At age fourteen, I helped my friend who was told she was “too big” to model by sending her pictures to a fashion magazine. When the magazine hired my friend, I become her agent and launched a modeling agency. The Ben Barry Agency became the first modeling agency in the world dedicated to promoting models of diverse shapes, ages, backgrounds and abilities. My models worked for international fashion and beauty brands, including Vogue, Macy’s and Dove.
Motivated by my entrepreneurial experiences, I decided to explore diversity in fashion at university. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree (with honours) in Women’s Studies from the University of Toronto as well as a Master’s in Innovation and Strategy and PhD in Management from Judge Business School at Cambridge University. For my PhD thesis, I investigated how diverse models in fashion advertisements influence the body image and purchase behaviours of women.