She hopes to break Asian norms, too, in her new and bustling modeling career. Nootenboom is aÂ curve, or plus-size modelÂ â€• she just signed with the inclusive agency Muse â€• and said she hopes to destroy the notion that all Asian women are â€œpetite, cute, and skinny.â€
â€œThe norm for Asian girls is to be, you know, petite, cute, and skinny,â€ she told Revelist. â€œBut growing up, I kind of was taller, bigger, more awkward. Â I was the opposite of what people expected me to be, and so I really want to use my platform to say, you know what? Weâ€™re all different. We canâ€™t build a mold and expect people to all fit that mold.â€
Nootenboom told HuffPost that when it comes to creating a more diverse and inclusive fashion industry, itâ€™s careless to focus only on one thing.
â€œYou canâ€™t talk about diversity without addressing different kinds,â€ she said. â€œDiversity is going beyond ethnicity and size. The more I am able to showcase that in the industry, I will.â€
She credits her sister Yumi, who is also a plus-size model, with teaching her confidence, and says learning about self-love is responsible for the appreciation she has for her body. She cites Katie Willcox, a plus-size model and author of the bookâ€œHealthy is the New Skinny,â€Â as an inspiration.
â€œIf youâ€™re trying your best and youâ€™re chasing health, and your body is your body, and it looks different, thereâ€™s no reason to hate it or try to conform it to a fake beauty ideal,â€ she told Billboard earlier this month.