The pressures of staying thin in the modeling business are well known. But Sabina Karlsson experienced that trauma firsthand. The Swedish model was rejected by casting agents for her weight even as a size 2. “I was always stressed out — will I fit the clothes, will I be happy? Maybe they’ll have to send me back, because I’m not skinny enough,” she said in a video interview with i-D Magazine for Size Matters week. Karlsson felt powerless as casting agents picked her apart. “I remember in Milan once and the casting director, she just, like, squeezed my thigh and said, ‘No, no, no, too big,'” she recounts, adding, ”Sometimes, models don’t get treated as people, like an actual human being, a person. We’re just being treated as we’re just products.”
Despite adopting a strict diet and working out three times a day, Karlsson was dropped from her agency. That crushing moment inspired her to embrace her natural weight. “I thought being a straight-size model was the only way I was going to be successful … I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to enter the plus-size industry because this is just me being my natural self.” Being her “natural self” is paying off. She’s enjoying a successful career as a plus-size model and recently nabbed a prominent spot in Lane Bryant’s #PlusIsEqual campaign. Karlsson opens up about her moving journey in the clip above.