Thursday, 10 March 2011

Plus-size model urging the Fashion and Media Industry to Lead by Example

In addition to employment status, many sources have also linked low self-esteem amongst young people with the coverage of body image in the media. While young men are feeling more pressure to take supplements and 'bulk up', young females are feeling more pressure to count calories and aim for ultra thinness.

A study has shown that 51% of young women in the UK would have surgery to improve their looks. Also 33% of those who are a UK size 12 consider themselves overweight.

Such statistics do not prove surprising when there is said to be an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK living with an eating disorder, with 14-25 year olds being the high-risk group.

Plus-size model Mayowa Anthea Adebiyi has officially launched a campaign to promote youth empowerment on two fronts. She aims to tackle youth unemployment particularly in the Creative and Performing Arts industries, and encourage a healthy self-esteem in young people.

The 22 year old is the Founder & Managing Director of the Social Enterprise called Enpower which works to empower young people (14-30 years) by providing career development and networking opportunities. The organisation focuses on providing guidance for young people pursuing careers in Art & Design, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Journalism, Media, Advertising, Performing Arts and Photography.

Mayowa started as a plus-size model following a pageant entry in 2008. With features in fashion shows and publications including Just as Beautiful Magazine, Mayowa has a good insight as to how the industry works. As a plus-size model of colour she is passionate about challenging society's perception of beauty and promoting diversity and body confidence, particularly amongst young people. The young model was featured on the Channel 4 Documentary Beauty and the Beast: Ugly Face of Prejudice last week. She was part of a fashion show organised by presenter Adam Pearson to demonstrate the need for more diversity on the catwalk.

Through her campaign 'The Lost Youth' Mayowa is calling on the Fashion and Media industry and the Department of Education to pledge their support and raise awareness regarding important youth affairs. She believes the Fashion and Media industry have a major impact on the way youths view themselves and that education should incorporate more topics focussing on body confidence, self-esteem and disabilities into the national curriculum.

'It's only when I look back and think about the way I used to view myself that I realise how highly influenced young people can be. Whether it is from media, friends, family or general pressures a lot of the experiences obtained from childhood can affect the formation of an individual when they are older. By forming Enpower I felt I could give young people a sense of self-worth.'

Mayowa believes that as well as providing a greater scope of career opportunities for young people, the perpetuation of diversity and realistic beauty in the entertainment industry is important in developing a generation of healthy, fulfilled and positive individuals.

With the marginalisation of young people in present day society, she believes that a vouch for youth empowerment is long overdue.

In addition to being a Plus-size model Mayowa has a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences (Royal Holloway, University of London) and a MSc in virology (Imperial College London). She thus demonstrates first hand that young people can have ambition and make the most of their talents.
Visit Mayowa at her official website

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