For the first in our series of interviews with badass women you need to know about, we talk to London based model and creator April Matison
1. Thanks for being our first ever '5 Minutes With' Interviewee April! We are excited to have you. Can you tell me a little about yourself and what made you get into modelling?
Thank you ever so much for allowing me to be the first ever Female interviewee for Sans Pareil, I am beyond grateful! I am super excited to be here!
So a little bit about myself, I am a 24-year-old *plus size black content creator who sort of just fell into it not by choice and actually by a lack of self confidence at the time. so essentially I entered a competition on behalf of Simply Be to become their next ‘Icon’ which actually I thought nothing of I, assumed I wouldn’t even be considered, as a small town girl with barely any media reach. It took me weeks to actually put the application in (which was just a picture of myself, and a caption of why I think I should be the next Icon) it’s always so daunting having to highlight aspects of yourself in order to self publicise in a sense! I think towards the last days before the comp closed I spoke with my actual manager at work and friend and I said “you know I wonder if It’ll be worth doing this? Maybe I’ll just be overlooked as always” *wink wink* considering I don’t think I’ve even won a raffle or even a game of pass the parcel let alone a position to be the face of a brand.
Anyway, I did it finally and within 24 hours I was selected as one of the amazing 16 finalists.
2. What made you enter this competition? What did it mean to you?
Growing up I’ve always wanted to be some form of star haha, I started off my career in my younger years as a child actress that similarly to the rest somehow unfortunately go bust (competition for child stars is super strong) and I guess once you don’t make it, you give up. So I assimilated back into this regular somewhat larger than her peers girl with super confidence and no where to make use of it.
I mean, I’ve always been told that I am the kind of person that plus size companies would go for, yada yada yada, but I never genuinely thought of it myself, so genuinely it was crazy to me that I entered the competition, was picked as a finalist, and went on to win I guess second place. To be totally honest, I cried when I didn’t win(internally of course) because I felt like I did when I was a child again, good but not great enough to be first. So when the Jobs started to pile in and brands started to take an interest in me I was beyond shocked to say the least. I guess now this means so much to me, possibly more than it ever would have. I was way too focused on the negatives and the downsides to the what if, never the upside. That’s a huge takeaway moment for me actually.
3. What are your views on the plus size modelling industry? Do you think the ‘plus’ needs to be dropped?
I am so glad you asked me this, I have never understood the need for the addition of the ‘plus’ like for years for centuries there have been larger women in society and they have been catered for the same way as slimmer size women I don’t understand why there is such a highlight on plus size women now that we’ve become a term “plus size women” so to speak. When I get dressed I just feel like I woman I don’t think about my size I don’t think about myself as less than because there’s more of me. If I look good I feel good and vice versa. I hope this is an agenda I can push and hopefully win to make a step in the right direction so that women one day will not feel like they are different.
This doesn’t go to say that I don’t have bad days because boy oh boy do I have bad days, but remembering what brought me here makes the days feel so much better.
4. What does it mean to you to see yourself represented in the media?
Honestly it is the most beautiful feeling seeing myself and women that look like me represented in the media today. For years there has been this stigma that plus size women are so many things such as lazy or unhealthy, which baffles me because that’s definitely not the case but I guess by presumption you would say anything that makes you feel comfortable and that qualifies as an answer to you so it’s great to see that there are other women that are like me that live the same routines as me and are happy and confident with themselves. Women that don’t follow trend diets, women that aren’t part of a statistic and they aren’t made to feel inferior because society has told them there’s no place for them based on something as shallow as size!
5. Are you planning to turn this into a career?
Ideally I would love to be a philanthropist, I really want to change the world in so many different aspects and if modelling is the catalyst for that then yes I am happy to make this a career, but I don’t wish to be a one trick pony, I genuinely want to change the world!
6. How has this positively changed your life?
The answer to this question is so hard, because I’m still so fresh in the industry. If I had to say it’s positively changed anything is, it’s given so much power to people around me, both men and women, it’s really allowed people to see themselves similar to me and feel confident. I get messages from girls and guys all the time saying how much my growth has not only inspired them to change their views of their own life and life around them is just so beautiful to me and so I guess that’s a total 360, I guess that is what’s positively changed my life.