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SA model: ‘If you have a body, you have a bikini body!’

Marciel Hopkins

Marciel Hopkins

Published Nov 7, 2016



Marciel Hopkins is one of SA's most beloved curvy models, because she doesn't care about cellulite or 'labels' and so should you!

Currently jet setting through London, Annette de Wet caught up with the brunette beauty.

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First things first, are you labelled 'plus size model' by profession?

I am classified as a plus size model by the fashion industry, but I like to refer to myself as a curve model. It is an uplifting and positive way of branding myself, because it refers to something I choose to celebrate.

I am 1.78m tall and a size 14. I don't have control over what other people or the fashion industry calls me. I've arrived on jobs where my clothing rail is labelled "plus size." I can't take offence when something like this happens, because it is my job to sell the clothes and be professional at all times.

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Photo credit: Kassandra Bruni


I was working in Germany for two months and I am currently in London. The highlights of my London journey have definitely been the people I have met and reconnected with as well as the adventures I've been on.

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A lot of curvy women are scared of the beach, myself included. What advice can you give to owning beach body- confidence?

If you have a body, you have a bikini body. It is nonsense that you have to be "bikini ready" before you can go to the beach in your swimwear. We allow the media and the world around us to limit our own fun and freedom. Take ownership of your body!

Cellulite, stretch marks and flab are real, but we never see it in the media because it's being photo shopped and retouched. Don't be fooled by unrealistic expectations that are being put out there to make us feel insecure and unworthy.

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You lost 14kg in 4 months to participate in Ms South Africa. If you could turn back time, would you go through the process all over again and why?

Yes, I would go through it all over again! Never in my life have I chased a goal so big and scary. Miss South Africa was never the end, it was only my beginning. Through the whole process I built a platform for myself to grow as a model, public speaker and future life coach.

Photo credit: Kassandra Bruni

Being in the modelling industry, what do you think it is about you and your style that attracts people?

I believe in treating all people with the same respect and dignity. Always remember that you are a walking CV. Your character reads in bold when you are on time, presentable and prepared.

In regards to the plus-sized industry, what are the aspects you love the most and the least?

I love the fact that the industry embraces body diversity, because women come in all shapes and sizes. We can't sell and advertise clothes on bodies that represent one shape and size only.

What I dislike about the industry is that the fashion trends are outdated most of the times. The clothes are not modern and sexy to show off women's curves.

In London, Mayfair

Why do you think it's taken so long for women of bigger sizes to be recognized?

People are more informed and opinionated these days, because we have easy access to information via the internet and social media. The fact is women come in all shapes in sizes. Certain fashion labels are slowly starting to include more diversity, because it is a great opportunity for them to expand their brand.

You're considered a role model to a lot of young women, but who do you look up to?

Tanya van Graan and Anna Mart van der Merwe have both been great role models and mentors for me during my Miss South Africa journey and my modelling career.

You body looks amazing! Can you tell me more about your workout routine and diet?

I try to workout at least 4 times a week. I love to spin, shape or swim at the gym. Over weekends I love to go hiking. Cape Town has so many beautiful options.

When it comes to dieting, I love real, raw food! I try to avoid processed food and sugars and I eat as many different colours of raw fruits and veggies as possible. I am not big on alcohol or fizzy drinks, I rather drink lots of water and rooibos/green tea.

Photo credit: Marnus Meyer

On a final note, when do you feel the sexiest?

When I am wearing an outfit that compliments my body! I can wear a very sexy dress, but if I constantly need to pull it down or try to cover my boobs, it takes away a lot of my confidence.

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