A model trying on clothes off the rack next to her is a video style that has been trending on YouTube’s fashion contents. This editing technique allows the audience to get a better idea of how the clothes will appear before buying them which helps to make fewer shopping mistakes. The very first person to apply this manner of dressing up was Cheedo, who started uploading videos targeted at females who wear Korean size 66 and above. Cheedo has helped and inspired many in the fashion community to love themselves as they are and to express themselves regardless of their body figure. The Hanyang Journal was able to interview Cheedo, the creator of the YouTube channel “Cheedo_Natural Size Model” and listen to her journey to spread body positivism.
I. Cheedo as a Model
Q. When did you realize that you were interested in fashion? Did this have an impact on your decision to become a model?
A. I have always been into fashion, but I think it was during college that I really started to experiment and understand my own style of coordinating clothes. I was a person with so many dreams and becoming a model was one of them. So, I decided to take some time off from school and experience being a model before graduating. I did have to lie to my parents and tell them that I was studying to become an exchange student, but this eventually led me to find my true interests and happiness.
Q. What are your personal tips for styling clothes?
A. I have a friend who has so many clothes but never knows what to wear. I told her that it is probably because she doesn’t have basic clothing like simple inners or shirts that easily match with other clothes. I try on clothes in the most unique shapes and patterns for my videos, but the clothes I buy are mostly practical and comfy like hoodies and plain pants. These simple clothes go with the loud ones without much difficulty, and that is what helps the most when styling outfits. Buying all unique clothes is a mistake that people who aren’t very experienced with fashion often make. The key is to always stay simple.
Q. What is your personal evaluation of people’s fashion these days?
A. I really don’t think I am someone worthy of judging others’ clothes. Though, I do think that people nowadays are more comfortable wearing informal clothes like trousers or sportswear when going outside. I think it’s a good tendency, because there really is no reason for people to be reluctant to wear comfy clothes outside their house.
II. Cheedo_ Natural Size Model
Q. Why did you create your channel on YouTube?
A. I actually had many intentions on my mind when making my channel. The biggest was definitely because I wanted to raise awareness of natural size models. Body positivism is the fundamental value in all my videos. I wanted to form a bond of sympathy with viewers and share thoughts about such issues. By using the YouTube platform, I thought that I could achieve such goals and help people acknowledge the fact that fashion models of all shapes and sizes exist. When I created my YouTube channel, there weren’t that many fashion content YouTubers my size. Now there are definitely more creators with diverse body figures which is indeed an improvement.
Q. “Natural Size Model” is a term that not many are familiar with. By adorning your channel’s name with the term must mean that the term embraces many meaningful values. What exactly is implied in the term “Natural Size Model”?
A. The original terminology is ‘Natural Model’. I wanted to raise awareness of such models to the audience, but not many people understood what it meant. natural ‘size’ model seemed easier for Koreans to comprehend what I was trying to convey, so I changed the term a little for clarification. That way the audience could induce that I was a model with a different size than that of general models. In other countries, natural size models are just people who wear different sized clothing compared to ‘idealistic’ thin people who fit the Korean 44 or 55 size. In Korea, though, the term seems to be confined to a single category of plus size models, which has definitely been distorted from the original meaning. I realized the term’s value most when I went on an intense diet. I was always someone with a lot of dreams including becoming a model. During my gap year in college when my aim was to get modeling experience, I thought that the first step to becoming a model should be losing weight. So, I went on a harsh diet plan which definitely did not go well. All I could think of day and night was my diet routine. When I failed to keep up with my diet plan I felt like a complete loser. Going on a diet was so stressful to me that it started to impair both my mental and physical health. I suffered from eating disorders, and one day it struck me: the girl with those incredible dreams no longer existed. What was left was a gloomy person stressed by diet plans. I stopped the diet that was negatively affecting my healthy life and started to instead feel satisfied with the way I looked. Body positivism promotes this value, and I wanted to tell people that failing at dieting does not mean the end of the world, which is what I used to think. Even without a successful diet, time keeps passing and new opportunities and experiences constantly knock on your door. Learning to be satisfied and positive about your physical figure is the priority of body positivism and natural size models.
