Fat Phobia, the first Asian-American sports Illustrated curve model on the Silence Bully

As a junior high school student, Yumi Nu, 5 feet 11 inches, was walking down the hallway while the boy was bullying her as “Godzilla” and “Yao Ming.”

Last week, a 24-year-old Japanese and Dutch model, singer-songwriter made history as the first Asian-American curve model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

“Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to look like me,” Nu told NBC Asian America. “It was very healing to be able to play this representative role for others who consider me a role model and for myself as well.”

Nou said that when he saw Asian-American women in the media, there was no diversity in terms of size.

Based in Los Angeles, Nu is paving the way for plus-sized Asian women. Many are grateful to her on social media for helping to normalize different types of bodies.

“As Asian Americans, we have the pressure of Asian culture, what it wants us to do, and the dichotomy of American culture, so having these conversations with our peers on the same ship is me. It was really good for me, “Nu said.

“I think many Asian women have something to do with our elders talking about weight and body,” she said. “There are a lot of shame like” don’t waste food “as well as” cover up “and” don’t eat too much “.”

Nou said comments made within the community are often hidden in health concerns, but she believes that fat phobia is part of patriarchal Asian culture. ..

“I grew up under it, and my mother grew up under it,” said Nu, who lived in Japan with her grandmother. “It’s been years, years, years that have permeated the culture. I understand my concerns and intentions, but at least for my Asian side, I live with that little voice of what I should be. That was really difficult. “

Nu said that body shaming and low social pressure led to body dysmorphic disorder and rejection of her Asian background.

“I felt like I wasn’t worth being Asian because the outsiders felt so tall,” Nu said. “What I wanted to do was to make it white and white enough not to be called Godzilla.”

Nu, one of only two Asian children in a Maryland school, said he experienced two disturbing cases of racism as a child.

She said that when she was twelve, Nu and her mother were walking in public when the Confederate flag-raising skinhead shouted. Around the same time, when a man saw a girl and spit on the car, Nu and her sister were sitting in their dad’s car.

At the age of 14, Nu’s family moved to Newport Beach, California. There, my mother and uncle (one DJ Steve Aoki) grew up.

A year later she started writing music on the ukulele and released her first song at the age of 16. As a teenager, Nu sometimes made models, but she was a camera because the plus industry wasn’t fully formed.

Meanwhile, cosmetology standards have evolved and expanded, and Nu said he learned to love his body with the help of role models such as Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady.

Since then, Nu has walked the runways of designers such as Jason Wu and Jacquemus, and has appeared in Vogue, H & M and SKIMS campaigns.

In addition to modeling, Nu refined her artist’s voice and wrote new music during the pandemic. Her first single, the dreamy post-dissolution song “Pots and Pans,” was released in June. Nou said he plans to call the next EP “Beginning”, which means “beginning” in Japanese, because he feels he is starting a new chapter in a place with mental health.

Nu is also working on a plus-sized apparel collection that he hopes to debut later this year.

“I’ve been working in plus size fashion for a long time, and I’m also a customer, so I do a lot of research and feel like I’m wearing the clothes of every company possible,” Nu said. I am.

“For years there was a lot of shame around my body,” she said. “For a while it became difficult to show off the curve. I put my value and value on what people think of me. Now I put my life and my feelings I have the power to rule. “