For the first interview of the year, OA had the privilege of connecting with Icelandic beauty, Ísold Halldórudóttir. The body-positive artist and model, who gained traction in 2017 as a model for LOVE Magazine, has used her platform to spread inclusivity since the very beginning. In today’s interview, we had the privilege of discussing the importance of diversity in the fashion world, defying beauty standards, and much more…
Enjoy the interview!
Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: Hi, my name is Ísold. I’m a model, artist and activist from Reykjavik, Iceland.
Q: Let’s start from the beginning; your origin is in Iceland correct? Iceland has been described as one of the most progressive countries in the world as well as one of the best countries for women equality. How do you think growing up in this type of environment influenced you?
A: Well, I didn’t. Me and my mom moved to Copenhagen when I was around 7 or 8 and I didn’t move back to Iceland till I was 16. My mom has always been very vocal about the importance of equality.
Being a feminist from the moment she was born, she raised me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to, regardless of my gender; and while Iceland has progressed a lot further than many others, I feel that we still have a long way to go.
Q: You’ve used your platforms as model, artist, and activist to push the idea of showcasing diversity and inclusivity. Growing up, is this a subject you were always vocal about, or did it gradually happen the more you got into the industry?
A: From an early age I knew I didn’t fit in, literally.I was too different because I was too fat. It wasn’t until after I started modelling that I realised how much of a voice I had, or could have.
I’m not doing this JUST for me, I’m representing everyone that’s ever been made to feel that they’re ugly because of their size, or that they don’t belong in this society because they’re “different”.
Q: In an interview with i-D, you explained that there were certain standards that made you feel that you weren’t beautiful; I’m curious as to how you got yourself out of that mindset?
A: We have to accept our insecurities so that we can let go of them. Only then will you realise that your “flaws” aren’t real.
Ask yourself who’s profiting from these emotions? Ask yourself why you think your cellulite defines how beautiful you are, or why you feel it is almost a necessity to have a flat stomach. It’s not you, it’s them. We’ve been manipulated to think everything is wrong with us. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re perfect.
Q: You’ve used social media as a way to push your movement of body positivity. I’m curious, are there any influencers that you look up to/are inspired by?
A: Oh of course! I would have to give a huge shout out to La’shaunae. She’s so fucking inspiring and honest about everything that she does. I truly admire her, she’s gonna change the world.
I recently discovered Lotte Vaneijk on Instagram, she’s a plus size model ( even though I hate using that word because I find it so degrading ) and while fighting for diversity in the industry, she does it in a way without attacking anyone, and I find that really important, and so pure.
Also, Lucinda Graham. She’s so inspiring to how she presents herself and the way she raises awareness to mental health. There should be no shame about taking care of yourself and she truly makes sure to let her everyone know that.
Q: Social media is actually the reason I discovered you! In 2017, you were photographed by Kendall Jenner for the #LOVEME17 Campaign – what was that experience like; especially with it being your first modeling experience?
A: That was such a surreal moment, yet I still can’t believe it happened. I never considered being a model. It seemed like such a unrealistic dream. Not because I didn’t find myself beautiful, but because I was fat.
So to get that opportunity, was so overwhelming and empowering at the same time. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was super uncomfortable, but it opened my eyes to something so much bigger than just me.
Q: How do you think you’ve grown as a person/model since that shoot? Are you now more/less comfortable in front of the camera? What are some tips you could give aspiring models?
A: Definitely more…
My mom being a photographer was always taking pictures of me when I was little, but after graduating from high school I had to completely start from scratch. I didn’t know who I was anymore, so I really found myself when I started modelling, and remembered the comfort and the normality of being in front of the camera.
You have to be uncontrollably ruthless to be able to survive in this industry. That’s what everyone tells me. I call bullshit. Be whoever you want to be. In today’s world there are no rules, there’s no “how to” book, all you have to do to succeed, is believe in yourself. That’s it.
Q: In being so open and honest about your journey of self love & raising awareness about the lack of diversity in the industry (specifically fashion), you have become a source of light for those who feel underappreciated/valued, at least when it comes to society’s beauty standards. What is the overall mission?
A: I don’t consider myself as an influencer, I’m just trying to do what’s right. No one should ever feel that they’re ugly. All of us are so special because of our individuality, we all deserve to feel that we belong, and that’s the mission.
To whisper, no to shout, to all those little girls that are out there right now comparing themselves to each other, arguing, crying, fighting about who’s prettier, who’s fatter, who’s the “it girl” that it doesn’t matter. That there is no such thing as ugly. There is no such thing as flaws or imperfections.
Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?
A: I love you. Really. And to anyone that’s fighting for their dreams, their sexuality, their identity, I support you and I believe in you.
If you would like to stay updated on Isold’s journey as an activist and model, feel free to follow her on Instagram 🙂