Aussie model Katie Muirhead says jobs 'didn't exist' for her size five years ago

Gillian Wolski
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Aussie Katie Muirhead is one of the stars of Bras N Things’ holiday campaign. Photo: Instagram/katie_muirhead.

She’s making a name for herself over in New York City, but Aussie model Katie Muirhead was more than happy to swap the Big Apple for Down Under to star in local lingerie brand Bras N Things’ new holiday campaign.

The homegrown beauty, who is an Australian size 12 to 14, chatted to Yahoo Lifestyle exclusively about the ‘super fun’ two-day shoot that saw her strip down to some seriously sexy smalls.

“For me, [the job] was extra exciting because I live overseas, so to be able to come back and see my family and shoot for such a fun client was such a great experience,” the 25-year-old says.

While Katie admits that the Australian fashion industry has ‘changed so much’, she’s well aware that a short few years ago a national lingerie campaign may have been out of reach.

“I really appreciate being able to come home a few times a year and actually work and do some cool campaigns that didn’t exist for my size five or six years ago when I left [the country],” she explains.

Katie (in the Delphene Full Cup Underwire Bra in Black/Nude, $64.99 and matching Brazilian knickers, $29.99) says the Bras N Things shoot was 'super fun'. Photo: Bras N Things.

In fact, the thought of making a career out of looking glam in front of the lens never really crossed a teenaged Katie’s mind.

“I’m an Australian size 12 to 14 and always have been, and growing up I never fathomed that [modelling] was something I could do. When you don’t see yourself in the media you don’t consider it,” she says.

When Katie was ‘scouted’ by another model at the age of 17 and invited to a casting for a ‘curve’ modelling agency, her mum and dad were still slightly hesitant.

“I just went along [to the casting], and I think [my parents] secretly called the agency to make sure it was all legit,” she laughs.

Katie also has a podcast that she records with her roommates and fellow models in New York. Photo: Bras N Things.

For Katie, it was her career that improved her self-confidence and body image ‘in a really weird non-traditional way’.

“Suddenly I realised that the only way I’m going to be good at [modelling] is if I think that I look great and that I can do it because being self-conscious is just not going to cut it,” she says.

Katie has gone on to star in campaigns for Dutch underwear brand Hunkemöller, mega-brand Abercrombie & Fitch and US ethical clothing brand Brass to name a few. Three years ago she snagged a casting with Sport’s Illustrated who she’d ‘love’ to work with in the future.

While she recalls a time when she tried to hide her curves by shopping for ‘minimiser’ bras in a lingerie section that was ‘definitely not for 15-year-olds’, things are changing for both brands and their consumers.

“I think it is down to just seeing people they can relate to in campaigns like [Bras N Things] so it is, to me, really nice to be my ‘natural’ size and still model and still wear underwear and show that you don’t have to be a size 6 to do that,” she explains.

Katie caveats her comments by saying that being a size 12 is ‘not that big,’ and it wouldn’t be right to expect her to represent curvy women as a whole.

“I think to not have a label on [plus-size models and products] is a much better thing because it’s not letting other people compare themselves to me if they consider themselves curvy,” she says.

Katie Muirhead (in the Jungle Animal cami, $29.99 and shorts, $29.99) with fellow models Francesca Hung (in the Paradise Dentele Bra, $59.99) and Carla Centrone (in the Jungle Tropical Cami, $29.99). Photo: Bras N Things (supplied).

Like her Bras N things co-star Francesca Hung, Katie is looking forward to a time when inclusivity - whether that’s diverse cultural backgrounds, body shapes or sizes - shouldn’t be the exception but the rule.

“Campaigns like this are really nice because I was booked for my size, Francesca was booked for her heritage but without any real tokenism or the brand trying making a point,” she says.

“The most important thing is to have a campaign where [models] are booked without having to point out their differences,” she adds.

As for the future, Katie is looking forward to continuing ‘doing what I’m doing’ in NYC, working on her ‘hobby,’ a podcast called the Chatty Kathys and, of course, jetting back to Australia for the festive season - and to see herself in splashed all over billboards, shopping malls and bus stops.

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