Australian body positive model Lauren Hill has had an illustrious career that many burgeoning high fashion models could only dream of: strutting down Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runways at age 12, features in fashion magazines like Elle and Harper’s Bazaar and closing out top designers’ shows for New York Fashion Week at 17.
However, in a powerful message on embracing natural beauty, Hill revealed that of all the things that she’s accomplished, becoming the second plus-size model ever to be featured in Vogue Australia’s May 2013 issue was the highlight of her career.
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“I was a healthy size 14 (U.S. size 10), and featured in Vogue’s ‘New Season Silhouettes’ as part of their ‘Body Issue’” Hill wrote on Instagram. The post features a striking before and after photo of the model when she was working at New York Fashion Week next to an image of her now, at 28 years old. “It was such a great feeling to finally be a part of something that I was really passionate about. Lifting each other up and embracing natural beauty.”
The body positive model’s journey to embracing her curves and natural beauty was long and hard-fought. “Opportunities don’t happen you create them, and I had created my own dream at the age of 17,” Hill shared. “I was booked for a massive international campaign and flown straight to New York. This was a very overwhelming and extremely exciting thing for someone who had just left school.”
However, as a model in the cutthroat world of high fashion, Hill revealed that these accomplishments came at a price.
“To fit in the outfits I wasn’t eating much, I remember a friend of mine giving me some pill that was called size 0, I took that for the time that I lived there,” Hill wrote of her “eye-opening” experience. However, after finally losing enough weight to become the elusive size 0, she said she was still afflicted.
“I was so happy on the outside but on the inside, I was slowly being eating away,” she wrote. Unable to sustain her “unhealthy living” and “crazy diets,” Hill eventually moved back to Australia. After living a “healthy and happy life,” she came to the realization that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. “Why did I have to be thin to be beautiful, then I came to the realization that I didn’t.”
Just weeks after Hill signed with the Sydney-based agency BGM Models as a plus-sized model, the then-22-year-old landed the job of a lifetime: a feature in Vogue Australia.
“The thing is now I’ve been accepted for me and I’ve come to embrace my body shape as well as everyone else,” Hill, who was known as Lauren Burnett before she married, told the Sunday Telegraph in 2013. “It seems to be working a lot better than trying to be someone I’m not, and after eight years of straight-size modeling I never got Vogue so I think it’s amazing.”
Reflecting back on her career in the Instagram post, Hill celebrates this moment as a “significant milestone” in her life and career. “I finally was set free and could be myself, no more crazy diets or unhealthy living,” she wrote.
Today, the Australian model is a mom, wife and an ambassador for Non Airbrushed Me Management, an Australian agency that seeks to “celebrate beauty in all forms in a raw and authentic way.”
“I love what [Non Airbrushed Me Management] stands for, ” Hill wrote on her Instagram announcing that she was an ambassador for the brand. “Beauty doesn’t have an age, nationality or size. Our uniqueness and individuality makes us beautiful.”
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