Designers, models and fashion houses altogether have long been bashed for their beauty and body standards. The common misconception is that fashion designers use and perceive models to be the epitome of beauty. Models at these shows are simply there to supplement the clothing, so this is why models with prominent features and larger assets are not designer’s first choice. The fear that their assets will distract from the clothes have been the reasoning for the popularity of “stick-thin” models in the modern fashion realm. Misconceptions aside, it is undeniable that the sizes and looks of models are not those of usual proportions.

In recent years, that has been consistently evolving thanks to revolutionary figures in the industry. One of the most notable and current people to keep the ball rolling is supermodel Gigi Hadid. Unfortunately, change does not come without a price: Hadid has received countless attacks on her appearance after fashion week appearances over the past month. She quickly fired back and stood up for herself against naysayers on the internet, most who dubbed her as too thick for high fashion modeling. In her own words in an open Instagram letter, Hadid admittedly stated she “represents a body type that wasn’t accepted in high fashion before”.

Despite criticism Hadid clearly is still of a considerably slim frame. She is reportedly a size 2 and stands at 5 ft 10 in. However, as she explains “Yes, I have boobs, I have a butt, I have thighs, but I’m not asking for special treatment”. So, as she proudly proclaims, she is still “fitting the sample sizes” for the haute couture clothing seen on the runways of powerhouses such as Versace, but still adding her own flair. She has also appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, where a body type like hers has been more common. Though this segment of the modeling world promoting more voluptuous body types, Hadid is arguably the first in a long time to consistently bring this style to couture runways.

In addition to the body critique, Hadid routinely receives similar criticism that is often aimed at her good friend, Kendall Jenner. The pair are often jeered in relation to their high-profile families, which many attribute as the reasons for the models’ success. There has been a significant amount of backlash to their presence in couture shows, wherein haters speculate the familial fame is the sole reason for such accomplishments. Hadid’s father is a millionaire real estate developer while her mother is herself a formal model and currently a “Real Housewives” star. Though the privilege of wealth and famous connections may’ve helped Gigi get her foot in the door, she credits her success to her hardwork, body and self-assurance. In her own words: “You can make up all the reasons you think I am where I am, but really, I’m a hard worker that’s confident in myself”.

Though she is not revolutionizing the small size of models in high fashion, she is encouraging body acceptance in fashion and for women in general. She celebrates her body and femininity with confidence. Though we may not all look like Gigi Hadid, we can learn from her positive attitude, self-approval and conviction to withstand criticism.