Taylor Tak, also known as Taylor T, is plus-size model in South Korea, modeling for magazines such as Cosmopolitan Korea and Queen Size Magazine.
She has also modeled for well-known clothing brands such as Curvy Sense, Hotping, Romwe, Fashion Nova and SheIn.
Tak got her start when she was noticed by a photographer in London. She recalled the thoughts running through her head: “Ew, what do you mean? I’m too fat and short — I couldn’t.”
A year later, she has become an activist for body positivity and size inclusivity, being a size 14 in South Korea.
“I want us plus-size women in Korea to rise up and dare to say it — dare to say that we accept ourselves,” Tak said in an interview with Mic.
Curves in this country are seen as too “sexy” or represent an “unhealthy lifestyle,” Tak said in an interview with Curvy Sense. Being heavy is seen as a sign of “laziness” and societal rejection.
Tak recalled a time where she had to run against the clock in order to prove she was fit enough to work at a Subway restaurant. At age 10, Tak went to “diet schools” where she was restricted to less than 1,000 calories a day for months. She also admitted to trying diet pills, considered liposuction and used to photoshop all her images.
South Koreans are known to be very blunt about weight, Tak added. People would often openly stare at her.
“It’s not about curves like boobs or butts. It’s just about being thin. It’s not even just young girls or young men,” Tak said. “It’s middle-aged men and women, old people — grandmas and grandpas. They’re all watching their waistlines.”
Tak also used to work in foreign affairs during the day, but quit earlier this year, she told NextShark. Even garnering that job came with initial struggles. She was criticized by higher-ranking workers that asked her if she was ever going to get married with her body size.
“I want to inspire women and let them know that they are not alone,” Tak continued. “I want them to know that you don’t have to hide anymore and you don’t have to feel like you are the worst.”
Feature Images from Instagram / @beyoutiful_taylort
This article has been edited from its original version to correctly report that Tak no longer works in government.