Interview: Danielle van Grondelle

danielle van grondelle - esquire

She’s one of my closest friends and a true inspiration for me as a woman. Danielle is one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. About 1,5 years ago she moved to New York. I remember shedding tears on the airport but I’m so proud of the way she is building her career. Obviously, my first interview for THE PUBLISIZED had to be with my girl: Danielle van Grondelle.

Danielle was scouted by a modeling agency when she was 14 years old. Every girls dream but it turned out to be a bit of a struggle:“I tried to be a straight size model but even when I lost weight my hips were still too wide. I’d put myself on every possible diet but couldn’t get down to the size they needed me to be. Every time I booked a job I was afraid I wouldn’t fit into the clothes.” Eventually her agency put her on a ‘special’ board, she’d book a job every once in a while but it wasn’t what she’d hoped for. I love what her dad once told her. He said to her that the fashion world would one day adjust to Danielle’s natural size. Turns out, the man was right…

Danielle van Grondelle

10 years and counting…
After a couple of years she worked with stylist Edith Dohmen who told her she would be perfect as a plus size model. Danielle: “I never heard of plus size models but after I finished school I decided to give it a try. Six months later I had to quit my designing job because the modeling was going so well. I’ve been a plus size model for ten years now and I feel so happy and blessed to do what I love.”

‘Plusmodels aren’t fat: we are curvy and in shape’

A lot of people find the term plus size confusing or simply just wrong. Danielle is proud to be a plusmodel though. “I understand it can be confusing for people outside of the fashion indrustry. People ask me all the time how I can be a plus size model since I am not fat. But plusmodels aren’t fat: we are curvy and in shape. In the fashion world they label us as plus size because the straight size models are so slim. I would love a future where they just call us models: we do the same job. And we don’t call the straight size girls minus models.”

Fashion editorials
Through the years Danielle worked for a lot of clients but ofcourse there are a couple of jobs she’s extremely proud of. “I’ve walked the Isabel Toledo fashion show for New York fashion week. It was the first time they used curvy models on the run way like that. The Marina Rinaldi campaign was also an absolute high light of my career.” She’s also very happy with all the editorial shoots she’s done the last couple of years. She worked for the Dutch Avantgarde and Jackie and was featured in Grazia, Chic, Femina, the South African Cosmopolitan and

Danielle van Grondelle

Out of her comfort zone
After 8 years of modeling in Europe she moved to New York to further her career. “I did the best jobs I could do from here. New York is a new market and it has been so amazing to see that I, a girl from Rotterdam, can be succesfull in the Big Apple. This has always been my dream and I still have to pinch myself that this dream actually came true by stepping out of my comfort zone and putting in hard work.” She wants to be the best model she can be. And ofcourse she has a couple of goals and dream jobs. “I would love to do a beauty campaign and the cover of Vogue is also high on my wish list.”

‘I love standing out and creating a little bit of magic with my looks’

A curvy clothing line
But there’s more to life than just modeling. “Once I accomplish my goals I want to start my own (curvy) clothing line. I’ve studied fashion design at the royal academy of art in The Hague. Fashion has interested me all my life and I am always figuring out new ways to dress myself and to design stuff I like. I want to look different every day and I love combining my vintage finds with my own designs.” Danielle’s style truly stands out. When I met her a couple of years ago she instantly inspired me to be more daring with the way I dress. Danielle has her very own way of dressing. Danielle: “The way I dress is very different from the norm, especially in the modeling world. I love standing out and creating a little bit of magic with my looks. For me expressing myself through fashion is a way of life.”

Danielle van Grondelle

Good heart
Just like her style Danielle is a happy girl who loves laughing and goofing around. What does she see when she looks into a mirror? “I see a positive woman who’s comfortable in her own skin, who’s at ease with herself and knows who she is and what is important in life. My mom and dad raised me to be strong and confident. Your looks are a genetical gift from your parents, you have to make sure that you have a good heart to match. Having a good personality shines through.” Family and friends are everything to Danielle. “For me human connections like family and friends are the most important thing in my life. Surrounding yourself with people who feed your soul is what it’s all about for me. I want to have fun where ever I go. I try to bring joy to the people around me and get so much beauty in return.”

‘Don’t be your own worst critic’

Eat that piece of cake
For a lot of women being confident and at ease in their own body is an everyday struggle. What’s Danielle view on that? “I always tell women to not be their own worst critic. Women can be so hard on themselves for no reason. For instance when they look back on old pictures they’ll be like ‘Oh I really didn’t look that bad, why didn’t I want to wear that bikini when I was younger?’. Body positivity is being the best version of yourself. If you are naturally skinny that’s beautiful, and if you’re naturally curvy that’s beautiful too. But starving yourself to be something you are not, is never beautiful. Laugh every day. And eat that piece of cake, please!” Danielle gets a lot of messages and e-mails from women around the world who tell her they look up to her. “I am so thankful for every message. I hope to teach girls and women that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. And that there is no need to be so critical looking into the mirror.”


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