Q. Have you had any difficulties in creating your videos?
A. Hateful comments were one of the things that made me depressed at first. There were people who understood the intentions and values behind my videos. But there also were people who didn’t. They left hurtful comments which really made me sad. On top of that, making videos actually requires a lot of time, effort and money. It takes upto two weeks to create a single clip. When I first started uploading videos, I was short on money, so it was difficult for me to upload high quality videos on a regular uploading schedule. The financial difficulties are not really a hindrance now. Though I still put an overwhelming amount of effort in my videos. This is something trivial, but the editing technique of placing clothes on a hanger and trying them on off the rack was one of my original video styles. I developed this editing style to show detailed and clear angles in which the clothes would be displayed on camera. This is more prevalent on YouTube’s fashion channels, and that made me fall into a slump last year. The fact that everyone is using this technique is giving me mixed feelings.
Q. Otherwise, were there moments that made you happy or satisfied?
A. Comments are really a double-edged sword. I feel the urge to work harder by looking at positive comments. Usually comments saying that my videos were really helpful please me and encourage me to work harder. I think the viewers find my videos helpful because I provide information for a ‘realistic’ body figure. Fashion YouTubers are usually skinny and have perfect figures. Not everyone can relate to that which can make my clips more meaningful to them.
Q. What are some of the efforts that make your clips more interesting or helpful?
A. I like to utilize new types of themes in my videos. Coming up with unique themes which differentiate my channel from other fashion review channels is the key to keeping my channel competitive. Simple efforts like changing the background or equipment can make a big difference. I recently uploaded a styling video based on the sitcom Friends, and I think many people enjoyed it. Like this, I like to experiment and implement new themes to keep my videos entertaining.
Q. What do you think makes your videos special among similar content on YouTube?
A. I don’t restrict my contents to merely just trying on clothes. I talk about body positivism and endeavor to convey to the audience that you can dress up in any way you please. Your figure does not really matter when it comes to fashion, eliminating the necessity for indiscriminate diet plans. Each of my clips proves that a great variety of clothes can be coordinated to however you look and gives reasons why you should accept your body as it is.
III. Cheedo and Park Lee-seul
Q. You seemed to have many comments saying that you are a “selfesteem protector”. It is nice to raise others’ love for themselves, but are there any efforts you make to raise your own self-esteem?
A. I can’t always have high self-esteem, because I am human and easily influenced by my surroundings. Whenever I feel like I’m a nobody though, I try to concentrate on my feelings and have some time to talk with my inner self. I analyze why I am depressed, what I want to do, or how I am feeling at the moment. I’m trying meditation these days just to know myself better. Associating and being intimate with yourself is an essential part of loving yourself.
Q. What would you say to someone who hates their figure or considers their figure less than ideal?
A. I’d try to convey the values of body positivism. Loving yourself is really important for a healthy mind and body. Losing weight may make you happy but failing to do so may bring about a bigger sadness. Like I said before, losing weight is not the ultimate goal of improving your body figure. Once you let everything go, you’ll realize that another life awaits you, and that a ‘perfect body’ can be determined by yourself, not others.
Q. Is there anything you wish to do other than YouTube?
A. Being a YouTuber is not my fulltime job. I actually think of YouTube as a single category of my activities as a body positivist. I classify myself more as a creator than a YouTuber who promotes body positivism. I am planning another fashion show and other activities as a body positivist. Other than my job, I want to go on a trip abroad. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a foreign country by myself. Doing things on my own will help me learn values I can only encounter by going alone.
Q. How do you want your 2020 to unfold?
A. I have a whole collection of back to school looks on YouTube. Back to school looks have always been a fashion trend among fashion YouTubers. I thought of using school jackets as a theme for my back to school look book. School jackets are what college students wear the most, but the ways they can be coordinated may seem too restricted. I’ve never found back to school looks using school jackets on YouTube, so I think it will be both helpful and entertaining for the audience to see. Last year, when I was still a YouTube newbie, I felt diffident uploading videos worried about the way people would view my content. This year, I want to make videos based completely on my tastes and will not be too swayed by what others say.