I have to admit that when I was invited to take part in the Style Icon Workshops at Britain’s Next Top Model Live, my first thought was “Me? At a modelling event?” Judging a plus size modelling comp is one thing, but turning up to an event chock full of tall, slim wannabe models is another. Especially as I chose to talk about learning to embrace your body and enjoy clothing whatever your size.

But I learned some really interesting things talking to people between workshops. Women of all shapes, sizes and ages were at the show, and some of them gave me a much-needed reminder that it’s not just curvier women who have trouble knowing what to wear!

For those who don’t know, BNTM Live was an exhibition at London’s Excel that celebrated all things fashion and beauty related. A bit like the Clothes Show Live, it had live catwalk shows, workshops throughout the day, and exhibits from brands ranging from Bourjois to Max C. The finalists of Britain’s Next Top Model were there, as well as stars like Diana Vickers, Alesha Dixon and Eliza Dolittle.

Messing about on the bloggers \’bus\’, pulling my best model pose by the sponsor board, and doing my presentation!

I was stationed at the Style Icon Workshops studio, a small area with a stage and seating for about 50 people. Alongside other bloggers, You Tube gurus, stylists, designers and fashion industry folks, I did six talks over the three days on my chosen subject – embracing your body and dressing to make the most of it.

My aim was to remind people to use their own common sense and stop relying on a set of silly rules about body shape. So often we’re told to dress how to hide X or conceal Y…or to compare our bodies to things like bricks, vases and cellos. Why don’t we concentrate on picking clothes that fit well and show off the bits we love instead? I told people to throw the rulebook out the window, try everything on ‘just in case’ and have fun with fashion – but gave a few handy tips to help out those who didn’t have the guts to go straight out and try on a jumpsuit.

It was a great show to be part of and over the weekend I met some really brilliant women, from fellow exhibitors to the ladies from Models of Diversity, an initiative I support wholeheartedly.

I’d like to say thanks to the BNTM Live team for inviting me to take part, double thanks to everyone who came along and sat in the audience for one of my workshops, and triple thanks to the lovely Darika for taking the photos used in this post!

  • Anonymous

    Gemma I *loved* your talk and by the turnout of the crowd at the sessions I saw your topic was a hit and appealed to a huge range of women (and men).
    One request, I’d love to see you turn your talk into a slideshare presentation or something and put online – share your smarts wider pls!

  • Nay

    I loooooooove your dress! Where is it from?

  • http://www.gemmacartwright.com Gemma

    Thank you! It’s from Blanco (at Westfield London). Not a shop I’d been in before because all the Spanish fashion brands cut things so tiny. But I just about managed to shoehorn myself into it (while ironically pointing to a slide saying ‘wear the right size’). Do as I say, not as I do ;-)

  • http://www.gemmacartwright.com Gemma

    Will do as soon as I can. xx