As part of our Keep On Being You series for our #InYourOwnSkin campaign, we caught up with part time model Isabella Fernandes. Isabella is a university student who caught her shirt in a house fire when she was 17, leaving her with scarring across her right arm and back. She hopes to normalise disabilities and disfigurements through modelling, as well as attending university and having exams.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Isabella Fernandes, I’m 19, I’m currently studying and a part-time model. Taking part in the Missguided shoot has been really fun and it was lovely to be approached for it!
I was in a fire when I was 17 years old, my shirt had caught on fire which was left me with markings, scarring and disfigurement on my body. I think getting into modelling and having those first initial shoots were really empowering, although I felt a little bit vulnerable at first there’s something about it that’s quite freeing. There’s something about seeing the images, my new body and how it’s changed. The process of that is very therapeutic, there’s something nice about seeing the images and being proud of them.
What does body positivity mean to you?
I think it’s being confident in your own body and to allow other people to have that space. I also think there’s a certain level of respect involved with the conversation around body positivity. If someone engages in a conversation with you about their own body I think it’s ok to listen to respond. At the end of the day, it’s very personal and I think unless someone opens up that conversation with you then it’s their body and it’s private to them.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My mum. She’s very strong, she’s one of those people that seems to do everything and always have such care.
What is beauty to you?
The feeling of self-confidence, if you feel beautiful and feel good.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
I think it’s feeling empowered in yourself, your own body and also as a collective. It’s important to listen and respect other women and recognise that there’s a sense of power together. You’re still an individual as a person but sharing experiences and coming together and expressing them is empowering.
What advice would you say to your younger self?
I was quite shy growing up, I’d say be less nervous and be more confident. When you’re younger there’s a desire to keep up with everyone else but you don’t have to. Slow down and try and look after yourself.
What album are you loving right now / what’s on your current playlist?
I’m actually listening to a jazz playlist at the moment, people like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. On the other end, I’m also listening to a lot of grime and jungle music!
Who’s your ultimate style icon?
Naomi Campbell! She always looks so dreamy and elegant.
What outfit would you wear for the rest of your life?
It would be flared trousers and a fun coloured top
What do you think the fashion industry could do more of to inspire women?
I think having shoots that are specifically based on scars or difference or body positivity is really great and a really good start. But ultimately the goal is to have a mixture of women in the same space so women with a disability or disfigurement are also considered normal.
What is one thing you’re most proud of?
I’m proud that I’m able to show my body when I want to and on my terms, I think that’s very important. I’m at a point now where I used to talk about my self-pre- accident and post-accident but now it’s just me as one person, it’s nice to have respect for myself.
Who should we be following on Instagram right now?
An account called @partylikeits2000s, it’s a lot of double denim and a lot of Paris Hilton!
What are you working on for 2018?
I’ve been doing quite a lot of TV recently, I recently did an interview for the BBC and ITV so hopefully more things like that. I’ve also been doing more modelling, uni work and exams!