Despite other countries blazing the trail with body positivity campaigns and “plus” size models, the concept of body diversity barely even registers in Thai society. Benyapat “Worwear” Kruenakphan, 35 and Panita “Pani” Hummel Roth, 29 are two Thai female activists who are challenging Thai perceptions of health and beauty.

Tell us about yourselves and your project. 

Worwear: I work as a personal assistant for a Thai supermodel and I’m a big girl myself. Lots of girls were messaging me on Instagram for tips on how to dress and look after themselves—basically how to be fabulous and curvy—and I realized we’re lacking information on this topic here. Also, people would tell me I’d never be successful because of my size, so I wanted to show that curvy women are just as capable as everyone else. I started the Facebook page Oversized [] last December—at first I just did some photoshoots posted with fun and witty quotes that promote body diversity. It gained a lot of followers, so then we started doing workshops to teach people about their health and mindset. 

Pani: I’m a radio station DJ at Met107 every Mon-Fri from 1-4pm. Worwear and I met at Cindy Sirinya Bishop’s Don’t Tell Me How To Dress project and we clicked. The second workshop we did was
a yacht party, where we invited models to talk about their struggles with the Thai media industry’s beauty standards—not only in terms of size but other issues like skin tone as well. We want to be clear about our message: we are not promoting being overweight—we care about health, too. It’s about being comfortable with yourself.


“We want to showcase how diverse beauty can be and that big doesn’t always mean you’re unfit or unhealthy.”


And your other project?

Pani: The Curve Battle Thailand is a YouTube show that will air on Nov 5, where 15 women and some trans women will participate in different classes and workshops to find a winner. We came up with it when the Wild Boar football team were stuck in the cave; people were posting nasty memes of plus-size models with comments like, “We found the wild boars!” Someone commented “If I were stuck with those women, I would rather die.” We want to change perceptions of “beauty” in Thailand; right now, it’s very specific—you have to be very skinny with big boobs and white skin. Why can’t curvy women be sexy? We want to showcase how diverse beauty can be and that big doesn’t always mean you’re unfit or unhealthy—one of our episodes is about working out. We want to create a space for curvy girls to show their abilities, feel confident and to celebrate each other’s success rather than putting themselves down.

Worwear: People ask if we are looking for someone beautiful. No, we are looking for someone smart who can take Thailand’s perceptions of body diversity to another level and inspire others.


Do you think Thai media is representative of body diversity?

Pani: No, it’s not and it’s very damaging. Magazines and TV soaps create an unrealistic image for the younger generation, which causes them to lack confidence and self-worth.


Do you think there’s a market for pluz-size models in Thailand?

Pani: There’s a huge market waiting. We have some plus-size clothes in Thailand but none are very fashionable—they just act to cover your body up.


Where do you girls shop for clothes?

Worwear: H&M, Zara, Uniqlo—we need sexier options though. 

Pani: H&M, although the pants would fit me but they would be loose around my waist, so I’d take them to the seamstress to adjust. Some brands are starting to offer bigger sizes but it’s still not enough.

Check out a trailer for The Curve Battle Thailand below: