10/11/2017 18:29 SAST

Bella And Gigi Hadid's Model Cousin Is A Body Positive Badass



There’s no arguing that sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid are two of the hardest-working models in the business right now. There’s also no arguing that beauty runs in the entire family. Just look at them with mom Yolanda and brother Anwar

That beautiful family also includes their Dutch cousin, Joann van den Herik. The 18-year-old plus-size model is the daughter of one of Yolanda Hadid’s siblings, Cosmopolitan U.K. reports, and she’s just signed with the agency 12+ UK Model Management.

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Bella and Gigi’s social media feeds are largely filled with visuals from their latest projects, but van den Henrik’s relies more on inspiring written words. Don’t get us wrong, her feed is a also treasure trove of modeling photos, but it’s her body positive messaging that really piqued our interest.

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“I was afraid to post this picture and that’s why I did post it,” she wrote in a recent Instagram caption for a photo of herself in her underwear.  “I could’ve cropped it so you wouldn’t see any fat, but I didn’t. I wanted to show you guys that I’m imperfect too. I have fat rolls, I have stretch marks. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and feel disgusted by the things you don’t like, but I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t wanna hide my ’ugly’ side, I want to show it more often, because I’ve accepted it. I love my body. Guys and girls, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a six-pack, or a size zero [body]. You’re just as beautiful as everyone.”

There’s also plenty of content featuring her famous family, including a recent french fry break with Aunt Yolanda (jealous) and both recent and childhood photos taken with Bella and Gigi. 

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Van den Herik told HuffPost that while she’s still working toward self-acceptance, she is more comfortable in her own skin than ever before.  

“I used to be very insecure about myself. I was worried that people would dislike me because I felt ‘fat,’" she said. “I was literally obsessed with my body and losing weight, just because everyone kept telling me I should look like the models on the magazine covers and I didn’t look like that. It took me a long time, and I’m still on my own journey, to realize that it’s normal to have fat rolls and stretch marks. I’m finally at a point where I accept myself and my body. I look in the mirror and tell myself every day ‘I LOVE MY CURVES!’ I mean, your size doesn’t define your worth, so don’t let it! I don’t want anyone to feel like I felt, I don’t want anyone to be that unhappy with themselves." 

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So, come for the dreamy photos, stay for the self-love fest.