A beauty of a different kind

Nalisa Alia Amin speaks about her experiences as a plus-size model in the Malaysian fashion scene

28 Oct 2020 / 10:19 H.

WHEN you are comfortable in your own skin, you are beautiful. Indeed, confidence is the best makeup a woman can wear.

Thirty-one-year-old Kuala Lumpur-born model Nalisa Alia Amin is a walking example of this trait. She has been a professional plus-size model for the past two years.

Before diving into the modelling world, she was a writer for several online magazines, writing on various topics ranging from fashion to digital news.

In this interview with theSun, she shared a little bit about her experiences and future plans.

Describe your journey into the local modelling world.

“I have always been interested in fashion and modelling since I was young.

“When I was pursuing a degree in mass communication, I would always participate in the photo shoot test of my classmates. It was a fun thing to do.

“My big break came in 2018 when fashion designer Min Luna wanted me to model her clothes. She wanted to celebrate diversity, and she wanted to celebrated all kinds of bodies. She had models with different skin colours and heights wearing her clothes on the runway.”

Where did you get the confidence to be a plus-size model?

“I was not always confident about my size. My weight has always fluctuated since I was young and I have been battling with this insecurity ever since.

“I wore baggy clothes to cover up. When I was overweight, some of my relatives would tell me that I am ‘too healthy’ and gave suggestions to help me lose weight.

“When I followed their advice and became thin, they were worried that I was not eating enough, and hinted that I should put back some of the pounds I had lost. I could never please them.”

What was your turning point to being happy with who you are?

“It happened in 2015, when a friend of mine posted a picture of me in a swimsuit on her social media.

“Someone took that picture and viralled it with a bad intention. Others joined him in mocking me.

“I was totally devastated. I wanted to delete all my social media accounts. Later I changed my mind.

“I was not going to allow some bully to take over my life. I was determined to be happy with what I am. If someone has a problem with my size, that is their problem.”

What is the best compliment you have received as a plus-size model?

“It came from a guy who said that he was glad that I was doing what I was doing. He explained that ever since his sister began following my social media accounts, she had developed more confidence in herself.

“His compliments were super sweet. People want to see their skin tone and their body size and their age being represented in the media today.

“When I was young, I looked for a role model who looked like me and I could not find any. I am glad to see the modelling world today is slowly opening up to diversity.”

You are obviously a role model for some. Who are some of your own role models?

“Paloma Elsesser. Like me, she is a plus-size model.

“My other role model is global pop star Rihanna. She has a great personality and an attitude that breaks barriers.

“I also admire writer Maya Angelou. She talks about femininity and sexuality in the most eloquent way.”

What are your strengths and your weaknesses?

“My strength is that these days I do not let small things get to me. I like to look at the bigger picture. My friends have described me as a good listener.

“My weakness is that I am impatient, and I need to work on that. I also get easily distracted.”

Where will we see you in five years?

“I was a writer, working my way to becoming an editor for a fashion magazine.

“But now I am walking a totally different road. I never thought I would ever become a model. Right now, I cannot predict what my future will be.

“But I have a dream to start some kind of business, as well as an NGO. I want to help people.”

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