FILM REVIEW: A PERFECT 14

A film about women reshaping the world.

Where? A film preview at the historic Cultch Theatre in Vancouver, a red carpet event with local influencers, media, film industry and fashion models including the main subjects of the film.

What? The first film of its kind, a feature length documentary about plus-sized models.

With a focus on 3 plus-sized models from around the world (Elly Mayday -Canada, Laura Wells- Australia, and Kerosene Deluxe-The Netherlands), A Perfect 14 follows personal journeys whilst taking a broader look at the harsh beauty standards in the modelling industry.

At some parts cutting and emotional, the film really makes you feel for these women and the struggles they overcome. A Perfect 14 grips you in showing you elements of culture that you're not normally exposed to, going behind the scenes and shedding light on issues prevalent in the industry.

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Being excluded from the world of ‘human coat hangers’ or the industry standard of 34"-24"-34", these women have faced discrimination in their work and personal life, but as their stories unfold we watch them overcoming ever more challenges. As the filmmakers Giovanna Morales Vargas and James Earl O’Brien explain at the preview event, their shooting style is very raw and unscripted, so they were not entirely sure what to expect or what drama was going to unfold in A Perfect 14.

During the filming Elly Mayday, a Canadian Plus-sized model from Saskatchewan, was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. As viewers we get a glimpse into her journey from recovery to runway. It is incredibly inspiring to watch Elly embrace the baldness and the scars, really solidifying her mantra to be happy with your body the way that it is, and to believe in yourself. The film ends with Elly fulfilling her dream of becoming a model in New York. Her story feels so touching as it’s so genuine, and plagued with difficulties.

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“Women are as strong as hell”-Elly Mayday
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Another palpable feeling we sense in watching this doc is frustration. Ironically, plus-sized model Laura Wells explains how on shoots she often resorts to wearing ‘fat pads’ to fill out her size 14 body to a size 16 (UK), adding to her stomach and thighs. On these occasions, her body isn’t deemed large enough for ‘plus size’. This sense of irony is also illustrated through Elly’s story, when as her cancer treatment takes its toll, and she loses weight, some plus-sized model fans condemn her, exclaiming through social media that she is now too skinny. Through this turn of events, the message of the documentary runs clear, you have to foster your own source of self-love. As plus-sized model Kerosene Deluxe explains ‘we don’t need validation from other people to feel self-worth’ encouraging the audience at the Cultch, to practice ‘radical self-love as a form of anarchy’.

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A Perfect 14 is an incredible reflection of the strength of these women, showing us how to be warriors, how to be strong. We see the beauty of imperfection fully realised. The film also demonstrates the positive side of Social Media as a network to boost our sense of personal wellbeing, to look out for one another, and to come together to make a change for a more inclusive industry.

Kerosene Deluxe’s top tip for a boost of self-love- 'make a list of things that make you, you!'

How do you foster your feelings of self-love?

Film stills courtesy of http://www.aperfect14.com/