Barely 21 years old, but ready for the world : meet Raia Maria-Laura. A self-taught photographer who recently made the transition to modeling herself. Based in Brussels, she just signed as a curvy model to one of the biggest modeling agencies in the country. But it’s not just her dark hair and full lips that are gaining the industry’s attention… it’s Raia’s motivating way in which she uses her social media in promoting self-love and body acceptance to her following (all 18K of them) with her hashtag #EatThatPizza. We met up with the Belgian native with Italian roots in New York City, where she is currently working on her modeling portfolio.
“I’m a curvy girl. Always have been. I try to eat balanced, I work out regularly, I don’t smoke and barely drink. Yet I’m not a size 34… as a teenager this used to make me very insecure. But growing up I’ve realised that these curves are here to stay. Should I therefor deprive myself to try to fit a certain standard? I’ve had personal trainers before and yes, I can drop a size, shakes and all, but that’s not how I see to live the rest of my life. At the end of the day, you have to listen to your own body. I’m not out here promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. If you take care of your body you CAN indulge every once in a while. It’s about finding that balance. So by all means… #EatThatPizza.”
Slices and sizes
“Your body-type says nothing about your personality or your capabilities. It’s not about size, it’s about being healthy, being happy and feeling confident in YOUR body. That’s what the hashtag is about. Spreading a positive message to girls everywhere, whether that they are a size 34-36 or a size 44-46. It’s not about skinny girls versus thick girls, we are all in this together. We are all trying to move forward, chasing our goals and dreams.”
Curves, goals and dreams
When asked about her goals and dreams, Raia looks up from her slice of pizza and smiles : “I’m currently working on my dream, every day of the week. To be able to combine photography with modelling is like the best of both worlds for me. Off course I dream about the next big gig, the next cover or to become the face of a huge campaign but mainly I would love to keep inspiring people to live their life as they see it. Happy, healthy and to the fullest. The world is (y)ours.”
Go get ’em girl, you have our blessing!
With special thanks to SLICE in Long Island City, New York.