Jennifer Atilemile is an IMG-represented model and writer from Australia, currently based in the United States. Last week, she was named a Sports Illustrated rookie.

I am often asked how I ended this career. I didn’t think I was going to be a model, but there was something about it that piqued my interest in my early teenage years; it seems to be a very flashy life and lifestyle, very different from my life in the Australian suburbs.

That was in the early 2000s, I had dial-up internet and a library card so I could borrow fashion magazines. I remember going to the library after school and checking out Vogue to see the hottest beauties on the runway. Fashion has always been something I aspire to; My parents could never afford the latest clothes that my peers wore, and it was always out of reach. It is the most exclusive and exclusive. When I was growing up, only certain people could access it – namely the rich and the skinny.

Looking back at my body over the years, especially as I went through puberty, I was never “big”, even though the media at the time convinced me that I was. Growing up where I worked, there were two beauty standards for a woman’s appearance: In fashion, we broke out of the “chic” image of the 1990s. During the Y2K era and the years 2000, clothes determine body shape: Bones are an accessory, sticking out of your low-rise jeans. Commercially, however, the other body type marketed to women is the “Aussie beach girl,” who has tan (but white) skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair.