Happy October! This month we are featuring SmartGlamour model Nupi. Continue reading to learn more about them and their modeling journey!
1. Aside from occasionally modeling for SmartGlamour – what do you do?
I get to wear many hats at my job! I have two degrees in engineering that I use to manage both people (recruiting, onboarding, coaching) and products (defining, prototyping, launching). I work with folks around the world and across different industries and backgrounds. I’m passionate both about applying DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and improving representation in STEM, so my participation as an SG model is an unexpected, stereotype-breaking addition to my CV.
2. How did you get involved with the brand?
Recently, I sought to find and connect with body-neutral folks in joyful movement fitness and improve my education about diet culture. I stumbled upon Mallorie’s fantastic fashion infographics, which helped me to learn more about the industry and its shortcomings, especially beyond straight sizes. Then, she put out the call to apply to be a model, and I thought, “there’s nothing to lose, so why not try?”
3. You’ve modeled for us multiple times – what makes you continue to come back?
When I started this journey, I told a few close friends, “I just want to be in the room!” Mallorie’s approach to directly changing the industry and blazing a trail to a world where we are welcomed and celebrated is something I’m so proud to be a part of. And can we talk about the vibe of being an SG model? The music, the welcome, the support of everyone in front of and behind the camera – it’s such a unique and wonderful experience! Not to mention the bonuses of tailored, beautiful clothes and knowing I’m a part of this change-making community.
4. What does body liberation mean to you?
Folks who’ve worked with me know I like strategizing things into short-term vs. long-term and bare minimum vs. ideal. In the long-term, ideally, body liberation means we have built and continue to create that justice-informed inclusive world that invites everyone in with resources and ample opportunity to be present and to contribute to the community in their own unique way. That’s a big, bold vision, for sure. In the short-term, the bare minimum looks like the world Mallorie creates and invites me into at every shoot. It’s a blend of representation across many facets using a broader definition of who is included by design and in practice, equitable access, agency, and welcome for how we are invited to show up.
5. If there is a message you could put across to women, femmes, and non binary folks through your modeling photos – what would that be?
For many years, when attempting something outside my comfort zone, I would say things like, “even I get to do X!” The most wonderful beloveds in my community always respond with “Why not you? Of course you!” and that’s the spirit I hope folks feel when they see me.
Adding to that, I recognize we are not yet entirely into that bright, bold Future world. So, it’s even more essential to find and create beloved, intentionally-designed communities so we can survive, thrive, and build into that world. I hope my photos show everyone (especially the internal and external critics who say I shouldn’t be here) that we are bringing that horizon closer.
Last, I and others can often hold ourselves back, waiting for some magical “until” moment. We may say, “I can’t try that “until” I ___” (lose weight, gain experience, or, on the flip side, “I already missed my chance”). Let me be proof that you, precisely as you are Now, are just as valid, valued, needed, and beloved as any past or future vision of yourself. Why not You, and why not Now?
6. What is your advice to people who would like to give modeling a try?
Follow folks who model (ha!) the confidence, feel, and presence you want to embody. Try not to focus on “flaws” or comparisons (“Comparison is the thief of joy!” someone wise once said). I challenge you, instead, to focus on how the poses make you Feel. One huge ‘a ha!’ moment was when a salsa song came on during the Summer-Swim shoot, and I started doing some of my salsa shines and threw in a few twirls. Instant magic! I was more comfortable, grounded, present, and finally more in Flow; those are now some of my favorite photos. So, see if you can find whatever makes you feel comfortable, which translates to looking confident and comfortable. From my experience, feel free to try dancing, laughing, and generally just moving around.
Go ahead and try it! Why Not You! Of course You!
A big thank you to Nupi for being our model of the month this October and sharing inspirational words with the SG community!