Cornwall Models and Promotions is a new modelling agency in the county that encourages diversity and equality in the modelling world by breaking the stereotypes that exists around the fashion industry.
The agency was funded by 30-year-old Hayley Cansdale from St Mawes, who wanted to create something that was more inclusive than what you can usually find in the industry.
“I was fed up with everyone being told how they should look, so I started an agency to banish the negative stereotype associated with this industry and prove that beauty is more than skin deep,” Cansdale told Truthfal.
Cansdale, in fact, is well aware of how the modelling world can be like, as she herself wanted to be a model in the past.
“I had a few knock backs from national agencies and eventually got offered glamour modelling but that’s not something I ever wanted to do. Living in Cornwall at the time I found most modelling jobs were out of the county,” Cansdale said.
With Cornwall Models and Promotions, Cansdale wants to change the negative stereotype associated with the modelling industry and show that the South West has an amazing undiscovered wealth of talent which hadn’t been showcased on a local platform yet.
She believes that Falmouth University is one of the places in Cornwall with incredible talents and that is why she would like to create a collaboration between the agency and the university.
“Falmouth University has a new wealth of talent passing through from photographers to designers and potential models, it would be wonderful to build a solid relationship with the Uni and we could offer practical training from experienced industry professionals, local contacts and functions and maybe even careers in the future,” Cansdale told Truthfal.
At the moment, the agency has 60 published models and many more waiting for portfolio shoots, and they are all of different sizes and of different ages. Cansdale described Cornwall Models and Promotions as “an equality based all-inclusive agency” which is “helping to prove that everyone is beautiful in their own way”.
One of the models of the agency is Justyna Dudek, a 39-year old mother of two, who works as a translator and runs a language school in Redruth.
She was discovered in her home country, Poland, when she was 14 at a market and she then started to do some photoshoots.
“In my country there weren’t many jobs back then, so I was able to earn my own money. But I was turned down so many times because they were saying that I was ‘a little bit too big’,” Dudek told Truthfal.
Dudek explained that even though she was tiny (around size 8/10) she has always been “curvy” and her body was not what a lot agencies considered ‘right’ for a model.
“If you went to a casting they would look at you like you were an object. That is horrible and so demotivating. That what I was growing up with and I was struggling with an eating disorder. I have been dealing with it all my life just because of that,” Dudek told Truthfal.
Becoming a mum and finishing her studies set her back from her modelling career, but by joining Cornwall Models and Promotions she has had a new chance to do many photoshoots, several adverts and walk on catwalks.
Dudek said that all the models of the agency “are normal people” just trying to be themselves, showing that beauty has no size or age.
She said: “We promote diversity, we don’t want to just promote perfection because perfection does not exists.”
However, Dudek agrees that the canon of beauty is changing, even if there still a long way to go.
According to a diversity report conducted by the website “The Fashion Spot”, in Spring 2018 runways, the number of curve models castings reached an all time high with 38 plus-size women appearing across 12 runways.
The Fall 2018 had a record of 64 transgender women and non-binary models who walked in 52 shows. In comparison only 12 transgender or non-binary models walked in 5 shows during Fall 2017.
Finally, Spring 2018 saw 27 women in their 50s and 60s walking the runways, the most diverse season on record.
Cansdale concludes: “The way we see the world has been changing for a long time and I don’t think you should have to conform to please others. Everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, we are all equal no matter our backgrounds, disabilities or circumstances.”