Saskatoon

Elly Mayday, model, takes part in Lane Bryant's #ImNoAngel campaign

Elly Mayday is originally from Saskatchewan and now modelling in Vancouver. She recently took part in an ad campaign by plus-size lingerie company Lane Bryant.

Saskatchewan model explains why she feels more body types need to be represented in fashion

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      The plus-size lingerie company Lane Bryant has created an international stir with its new campaign #ImNoAngel.

      Some are lauding the company for its efforts to showcase models of different sizes. Others worry the U.S. company is shaming women who are thin.

      Elly Mayday, 27, who is originally from a farm near Craik, Saskatchewan is now modeling in Vancouver. She was featured in the campaign and took questions from CBC Saskatchewan.

      This interview has been edited and condensed. 

      What is the message that it's really trying to get across here?

      I think the message mainly is that people are tired of seeing just one form of beauty and one size of models. And you know there's so many different types of women out there that they need to be represented in mainstream media. We just really want to say that we're all beautiful in our own way and express that in a very impactful campaign. So I think they did what they set out to do.

      The ad has Victoria's Secret as its target, how fair is it to single out Victoria's Secret in all of this?

      I wouldn't really say that's fair. When I first heard the hashtag, I didn't honestly didn't think of Victoria Secret. It's not a huge, huge brand to me in my world. I guess I shop there, not very often. When I actually heard it, I thought angels as being perfect and being wholesome and innocent, and the idea of what most people want women to be. But women are strong, women are powerful, women are meant to be confident in themselves.

      Elly Mayday is a professional model from Saskatchewan, now living in Vancouver. (MLS Photography)

      The Lane Bryant campaign has been criticized as well though that the women featured in that ad are all around the same size. How do you take that criticism that the company has portrayed one body type?

      If you met all six of us, you would see that our sizes range pretty drastically. I know that we look pretty similar in the photos. It goes from 14-12-18. It's across the board. Some girls are taller. I think I'm the shortest one of them all. It's hard to represent everyone in such small amount of people. I think that they do a good job in representing what they want to represent. We're still trying to represent health, and still we're trying to represent something of beauty. There's a fine line between the two. You don't want to represent too skinny, you don't want to represent too big. That's not healthy.

      As a model, how has your sense of self shifted over the last few years? 

      Well, I had a major shift in my life. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with third stage ovarian cancer and chose to model throughout my treatment, through the loss of my hair, through hysterectomy and numerous operations, I modelled all the way through it. My idea of myself and what women are supposed to feel towards their bodies has changed and evolved into even something stronger. It's helped me. My confidence has made me where I am today. It's gotten me through the terrible road of cancer.

      Elly Mayday modelled even while undergoing cancer treatment. (Aparte Photography)

      Throughout that time your weight fluctuated significantly did it teach you anything on how focused we are as a society on our weight ?  

      Absolutely. Through the treatment of about a year and a half, I lost about 60 pounds. I've gained back a bit now. I had to see it from both sides. There is such a thing as 'skinny shaming' as well. We're all just ourselves trying to make it through this world, and people just don't understand that. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful. That's why I've learned the most. We're all just human. 

      Elly Mayday spoke with the CBC's Leisha Grebinski.