Danish-born, New York-based photographer Kenneth Willardt, known for his work as a campaign photographer for Maybelline and L'Oreal, as well as Dior and Victoria's Secret, among others, teamed up with Australian plus-size model Robyn Lawley (who is represented by Wilhelmina Models) for a new project entitled, Size Does Matter. The exhibition, which opened last night at 558 Gallery on West 21st Street in Chelsea with a party hosted by Vs. magazine, consists of a dozen nude shots of Lawley posing with bunnies, a mini-horse, kittens and an owl, among other animals. We spoke with casting director and VFILES Model Files star, Preston Chaunsumlit, who casted Lawley, 24, about why she was his first and only choice for the project and photog Kenneth Willard on why this project is so meaningful.
Chaunsumlit, who is known for embracing various types of diversity in the industry, said: "I met Robyn at a previous casting. Regardless of her size, I felt her beauty was strong and absolute. One of a woman. Not a child. She is not challenging. She doesn't make you question your morals to look at her. Given that, that's when you can start making pictures."
Willardt echoed this sentiment, saying: "I shoot very beautiful women every day. Very skinny ones, very young ones and very old ones. When I was introduced to Robyn, I thought she was very beautiful and I thought there was too little of that on the market." As for the pairing of Lawley with various animals, Willardt claims: "It’s very sexy but I think maybe a little provocative and funny to some people. I love animals and I love women and I think it’s a great combination.”
The project opening comes on the heels of a swimsuit shoot the Aussie beauty did for Cosmopolitan Australia's December issue, which featured some of her own swimwear designs. Of her newly-launched collection, Lawley says: “You know, we’re not plus-sized girls, we’re normal sized girls. So, the swimwear in my mind is really being designed for the average sized woman, not the ‘plus-sized’ woman.”