She hopes to break Asian norms, too, in her new and bustling modeling career. Nootenboom is a curve, or plus-size model ― she just signed with the inclusive agency Muse ― and said she hopes to destroy the notion that all Asian women are “petite, cute, and skinny.”
“The norm for Asian girls is to be, you know, petite, cute, and skinny,” she told Revelist. “But growing up, I kind of was taller, bigger, more awkward. I was the opposite of what people expected me to be, and so I really want to use my platform to say, you know what? We’re all different. We can’t build a mold and expect people to all fit that mold.”
Nootenboom told HuffPost that when it comes to creating a more diverse and inclusive fashion industry, it’s careless to focus only on one thing.
“You can’t talk about diversity without addressing different kinds,” she said. “Diversity is going beyond ethnicity and size. The more I am able to showcase that in the industry, I will.”
She credits her sister Yumi, who is also a plus-size model, with teaching her confidence, and says learning about self-love is responsible for the appreciation she has for her body. She cites Katie Willcox, a plus-size model and author of the book “Healthy is the New Skinny,” as an inspiration.
“If you’re trying your best and you’re chasing health, and your body is your body, and it looks different, there’s no reason to hate it or try to conform it to a fake beauty ideal,” she told Billboard earlier this month.