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A CURVACEOUS beauty who who reduced to tears by cruel taunts about her body as a teenager is now enjoying life as Britain’s next top-heavy model.
Shapely Lizzie Haines has been proudly showing off her body after being voted the face and bust of fuller figure lingerie firm Curvy Kate to become a high-profile plus-sized model, gracing the catwalks of Paris.
But she had not always been as open and forthcoming about her larger figure – and had to overcome taunts during her youth and suffered with insecurities about her body.
As a teenager, she struggled to accept her body following years of feeling ‘fat and frumpy’ because of her big bust.
Her eating habits were also affected, going from one extreme to another, because she was so body conscious.
But having entered fuller figure firm Curvy Kate’s annual ‘Star in a Bra’ competition last year ‘on a whim’, she is now having the last laugh after being crowned the winner and entering the world of modelling.
And she has since been showing off her size 14 body and 32H bust with pride in catalogues and on the catwalks of Paris and across the UK.
Beaming Lizzie, 31, from Uppingham, in Rutland, said: “I now actually have a shape that I want to show off. I am curvy and I have a bigger bust but I am proud of it.
“The level of acceptance I have got comes with age. I have had a massive turn about but I struggled when I was a teenager.
“I wouldn’t walk with my back straight because it looked like I was showing off my boobs and being arrogant so instead I slumped and walked with my arms across my chest.”
She continued: “I’m not taking this opportunity for granted, because if you’ve ever had body issues, like I’ve had, then you need to accept yourself and this competition has helped me to do that.
“I’ve started to accept my body – I can’t change it drastically, but I stay healthy, I swim all the time, I stay in shape because I love food and I hate dieting because it makes me miserable.
“There is a real ethos to the brand and people really connect with it.”
Lizzie faced unwanted attention throughout her teenage years and constantly had to put it with jibes like ‘get your t**s out’ from men and being asked if her breasts were real.
“I was a later bloomer. When my boobs came in, boy did they come in,” said Lizzie, who lives with her boyfriend of two years Alex, 29, a foreman.
“There is a sort of stigma. It seems acceptable that people can talk about your boobs.
“People would yell at me in the street. I was brought to tears. It can be really destructive.
“There is a fine line.
“I have never dressed provocatively. I never showed off my cleavage. Most of the time I got attention I was covered up.
“The clothes I had to wear did not fit well. Everything hung from my boobs, which made me feel really fat and frumpy.”
Even now, the feelings are still at the back of her mind. But she is much more confident and is thriving in her modelling work.
“At 31, it is a real level of acceptance,” Lizzie added.
During her time as the face of Curvy Kate, she has modelled at shows in Paris and across the UK.
She has just finished shooting the new winter catalogue and is looking forward to being a judge and mentor with the lingerie firm this year.
Lizzie, a wedding photographer, said: “I entered the competition on a whim last year. It was a turning 30 crazy act. I just thought what the heck, I’ll go for it. It’s been really great.
“To begin with it was really surreal. Standing in your pants was not something I thought I would ever do.”
And success has followed Lizzie, who has just won the Plus Size Model of the Year award at the 100 per cent people Plus Size Awards 2011.
She continued: “It’s quite the title and I’m very honoured. I wasn’t expecting the nomination let alone the win and it’s great for Curvy Kate to get noticed too.
“I am a little bit larger than other plus sized models, I’m only 5ft 4.5in – they usually ask you to be 5ft 6in and above so I would never thought modelling was something I could do because I was just not tall enough.
“I have no idea where it will take me but 2011 has been a year of highs and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it all.
“I’m not quite sure how I’m going to top it.”