“Growing up, I loved magazines, looking at the pretty girls in beautiful clothes – but I never could relate to images of skinny almost bony women.” Of all the influences that triggered the idea of the #SaartjieSelfie, it was my conversation with Johannesburg-based photographer Charmain Carrol.
I met her earlier this year to discuss her upcoming exhibition for Women’s Month. Told she was too fat to achieve her childhood ambition of being a TV presenter, Charmain embarked on a quest to explore what it means to feel good about being a plus size woman.
The result of this is Chubby Vogue Divas, an exhibition of 21 plus size women to celebrate 21 years of democracy.
“With Chubby Vogue Divas I wanted to create a platform for fuller or chubby women to be celebrated,” Charmain explains. “To feel like a Diva for a day, where they get to feel like super models, wear makeup try on clothes that make them feel good!”
Looking at the Chubby Vogue Divas, I started wondering about what how a plus size woman would choose to be seen by the world, if she was more in control. How would she pose? What would she project? And what if she wasn’t simply posing for a photographer, but posing for herself?
To see how Charmain’s subjects interact with her, you can view the Chubby Vogue Divas on Charmain’s blog, or better still, head on over to Constitution Hill to see the photographs printed in large format.
The exhibition opens on August 6 and will be up until August 23.