Dress Rehearsal: Meet the Model, Activist Mia
This month, 19 creative women set the stage for our spring dress collection with their personal style. Students, activists and entrepreneurs made up this diverse group of women. We chatted with some to get the scoop on their unique lives, personal style and their “go-to” power outfit. Read on to hear from Mia, activist and model.
BR: For our shoot, you wore our Stripe Maxi Shirt Dress. How would you style it?
Some simple jewelry and a cute black heel. This dress is perfect to take from day to night, just up the heel, and throw on lipstick!
BR: How would you describe your personal style?
I like to keep things simple and sleek. I like monochrome—I don’t play with colors too much. I always say my personality has enough color!
BR: What do you look for in a dress?
Not being physically restricted in any way and flattering.
BR: Not only are you a model, but you’re also an activist and pioneer of the “street-size” movement. Could you tell us more about the “street-size” movement?
In the industry of fashion, there are two worlds–sample size and plus size. When I got healthy and recovered from my eating disorders, I came out of the sample-size range and I stopped booking jobs. I found that incredibly counterintuitive. Now that I’m healthy, I am no longer deemed suitable for fashion brands? Surely we need to be promoting health? I was, and still am, told I am “too small” or “too big”—I was told it’s tough because I’m an “in-between” size. I am not “too” anything, or “in-between” anything. It dawned on me that models are, for the most part, either under size 4 or over size 14. I decided to create a space for the women in between sample and plus sizes because we all deserve representation and should be true to diversity. From there, “street size” was born!
BR: You have a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a masters degree in finance. What drew you to those fields?
My father has a Ph.D. in physics, and I was raised with high regard for academia. I grew up in Hong Kong—the work ethic is a little different in Asian culture. School and studies were never seen as tedious–I always wanted to excel. My dad always told me to study what I loved. I studied philosophy and finance because of interest and fascination.
BR: Where do you find motivation for your activism?
Personal emotion. I have been modeling for 17 years, I have experienced, and still experience, a lot. I want to make changes in this industry so that my daughters and the next generation of girls don’t have to go through what I did.
BR: How do you use clothing for empowerment?
Everything is about confidence, and that comes from being comfortable with yourself. Clothes contribute to that far more than we think.
BR: How do you dress for your lifestyle?
I wake up every day and make it up–everything depends on my mood. I may feel playful and want to wear a pink sweatsuit, I may feel sexy and want to wear a body-con dress, or I may feel masculine and want to wear my boyfriend’s clothes. Who knows!
BR: “Go-to” power outfit?
BR: What is something unique about you that people wouldn’t expect?
I am severely afraid of butterflies.