Written & Photographed by Amber Schormans / Amber Magazine
For the second year in a row, I attended #theREALcatwalk in Trafalgar Square. And *spoiler* it didn’t disappoint! In case you didn’t already know about this event, it was founded by Khrystyana, a model and body positivity advocate from Russia who is living and working in NYC. Since being a contestant in America’s Next Top Model, Khrystyana has campaigned for all kinds of realness, positivity and diversity, which is so refreshing. We need so much more reality in representation that actually makes people feel confident to be themselves. And that is exactly what the real catwalk is all about! Originating in NYC, this is only the second real catwalk to grace Trafalgar Square in London. I didn’t think it was possible to top last year, but dare I say it, I think they did! The buzz was simply unreal, everywhere you looked there was pure joy. There is something electric about people embracing themselves so confidently, especially when it’s ALL kinds of people. Including people who used to think of parts of themselves as “flaws” or insecurities, and now they are raising awareness and strutting their stuff for all of London to see and admire! Everybody was welcome, and everybody was beautiful. To quote Daryl’s boxers, Inclusivity Is Sexy! And everyone who walked in that catwalk, also did so to remind you that you too are sexy and beautiful.
Everyone deserves to feel represented and comfortable in their own skin. We need to continue to normalise, celebrate and cherish our bodies and souls. We are all so different for a reason, and our individuality is something to be harnessed, not hidden. We need to see all kinds of skin conditions, cellulite, wrinkles, disabilities, body hair and so much more, more often! Reality is what‘s truly beautiful, and this is definitely a step in the right direction!
A few quotes from some of the lovely people who walked in the show and what they thought of the event:
“This is my second year walking in the real catwalk and I didn't think anything could top last year but I was wrong! This has been the most truly empowering and uplifting experience of my life, made even better by the wonderful people I met who I know will be friends for many years to come. The representation was incredible and it was amazing to see so many people from such different walks of life. Thanks to everyones support, encouragement and kinda words I am starting to fall back in love with and reclaim by post partum body, and I couldn't be more grateful for the experience.” - Vicky Dobson
“I had an absolutely brilliant day! Inspiring, empowering and everything in between. I have a campaign called Justbeyou on Fb and teach women to empower and love themselves regardless of size and that’s exactly what we did today!” - Tessa Wenn
“What an amazing experience, being a British Asian woman with a rare skin condition CMN I felt I had represent those that may be finding it hard to be excepted due to their disfigurement, disability or skin condition. The real catwalk has given me that platform to show everyone is different but the same! Let’s smash stereotypes and show every community we are all beautiful” - Ash Tooray
“I loved this experience, I went last year and came back better this year helping others along the way, telling people to believe in them-self more we got this we can do this. This is us we are real.” - Kizzy Brockall
“I'm sick of the media drip feeding an image of a normal body, making us feel shite and convincing us to change via diet, surgery or filters. Today proved to me and hopefully others who see the images there is no such thing as normal. We are all different and today celebrated that. I wanted to get my scars, my fat and my cellulite out to encourage others not to cover up anymore, and show myself how fabulous I am with it all hanging out. The more we see the more likely diversity will be the new normal.” - Alison Fisk
”It never felt so good to look different. My whole life I was judged by my appearance and so many times I hid. I didn’t feel comfortable to show my face fully and I tried to convince myself that I look like everyone else. Last Saturday, my beautiful blemishes were on full display at the Real Catwalk. The crowd applauded and I never felt so LOVED.” - Nathalia Moraes Freitas
London has spoken! We want more reality and positive representation, thank you Khrystyana for bringing us the epitome of empowerment. The Real Catwalk was so amazing, and I truly believe that this is just the start.
Swipe through the gallery below to see more photographs from the day: