From taking photos in lingerie to performing at Piccinino X Miss Universe 2021, 21-year-old size-14 model Sarah Buttigieg just oozes self-confidence, but it was not always this way.
“It was never my dream to become a model,” Sarah told Lovin Malta. “Given the fact that as a young girl, I never saw someone like me have this profession, I never really thought it would be possible.”
The young model describes her past as “very troublesome”, stating she used to battle with depression and anxiety, at times even self-harming.
It was at this moment in her life that she decided to get into modelling, on the grounds that it could give her a well-needed confidence boost.
“My dream was always to share the important message of self-love regardless at what stage you are in life and I thought doing work in these industries would provide a great outcome,” she explained.
After taking a short modelling course, she joined an agency, but they never gave her opportunities.
However, Sarah didn’t lose hope and decided to use her social media pages to spread her message of self-love. And with almost 9,000 Instagram followers, it wasn’t long before brands started to pay attention.
“The first big brand that really believed in me was Piccinino Lingerie and I thank Matthew Piccinino for giving me a bigger platform to do my work and supporting me,” she said. “From then on more brands started contacting me and I honestly cannot believe that I have been doing this work for almost two years now.”
Sarah recently took another step in her modelling career, launching her own brand Ħobb Lilek Innifsek, where she creates her own designs with important messages to be printed on T-shirts, tote bags and other accessories and items of clothing.
Assessing the global fashion industry, she said that while diversity has improved when it comes to women models, the same cannot be said for male models, something she describes as “very disappointing”.
And with regards to the Maltese fashion industry, Sarah said that while a lot of improvement has been made, models remain very much limited and she herself is still discriminated based on her height and size when it comes to certain opportunities.
“It should be based on the ability of the person and not appearance,” she argued.
Asked what advice she would give aspiring models, Sarah said she doesn’t view modelling as presenting a perfect image but as embracing ‘flaws’ and constantly striving for self-improvement.
“To those who wish to pursue the profession of being a model, it is so much more than taking a picture or walking down a catwalk,” she pointed out. “It is about being confidently you! This industry can be so artificial if we set it up to be as one but it has the potential to empower each and every person even if they are not working in the fashion industry.”
Have you ever considered becoming a model?