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An Interview with Isabel Hendrix

Images used in collage from herehere, and here
Plus size model Isabel Hendrix's style can perhaps best be described as everything at once. Minimalism is not in her vocabulary, and excess has never looked better than when she wears it. Glance through her Instagram feed and it's easy to see why her striking style has not only captivated over 120,000 followers, but also has caught the attention of media outlets like Dazed and Bustle. She embraces trends wholeheartedly but always with a personal flourish. She incorporates fads in her style not in the insincere and ultimately confining way that you see some fashion bloggers employ, but rather in a manner of inclusivity. Her outlook on life in some ways mirrors her broad, individual style -- she believes in breaking rules, in tearing down society's taboos, but above all, in fostering a friendly and accepting environment for people of all shapes and sizes. She's the body-posi icon the internet needs, and from her wise words about self-confidence to promoting consent in a campaign with Kidd Bell, it's clear that Isabel is not only providing much-needed boldness in her personal style, but also in her sociopolitical views. Based on her sultry glances in outfit photos, I didn't expect for my interview request to be accepted (I assumed she was busy saving the world and serving up looks while doing it), but to my surprise she responded quickly. Clad in a green striped sweater (a color scheme she says she's been wearing a lot lately), she shocked me once again with her humility as we chatted over Skype. Bubbly but also contemplative, she answered each of my questions with a respectful laugh.

What's your favorite outfit?

Gosh. I don't know. I have a pair of green pinstripe pants that I've been wearing a lot. And I've been wearing them with like a green striped sweater and a green belt. It's just like a whole lot of green. The pants are vintage and the sweater's from UNIF, but it's like a vintage inspired kind of look.

Who are your style icons?

Mostly I feel like I find inspiration on the internet. I don't necessarily have a celebrity or a person in history I find super inspiring outfit-wise. It's mostly random kids on the internet from all over the world. I really like internetgirl. My friends all dress really interestingly and cool. I really like loserthrift. He's very cool. Naomi Roestel is very cool too.

Who do you think is the most creative person alive right now?

Oh my gosh, that's such a hard question. Maybe RuPaul.

What do you think is the best color combination?

Every color combined with every other color! I think for every person it's different. I've been really into greens and oranges lately.

What work are you most proud of?

I would say that I'm most proud of different lingerie shoots that I've done because a lot of people respond positively to that, because people aren't used to seeing people that look similar to them. You can tell that when you're wearing underwear because you don't have clothing on. That's the most rewarding thing, hearing back from all these different people saying how inspiring and helpful it was.

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 What advice would you give to your younger self?

I think I would say that time is very helpful and things get better over time. No matter what the issue is, it'll be easier to deal with, or it'll be less daunting, or it'll seem less consuming as you go through life. People are able to withstand so much stuff. If you can get through the hard times, it'll get better. Time is the most helpful thing.

What has been the hardest part about having a presence/a following on the internet?

I think probably just being consistent in posting. It's really important to me to post high quality stuff and well thought out stuff. Sometimes I won't be as on top of it. I'll go through a phase where I'm not as inspired and not posting as much. I get frustrated with myself, because there's people who are interested and care about what you're doing and what you have to say. I worry I should be doing more. Making sure that I'm doing stuff for the people that are interested in what I'm doing is the hardest part.

Has your style gone through any major changes throughout your life?

Yeah. I didn't used to be that into fashion. I wasn't not into it, but it wasn't a passion until my late teens/early twenties. I think that was a big shift because I had never really thought about it before. I had things that I liked but I didn't think about it a lot. I used to dress with a lot more tie dye and flowy things. I've been more into stripes and patterns and weird combinations of patterns. I still like colorful things but I think it used to be a lot more flowy and earthy.

What's your favorite memory of modelling?

I've had a lot of really positive experiences with modelling. I haven't had that many negative ones. One of the first times I modeled I was shooting with a friend that was a photographer. Her name is Marina Fini. I think that she had a friend there who was styling. That was the first time I really actually modeled. It was really low key, but it was fun. It was the beginning of a whole thing that I'm now really into.

Your style is very Y2K. Is there a reason why you gravitate towards that time period?

I used to dress more '90s. As we go through time, what trends are popular cycle through. People dressing with Y2K vibes are just what's interesting to me. I thought I was ready for a change, and that was what was lookin good for me. It's also fun to see what Y2K trends are popular now, because that was what was popular when I was growing up. I remember seeing all these high schoolers dressed like that and thinking "Wow that's so cool!" and now I see my friends dressed like that. Like with 90s stuff, I was around but I was little. And anything before that I don't remember. So it's cool to see things you remember coming back.

What are your favorite places in LA?

I live in Glendale and I really like it here. It's more low key but there's stuff to do. I used to think I liked living in busier areas, but when I lived in busier parts of LA I just felt really overwhelmed. Glendale isn't that interesting, but I really like it. I don't like being super busy. I like being able to enjoy the city and see people and have it be somewhat active, but not like people everywhere.

What do you look for when shopping for clothes?

When I go shopping I am pretty much just going to thrift stores. I buy secondhand and resell it, and a lot of my personal stuff is thrifted as well. So I'm looking for me and I'm looking to sell. I usually look for interesting patterns or colorful things. Anything that's unique and catches the eye. Weird things. Striped patterns. Stuff you wouldn't necessarily get as a wardrobe staple. I prefer that.

What's the best piece of vintage clothing you've ever found?

I found this really cool pleather, checkered jacket. It's kind of trench coat style. It's a creamy color and light brown in different tones of light brown and has a big checkerboard pattern. It's SO cool. I found that at a thrift store in Minneapolis. I grew up in Minnesota, so I was at a thrift store with my mom and she actually found it and was like "Does THIS interest you?" and I said "Oh my gosh, mom, this thing is amazing!" It's from the 90s. The brand of it is like a name. Like Ashley or something. But in between each letter is a heart. Everything about it is SO good.

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