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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > January 2018 > MODEL QUEERS

MODEL QUEERS

WRITER AND ACTOR JOANNA BENECKE MEETS LA PHOTOGRAPHER JULIA SH TO CONFRONT SOME NAKED TRUTHS

“I’m heinously bored with the sexualisation of nudity!” Julia SH emerges from behind her Canon and glares at me. We’re in the middle of our body positive photoshoot in a Downtown Los Angeles studio and, as always when I shoot with the Swedish-born photographer and artist, I understand exactly why models are lining up to work with her.

“The attitude to nakedness in the US and much of the world is unhealthy”, continues Julia, who studied at Central St Martins and The Slade in London, before settling in LA. “We’re conditioned to evaluate every naked body we see as either a potential sexual partner or rival. But we’re not even making our own evaluations! They’re based on what society currently dictates to be attractive, be that big boobs, small boobs; big butt, small butt; curvy, skinny.”

Having been a teen model and actor, Julia is no stranger to the pressures placed on women. “There’s a lot of beauty fascism out there. People might think it’s got better because of the plus-size industry, but there’s an equal amount of hypocrisy going on there.

Look at those ‘Real Women’ campaigns – you don’t see anyone who’s a size 24. Or someone tiny and muscley, like you.” I nod. (The modelling gigs I score generally include the words “strange, bendy, weird or creature”. Never “real”.) “‘Real’ equals ‘moderately curvy with big boobs’ – it’s just another kind of conformity.”

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About DIVA Magazine

We’ve scored big this month, netting a photo shoot with WNBA legend Sue Bird. In an exclusive cover interview with DIVA editor Carrie Lyell, Bird opens up about her 15 seasons in the league, her relationship with US soccer star Megan Rapinoe, and tells us why it’s taken her until now to talk publicly about her sexuality. Also in this issue… DIVA Power List 2017: Who are your movers and shakers of the past 12 month? “I could fall in love with anybody” - singer songwriter Rae Morris chats to DIVA’s Roxy Bourdillon about sexual fluidity Model Queers: We meet the badass women challenging beauty ideals Lucie Barât: “We’re all rock and roll” She shoots, she scores: We catch up with gifted striker Lianne Sanderson The family who play together: Some of our favourite sportswomen thank their loved ones Do you speak #Lesmoji? Try our film quiz. PLUS: Travel, family, reviews and more!