Model One On One; a new series on Urban Bush Babes revealing intimate interviews and exclusive photo diaries with top/upcoming models who are creating change and redefining the standard of beauty within the industry. Sharing personal highlights and struggles throughout their careers, they give insight on the true meaning of beauty. My first interview to premiere this series is with the stunning “plus-size” Swedish model, Sabina Karlsson.
Photographer: Diego Villarreal
Where are you from and can you tell us a bit about your childhood and how/when you started modeling?
I’m from Sweden and I started modeling when I was four years old. I got discovered in my hometown and that’s when it started.
What was the experience of your first modeling job?
My first job was for a hair salon in my hometown. After that I started participating in smaller fashion shows, magazines and stores.
Was your family supportive of your career choice?
My family has always supported me in whatever I’ve wanted to do. Modeling has always been my thing, my parents never pushed me to pursue modeling, I wanted it. I’m very thankful that my parents has been supporting me through out all the years, and not pushing me to go to college instead of modeling.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of the industry?
That you never know what you’re going to get. I love the excitement of my job and all the opportunities I get, I meet so many talented people who inspires me as a person.
What agency are you with?
I’m with JAG Models NY, Milk Management London, Modellink Gothenburg, Modelwerk Hamburg.
How do you feel about the “plus size” label in the industry.
Personally I don’t mind being called plus size model, though I don’t believe that we should have labels. It confuses people and at the end of the day we’re all models that are getting the same work done. A job and your beauty shouldn’t be defined by your size.
What was the defining moment or path towards the modeling you do now?
I started modeling with a US size 6, which was always too big for the industry, so I always had to be on top with working out and being on different diets. When I was 21 I just had it and luckily I got introduced to my currents bookers at the Curve division. I’m so blessed that I’m on this path and being able to work as a model in My own size.
What were some of your insecurities as a teenager and how did you overcome them?
As a kid I didn’t really have any insecurities, not that I can remember. My parents raised me to be a strong girl. I would always make sure that my voice was heard, and others too. It was only at one point as a kid where I wanted to get my hair relaxed. I guess that had something to do with me wanting to look more like most of my friends. My mom thankfully said no and I’m so happy that she did.
Who are some of the people you admire in fashion today (past or present).
I’ve always admired and looked up to Tyra Banks, cause she was showing another kind of body image than the rest of the industry. She made me think that I could make it one day. Today I’m proud of all my colleagues that are changing the game! We’re making history and we’re here to stay.
What changes do you think need to be made in the fashion industry?
It’s already happening, but I wish for more designers and companies to start using a larger diversity among models.
How do you think the industry has changed for the better?
The industry has definitely changed for the better. The diversity among using models with different body types has changed a lot. I never thought that I could be modeling in my natural size. I opened and closed Chromat’s show during fashion week NY, which is an amazing progress. We’re not there yet where it should be, where models aren’t being labeled by their size or color, but I know that we’ll get there and I’m being a part of that change.
Most embarrassing or awkward moment in your career?
Most embarrassing moment as a models was when I walked for Jean Paul Gaultier and was so hyped that I forgot to exit the runway on the correct side and ended up behind a curtain and had to stand there until the show was over. JPG just laughed and told me: “at least they’ll remember you”
What advice would you give yourself 8 years ago?
Be yourself, one day you’ll get to shine without having to be something you’re not.
What is your diet and workout regimen?
I like to have a balance with everything. I try to eat things that are good for me, preferably organic and lately I’ve been avoiding meat. I’m a huge fan of ice cream, so I can easily have a few scoops every night, it’s my treat. I love food so cant have any restrictions, it doesn’t work for me. I work out about three times a week, doing different stuff like; boxing, dance, barre or weight lifting.
Dream job to land or future goals
GAP Campaign and a beauty campaign to show off that diversity I’ve got. Current playlist Seinabo Sey and The Paper Kites Any projects on the horizon you want to share
How can we find you? (website, social media handlers, etc;)
What is happiness?
Being loved and sharing your love.
I love beautiful things like clothes, apartments, cars etc. But to me true beauty is something deeper. When you meet someone that is truly genuine, that’s beauty to me