts. I want to see different skin colours, and I want to see acne and eczema and shit like that too.” With the long term aim that girls like her younger sister should have alternative beauty role models. Emily’s fighting hard for a more honest representation of women online - and winning.

In her spare time, Emily also likes to make other people feel pretty, and is studying as an apprentice barber in her native town, Brighton. When she’s not on set, you’ll most likely find her in and around Brighton, with her dog Moxa, eyeing up other people’s dogs or reading some Naomi Wolf. In short - can we be friends?

Words by Jamila Prowse

Tell us about yourself and what you do:I’m a part time model, part time barber, intersectional feminist, body positive, half Malaysian, half British, freckly gal from Brighton.How did you get into modelling?I got stopped by a lady in the street and asked if I had ever done any modelling when I was like 14/15. I then did freelance stuff til I got signed by my lovely booker at 17 (ish?), and it’s all been up from there.You've become a body positive icon online, why is it important to share "real" images of yourself?Representation is so important. We’re fed lies of what we are meant to look like and it's so tiring. The more you share ‘real’ images and stories, the more you give people a choice. I want people to celebrate themselves, their similarities, their differences and their bodies, and everything that comes with having a body. What advice would you give you 16 year old self? Don’t forget that everything changes, nothing stay this way forever (thank goodness). Remember to be kind to yourself. Cut people out of your life who are harmful to you. Don’t take life too seriously. Take a break from work when your body tells you to. Continue wearing what you want, you look cool as fuck. Keep on putting yourself out of your comfort zone, it’ll pay off. Stop sleeping with guys just because they’re in bands. Please.Who's your icon and why? My mum. She’s taught me that you never stop learning, and that openness, honesty, empathy, self love, and humour are so so important. Even the lowest times we’ve had as a family, she’s been there and always supported no matter what our choices and always provided for us even when we had so little. I’ve never met anyone else so inspiring.What's the first thing you do when you get up? Probably spend half an hour looking at memes and snoozing my alarm.When are you happiest?When you see a dog in the street and you make eye contact and it pulls towards you because it wants you to pet it.Who do you admire?Every single one of my friends who are women. Each one of them is so creative, independent, caring, fearless and just all round inspirational.What's your current obsession?My new Levis x Supreme camouflage jacket. Or LOVE by Kendrick.What’s your best advice?Listen to your body, that includes your mental health too.What could you not live without?Seeing my sister, Polly, and my parents dog, Moxa.Book club recommendation?Chavs by Owen Jones, Vagina by Naomi Wolf and Feminism is for Everybody by Bell Hooks.Song to be playing as you enter the club?Either I’ve Seen Footage by Death Grips or Maneater by Nelly Furtado depending on my mood.What's your signature dish?Beef and Guinness stew (with dumplings).One item of clothing that best sums you up?My Original Femme Fatale jacket by Elisabeth IlsleyWhat words or phrases do you most overuse?“Do you know what I mean?” at the end of every sentence.What three things would be on your rider? Tuaca, monster munch and puppies.What's your pet hate?When people scrape their knives against their plate whilst cutting and it makes that high pitch noise. What's next?I’m thinking butchers apprentice, dog grooming course or maybe move up north, but I should probably stick at body positivity and barbering a while. AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Rosie Matheson
Why: She’s an incredible photographer (and an all round babe).
Contact Emily Bador