I met Messalina Morley onset of The Other F Word. Speaking to her about her career, I noted that her ability to talk about the world of modelling stood out as a brave attribute for a millenial. Read on to see how she got her start in the ferocious and exciting world of modelling.
What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
When I was really little, I wanted to be a ballet teacher. I was obsessed with ballet! I couldn't think of a better way of spending my life than wearing a pink tutu every day.
How did your modelling career start?
I first modeled when I was a baby in London, I was actually in the first ever Babies' R'Us catalogue. We then moved to America so the modeling stopped until I was five, when a photographer saw my sister and I, with my parents in NYC, and insisted on taking our photographs. The next thing we knew were signed with Wilhelmina Kids. It didn't last very long because I started to lose my baby teeth and I was "inbetween" sizes (story of my life lol).
So really modeling was always a part of my life in one way or another. I didn't think about it much again until I was 15 and some friends asked me to do a photo shoot with them. When I saw the pictures after, I realized how amazing the world of modeling and photography is and I wanted to do more.
Do you think all the airbrushing and skinny models are
doing damage to self esteem?
I think that airbrushing is dangerous for young minds, well really any age mind, because you don't know that it's happened. So you take the image as real. I think that the US should adopt the same rules as France, where any airbrushed or photoshopped picture in a campaign or magazine has to be labeled as such. People don't try to look like paintings in museums, because they know that they aren't real, they are artistic interpretations. If we could think of fashion images more as art than reality I think it would help take away unrealistic standards of beauty.
"I think that the US should adopt the same rules as France, where any airbrushed or photoshopped picture in a campaign or magazine has to be labeled as such. " - Messalina Morley, Model/Actress
As for, as you term them "skinny models". I do not believe in pointing the finger at any one body shape. There are many women in the fashion industry who eat healthily, exercise and simply have naturally high metabolisms, therefore making them very slender. I do have an issue when women, who are not naturally like that, are coerced into trying to be a certain size or shape. Instead the fashion industry needs to open its doors to a much wider array of body shapes and sizes. That way when people look at campaigns and magazines they can see that the way they look it beautiful too.
I think that it's disgraceful that a size 8 is considered plus size. Size 8 is a "reach" size for many women! Tell me about your term "InBetweengirl."
In the modeling world anything above a size 6 is considered "Curve" or "Plus". There are a lot of negative connotations around the word "plus-size", implying that it is bad or unhealthy. I think that first as a society, we need to stop judging each other on our sizes, the number in the back of our jeans or our weight.
In stores Plus Size tends to be from a 12 or 14 up. I find that this tends to leave women who are from a size 6-12 in a 'gap' or 'void' of underrepresentation. There is this impression that you have to either be very slim or a BBW. I am trying to combat this with the term "inbetween girl". I use it on Instagram as #inbetweengirl. The idea behind it being, that it helps women identify themselves and love their bodies at their size, even though these sizes are not represented by the media. It's ok to not conform or fit in. That is what makes each of us so beautifully unique.
Every person's body and metabolism is different. Some people who appear "fat", might actually eat very healthy diets and therefore be less at risk for a heart attack than a "skinny" person who eats junk food all the time.
I want to help change people's attitudes of themselves. To be happy with and love their bodies as they are, right now, in this moment. I refuse to let any label determine who I am or how I feel about my body. Especially as size labels really make no sense. In my wardrobe right now I have clothes ranging from a dress thats a size 2 all the way to a vest thats a 2X. How does that make any sense?
Tell me about why you are entered the Miss New Jersey USA pageant.
I entered the Miss New Jersey USA pageant to show young women that you can enter a beauty pageant at any size. You do not need to be the cliched size 2 like in pageants of years ago in order to feel confident and beautiful.
Update: Watch for Messalina in a scene in The Other F Word now streaming on The Girlfriend
What's on your To Do list these days?
I am an actor and my goal is to one day own my own production company. I want to create films and TV shows that inspire people. Oh and I'd love to win an Oscar 😉
If you could make a difference in the life of one person,
what would you want to do and how would you do it?
I would love to make a difference in a young woman's life by helping her to see herself as beautiful, so that she does not grow up to have negative body images of herself.
Messalina's Perfect Day
My perfect day is any day that I get to spend with my family, fiancé and close friends, especially if swimming is involved! And it would end with a really yummy dark chocolate desert, a good movie, and a snuggle from my cat, Albus.
Her Favorite Movies
How to Train Your Dragon (Toothless is the cutest cartoon dragon ever!)
Pirates of the Caribbean (The 1st one)
Wolf of Wall Street
Her Favorite TV Shows to Binge
Game of Thrones
Big Little Lies
For more information on Messalina Morley:
@Messa on Instagram