Sabina Karlsson made waves last year when she opened up about her journey from a size 6 to 16 and why embracing her natural size was her best career move.
ESSENCE caught up with the gorgeous model to chat about everything from being a woman of color in the fashion industry to the one outfit she’d wear for the rest of her life. See what she had to say below!
ESSENCE: What has your experience as a woman of color in the fashion industry been like?
Sabina Karlsson: I’ve always felt very appreciated as a woman of color and being mixed. Especially as a model you want to stand out, at least I feel like I do.
Unfortunately the market in Sweden, where I grew up, hasn’t always been the most diverse. I’ve noticed how a lot of typical “Swedish” girls would book more jobs. It didn’t stop me from continuing to believe in myself. All the years of hard work, dedication and courage have definitely paid off.
ESSENCE: Your gorgeous freckles and red hair definitely make you stand out. Were you always comfortable with your look?
Sabina Karlsson: As a kid I never really noticed that I looked too different or was unique with my red hair and freckles. I started modeling when I was already 4 years old, so people started giving me complements about how I looked at an early stage in life, so I think that also helped me appreciate my look even more. Being different was something nice. My parents plays a big part of my confidence. They’ve always believed in me and thought me that anything is possible as long as I put my heart to it. I’m very thankful for that today.
ESSENCE: What do you think would surprise people about the reality of working in the fashion industry as a curvy woman?
Sabina Karlsson: First of all I found that the environment around curvy models and just on set in general is more energetic. People laugh, work hard but still with a smile on our faces. I feel that it’s easier as a model to relax and do your best, when you’re able to eat and not worry too much about fitting the clothes on set.
ESSENCE: What’s your go-to mantra that makes you feel fierce and ready to take on the day?
Sabina Karlsson: New day – new opportunities
ESSENCE:What’s your advice to women who are struggling with accepting their size/weight?
Sabina Karlsson: Start taking control over the conversation that we all tent to have with ourselves. Follow people on Instagram that has similar body type as yourself, or that is promoting body positivity.
ESSENCE: If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sabina Karlsson: My black maxi dress from Acne Studios. It’s loose, comfortable, black and I can always dress it up or down.
ESSENCE: How would you describe your personal style?
Sabina Karlsson: Swedish, black, minimalistic
ESSENCE: Who’s your style crush?
Sabina Karlsson: I don’t have anyone specific – living in New York you get inspired by everyone around you! My curvy colleagues are definitely an inspiration too, especially on ways to show off your curves with different outfits.
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