Kaitlyn Wuebbolt is a plus-size model and body positive activist who has been modelling since 2014. Her modelling has taken her to New York, Montreal, and Toronto; but she hopes to travel the world. As a model, she wants to inspire and promote self-love and confidence in others.
Congratulations on all of your success as a Plus Size Model. How did you get started modelling?
I got started in modelling back in 2011. A few of my friends were going to school for photography, and they needed a model. I volunteered and got some good shots, and found I really enjoyed being in front of the camera. But, as a plus size woman, I thought I could never pursue modelling further than that. I put it away until 2014, when I entered a plus-size beauty pageant, and won Miss Photogenic. I made a lot of great connections through the pageant, and got offered a few modelling jobs – after that, I just kept going.
What has been your favourite experience thus far – the one you are most proud of?
The number one experience I’ve had so far has been being the face of Canada for the Pan Am Games. It was one of those long shot chances that I never thought I’d land, but I did. My face was all over the country bearing the Canadian flag, and the shot itself is one of my favourites. Every time I look at that photograph I feel pride – in my country, and in my craft.
Just like any craft there is a learning curve – how did you learn how to model – both print and runway if applicable?
At first I was very raw – for every hundred shots I took there were only five good ones. But after I became more serious about modelling, I realized I had to hone my skills if I wanted to go anywhere. I gobbled up all the information I could. I literally looked up, ‘How to model’ on Google, I watched tutorials on YouTube, I bought stacks of fashion magazines and studied the models’ poses. I would spend hours looking at my face and body in the mirror, twisting and posing to find out my best angles. I was lucky in that I had a naturally commanding and fluid runway walk, but learning not to swing my arms and how to hold poses at the end of the runway was a challenge. I’m still learning to this day – a good model never stops.
Did you have mentors or role models who helped and inspired you along the way?
Quite a few! My friend and photographer Alyssa MacLean, who gave me my first photo shoot and has always encouraged and supported me in everything I do. My mentor and fellow model Ophilia Alleyne, who gives me the best advice and taught me that nothing is worth more than kindness. Stefanie Augusteijn, owner of Sexy Plus Clothing, who gave me my first official clothing shoot and the best business advice. And last but not least, Karen and Peter Chiem, owners of Your Big Sister’s Closet, who have boosted my Instagram following and have been so generous and kind to me. There’s a lot more, but if I named everyone you’d be reading for hours!
The Plus Size Industry has changed and continues to evolve – how do you think as a model you are able to help make an impact in how the world sees plus size women?
Even if I’m only able to impact one person, that would make it all worth it. I remember when I was growing up there was no such thing as a plus-size model. There was no fashion for women over size 10. I grew up in a very body-negative environment and it made my teen years and early twenties some of the hardest of my life. If I can change that for someone – whatever their age or sex – and make them see their worth and beauty as more than a clothing size, I’ll have made an impact.
You exude confidence with every step you take, were you always this confident? Tell us a little bit about the journey to confidence.
I was definitely not confident! The confidence you see now was absolutely non-existent just a few years ago. I hid behind baggy clothes, I refused to eat in from of other people, I would wear T-shirts at the beach, and I didn’t allow myself to do certain things because I was ‘too fat’. Thank God for the internet. I started following plus-size bloggers and models and I realized that I wasn’t the only one going through these struggles. And through bloggers like Nadia Abhoulson, Flight of the Fat Girl, and The Militant Baker, I got a good dose of body positivity and plus size fashion. I realized, if they can do it, why can’t I? Body positivity and confidence are ongoing journeys, though. It never ends, because our bodies are constantly changing. And that’s okay.
For our readers who are interested in starting a plus model career, what would you suggest are some top tips to get started? Get all the information you can, and use it.
Watch Model Behavior with Sharon Quinn, there’s lots of information like how to dress for an audition, what it takes to be a fit model, and interviews with designers and photographers. Take out fashion books from the library and study the poses. Reach out to student photographers and ask to do shoots (they’ll usually trade you modelling for them for the shots, and it’s a great way to build your portfolio for free!). Audition for runway shows, and in between practice walking in your heels. Learn how to do your makeup and hair! You never know if you’ll have to do it yourself for a photoshoot or runway show. Practice, practice, practice!
As a model you’ve had the opportunity to wear a variety of different styles, but what would we catch you in on an ‘off duty’ day? What would you call your fashion sense and how has this evolved through your modelling career?
I don’t have on particular style that I hold to; I draw inspiration from the 50’s and 60’s, street style, and high fashion. Quite frankly, if I like it, I wear it. But my go to piece is always a crop top. It’s so easy to style up or down, and to wear throughout the seasons. Cold outside? Cropped sweater, leggings with leg warmers and boots. Hot? A cropped tee with high-waisted shorts and a scarf to hold your hair back. Going out? A well-fitted crop top with a pencil skirt and statement jewelry. The possibilities are endless!
What are you some of your favourite places to shop your style?
I get a lot of trendy pieces from H&M, a lot of dresses and staples from Your Big Sister’s Closet, and if I’m looking for something vintage or super unique I’ll hit up Value Village or Kensington Market.
What does life look for you outside of the modelling world?
Busy! I have a part-time job, my family, my friends, and my boyfriend all vying for my time. It can get a little hectic at times, but I enjoy being busy!
Thank you for taking time to chat with us today! What is one message you would like to leave with our readers today?
Body positivity and confidence are a journey. Everybody has bad days and feels like they are useless sometimes. I used to not eat in front of other people; not let them see me in anything that was short or tight; not sit in front of people because I thought they would be disgusted by my body. But guess what? The world does not hinge on whether or not people know I’m fat. I will not stop world hunger by starving myself. I will not clothe another person by only wearing the same 3 things over and over again. And I will not make someone else fat simply by being fat myself. Take your power back and don’t spend another minute letting others abuse you with it.