Hayley Hasselhoff is a headstrong woman with much to be proud of. Her work with charities and fashion brands make her an entrepreneur in many ways, and her positive attitude regarding our bodies is so wonderfully infectious. Being the first curve model for a European edition of Playboy, she had a lot to talk about!
First of all – how does it feel to be on the cover of Playboy? (And as the first curve model, too.)
Extremely empowering. We knew this shoot was for the bigger movement than just being on the cover itself. It allowed for women of all different shapes and sizes to see that they are valued, seen and desired.
Is this something you’ve been working towards for a long time?
I have been championing body positivity and size inclusivity for a long time. Fashion is a universal language and something in which we can make a movement through. I feel ever so grateful to have been given this platform to lead curve women on the cover of playboy in the European market.
It allows for the conversation to be re-opened for inclusivity to be seen as a normality. There is still a lot of work to be done but I know this is great step forward and something in which I have hoped for for many years.
Do you think your acting career has helped you with confidence and embracing your body?
Acting at such a young age encouraged me to be in tune with my emotions and have empathy towards another. Being able to be vulnerable with oneself at such a young age around storytelling helped me with my own sense of self and relation to others.
As for confidence and embracing my body- I feel this was something that happened as I became a curve model at such a young age. An age in which you start to compare yourself to others, I felt I was let into a world of role models to finally look up to who lived unapologetically themselves no matter their shape or size. At 17 years old I had played “Amber” in ABC Family’s Huge in which I had to confront challenges Amber faced with body dysmorphia.
This had me look within myself to find the differences or similarities between myself and Amber. It had me identify with my body and start to understand in the importance of what we say to our bodies. With acting and modelling I was blessed to become a body advocate, in which, I had felt a strong duty to challenge societal standards of beauty by being me.
Regarding your IG series #selfcaresundayswithhh, how important do you think self-care days are?
We all have good and bad days. With this, it is so important we have a self care routine to remember to unwind and take time for ourselves. Self care is a form of self love. We must encourage self love into our everyday routine to start to live a life of acceptance, as when we don’t accept, we start to resist and when we resist, we resist to all the wonderful possibilities in self growth and beyond.
On our most challenging days it is very important we always have a toolbox to revert back to. Self care is the best tool we can give ourselves in the journey to ownership to self.
I know you saw this shoot as an opportunity to break down boundaries and change the perception of what ‘sexy’ can be; do you feel you’ve done this?
I can only hope it has touched one person. One person to know they are seen, valued, desired beyond their size. That you have the power to celebrate your body in whichever way feels most authentic to you. That your body is worthy of love right here- right now. We have the right to re-write what society’s beauty standards are. You are worthy just the way you are.
Do you have any projects coming up, or big plans in May, as it is Mental Health Month?
We have a lot of impactful projects coming up to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. To amplify that its okay to not be okay and that you are never alone. On May 8th I will be highlighting the conversation around World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day on my Insta Live at 11AM PST / 7PM GMT.
I have partnered this month with leading non-profit Project Health Minds to have continuous discussions around the connectivity between body image and mental health. I will also be leading a community event around “Radical Acceptance” with WeAreBridgingTheGap. You will have to follow my IG @hhasselhoff for more information.
During lockdown, have you picked up any new hobbies or gained any new skills?
I have been very blessed to put my passion to purpose during lockdown. To focus on my IGTV series called Redefine You: A Conversation For Wellbeing in which highlight stories of ownership to self and mental health. Watch this space as we will shortly be announcing its new and exciting platform.
I had also focused my energy on exploring my relationship with self- in doing so launched a mental health incentive called CheckInWithYou in which was a collective video checking in with my friends during this time. I am so blessed to live a life where I can follow my passions and bring them to purpose within my personal and professional career.
After working with Elvi on wonderful plus size clothing, do you have plans to design anymore lines any time soon?
Design has always been a love of mine since I was a teenager. My hope is to design a size inclusive brand that offer quality pieces tailored to perfection. I want to continuously work on bridging the gap and giving availability for quality minimalistic staples for curve women and beyond.
When did you start your Curve Column for Marie Claire UK? How do you use this space to inspire women?
I started working for Marie Claire and premiered my curve column in 2017. When I got the column I wanted to make it a page of inspiration for curve women to rip out of the magazine and keep for inspiration. To create editorials that were celebratory and mystical with a hint of the untouchable in fashion.
I loved being able to showcase new and worthy brands for the curve consumer. I creative directed, styled, modelled, produced and wrote the column. It allowed me to find ways to bring a story to each column and what story of “her” we wanted to portray to the reader.
I am now their contributing fashion and wellbeing editor producing IGTV videos for my series called #SelfCareSundaysWithHH where we discuss self care practices and techniques. I love to highlight the growth in my position at the magazine and bringing light to the correlation between size inclusive fashion and wellness.
Do you have any advice for women who feel unhappy with their bodies? How did you become so body-confident?
The first step is to live in a state of full acceptance. Acceptance in your body, acceptance in your being, acceptance in your surroundings. We must encourage a life led without self-judgement and more self-reflection.
To work on empowering self-affirmations and finding our personalized toolbox to build a stronger relationship with ourselves. Our relationship with our bodies are ever evolving.
Once I started to see that my body as my home my vessel, it opened up new possibilities for me to live in that my body does not define me- I define me. Do one thing a day that validates yourself in an authentic way.
Having made a huge impact on plus size women, and on history, what is it you plan to conquer next?
My hope is to continue to encourage the conversation around the importance in taking ownership for oneself. To bring light to destigmatizing conversations around mental health and find solutions to tackle the mental health crisis.
I hope to encourage more brands to be inclusive and recognize it is just another fight in equality for all. Lastly, I hope to continue to tell great stories of female characters who embody real life stories of struggle to triumph. To break barriers in TV/Film to tell a story not categorized by her size rather the truth behind her story.
Hayley will be partnering with charities Project Healthy Minds and WeAreBridgingTheGap throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, follow Hayley on Instagram @hhasselhoff to stay updated.
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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