Isabella Forget first caught our eye as a model for Skye Plus, a gorgeous swim range we just added to our Curve category. A quick flip through her Insta account proved what we suspected—that this gorgeous plus-size model is primed to be the body (and face) of a revolution. Body-aware casting is something all brands are trying to be consicous of, and Forget is at the forefront of putting real, gorgeous bodies front and center — where they belong. We chatted with the rising star about casting, body shaming, and what suits she can't wait to wear to the beach this summer.
BIKINI: How did you get into modeling?
Isabella Forget: I’m a professional hair and makeup artist, and one day in 2012 I was on set and a photographer friend’s of mine told me I should apply to an upcoming contest to be the next plus-size model in Montreal. The next thing I knew, I won the contest, as well as a modeling contract — and my career was born.
BIKINI: We see you use the term "curvy" model, which is such an empowered spin on plus-size. How is the language of the industry changing?
Isabella Forget: When I started, maybe five years ago, the term plus-size was common—not bad or wrong. A lot a people still argue about labels in the industry. I think people just like to label things in general. As for myself, I use curvy because it’s short and sweet and I like the interpretation of it, [but] I don’t really mind the term plus-size either. I think I will still continue to use both. I am not really sure people are ready to remove all labels—when I say that I am a model, I still feel that I need to justify and categorize myself. I am a perfect size 14, so some people from the plus-size industry think that I am too thin, and people from the fashion industry think I am too thick. I think I am perfect as is.
BIKINI: Body issues seem to plague everyone, no matter their size. Have you always been body confident? Do you struggle with any body image issues?
Isabella Forget: Growing up, I went to a private school and the uniform was mandatory. All my friends would exchange clothes and skirts, and I felt really excluded because I couldn’t do that. I was wearing a size 8-9 and I remember feeling so big and horrible—I thought I was really ugly, but I was shaped like a woman, not like a little girl, and at that time, I didn’t understand that. I was really uncomfortable with my own body. Now I feel great, but believe me, sometimes I still have down moments, which I think is normal. I try really hard to stay positive and see the bright side of every situation—everything is a work in progress, and I am trying to be the best version of me possible. It’s funny— I used to hate wearing tights, and now I love them. I think everybody feels a bit self-conscious about a part of their body, they just need to embrace it and give it a little bit more love.
Forget and fellow models supporting the I Wont' Compromise campaign.
BIKINI: Where do you want to see more real bodies represented? Who is doing a good job of being body-aware in terms of casting?
Isabella Forget: Unfortunately, the plus-size industry is still managed by a double standard. One one side, brands tries to hire curvy models and represent a healthy way of life so they often take smaller models size who wear size 8-12. Often called "in-betweenies," those models look thinner, especially if they are tall. I do understand that if they use thicker models, garments will fit differently, but still—that’s real life. Some brands even hire smaller models and pad them at their butt, hips and boobs to make them look bigger, without the flaws of larger sizes like cellulite or double chins. I think that brands should use every type of body; thin, fit, curvy, thick so every body type is represented. In the plus-size fashion industry, there are a lot of things to work on. Ashley Graham, as gorgeous as she is, did a lot to put us on the map—we now need more models like her, but with more diversity in the types of personalities and images we see—not all curvy models need to be bombshell-sexy. I also think that in terms of casting, Chromat, Modcloth, RUE107, ASOS, and Aerie are my favorites because they represent all body types as a whole, not as different categories.
BIKINI: Photo shoots in swimsuits—whoa. How do you get ready for a swim shoot?
Isabella Forget: The first thing on my list is my nails and feet. I think a good pedicure is really important for a summer look. I try to stay hydrated at all time, inside and out. I exfoliate the day before and moisturize on the day of the shoot, and I always wash my hair the day before a job. I do waxing a few days before the gig, because you don’t want any redness on your body the day of the shoot. I try to go to hot yoga the day before, so I feel amazing for the pictures.
BIKINI: What’s the most fun part of your job?
Isabella Forget: I really love the fact that I am able to do all kinds of different things. I love to meet new people all the time, and travel. I think that modeling is a little bit like acting, sometimes you play a character and you need to show different emotions and expressions. A good connection between a photographer and a model can often lead to some magic moments and pictures. I think a lot of models are sometimes stuck in a place where they act always with the same poses and do the same things. I am trying really hard to think outside the box and do things differently, more emotions and movements.
BIKINI: What part of it is most challenging?
Isabella Forget: When I started modeling, it was hard for me to understand that sometimes, you don’t get the job, and it could be because of so many reasons: your hair color, skin type, size etc. It’s hard to not take it personally, because it’s your body being sized up. The negativity in this industry can be hard sometimes, too. A lot of people in the world are not happy with their own body and instead of working on themselves, they project their insecurities onto you. I get a lot of body shaming on social media, about my body. Even if I don’t pay attention to it, I find it sad that people just hide behind their computers and think they can say anything on the internet. I am a human, and nobody needs that in their life.
Forget in the Aerie maillot she's stoked to wear this summer.
BIKINI: What swimsuits are you excited to wear this summer?
Isabella Forget: I can’t wait to wear my dark orange vintage look one piece from Aerie. I also just received a great piece from the Gabi Fresh collection, I just love her designs. I have always loved Robyn Lawley’s swimwear line too. I did order some pieces of Asos and liked it because they are really trendy. My go-to is a Skye swimwear blue onepiece.