4th Jul 2023

The Modern Day Female Icon - Our Model Search Finalists Are Back!

We needed a new icon. We found one, thanks to The New Icons Model Search.

Things have moved on a bit since we set out to find a new icon back in January, as our Model Search finalists are back and now championing the Curve Collective.

We originally surveyed over 2,000 women across the UK aged 18 to 40 to discover that two thirds of them can’t relate to established supermodels. And 53% don’t want to dress like current icons. This insight revealed that women are calling out for a new female icon.

Cue Simply Be’s Curve Collective.    

Finalists of Simply Be’s Curve Collective model search

The Curve Collective

Welcome to Simply Be’s Curve Collective! Our Model Search winner and finalists are back, and part of our exciting new girl gang. 

These are the women that inspire us on the daily. Who own their curves and most importantly own who they are. 

We LOVE that each of these girl’s has a different personality, style and body shape and are a fashion icon in their own unique way. We were really (really!) excited to get to work with each of them again. Let’s find out how some of our Curve Collective members are celebrating who they are.

First up, we have Jessica Rose…

Jessica Rose - Model Search Finalist

My 9-5

It’s a 50/50 split between working in a café and modelling!

My style in three words

Simple, colourful, unexpected. I love to mix and match patterns, colours and textures.

Jessica Rose - Model Search Finalist
Quote by Jessica Rose

What do I love about my body? How do I dress to compliment that?

I try not to favourite parts of my body over others as my body is always changing and I like to dress in whatever makes me feel good on the day. Generally though I like to highlight my waist by pairing high waisted pieces with cropped or slim fitting tops.

Who’s iconic in my life and why?

My late grandmother Joyce for sure. She always looked so put together and stylish with her pearl necklaces and embroidered jackets. We would spend absolutely hours looking though clothing catalogues and picking out our favourite looks.

How do I dress to reflect my personality?

I’d say I’m quite diverse and in turn my wardrobe is too. I love the ‘playing dress up’ element of clothing so some days I’ll wake up and want to be a bad ass so I’ll put on a killer two piece suit and a bold lip whereas other days I’ll be feeling a little more laidback so I’ll pair a sweater with some wide leg trousers and a pair of converse. I think it’s fun to play around with different colours and silhouettes to fit your mood.

I love to wear...

My favourite pieces to wear are two-piece suits, printed maxi dresses and a good pair of wide leg trousers.

The New Icons Model Search   

We want curves to take centre stage and show there’s not just one way to be a woman. Not just one shape, or size, or personality.  

In partnership with Milk Management, we launched a model search to find someone who embodies our New Icons persona.

Since opening the competition on 13th December 2019, we selected 17 finalists from over 3,000 entries to join us at a casting day, where The New Icons Model Search winner was chosen by our judges.

The finalists were put through their paces by a panel which included Fashion News Editor, Billie Bhatia; Founder of Milk Management, Anna Shillinglaw; Model, Felicity Hayward and Isla Kirby, Head of Brand at Simply Be.

Simply Be's New Icon - REVEALED

The competition is now closed and we can reveal our New Icons Model Search winner is… Elena Forrest.  

The 25-year-old Londoner has won a year’s modelling contract with Milk Management, and will also have the chance to take part in Simply Be’s Summer 2020 advertising campaign.

Winner Elena Forrest
Winner and Runners up of model search celebrating

Elena said “I can’t believe I’ve won – it doesn’t feel real! Growing up I always stood out for what felt like the wrong reasons and I never had anyone of my shape to look up.

“Every woman should feel confident to express who they really are, and I hope this puts me in a position to be a positive role model to younger girls when it comes to their shape, something which I never had.”

Congratulations to our runners-up:




All 17 finalists brought energy, attitude and individuality to the casting day, wearing our iconic Shape & Sculpt jeans.

Research behind Model Search Competition     

From Greta Thunberg to Michelle Obama, the female icon is being re-invented, but it’s taking the media some time to catch up. We surveyed women across the nation to find out how they feel about representation in the media.  

Here at Simply Be, we wanted to find out just how many women across the nation relate to the media’s current icons, and what traits they believe makes someone an icon. We surveyed 2,142 women across the UK aged 18 to 40 to find out their stance on modern female icons and the representation of the female body image within the media and fashion.


Despite major strides being made in representation of different body types within media and fashion, there is still a disconnect between the women seen in media and the general population.

What Does Inspiration Look Like?

These days women want to be inspired by others who are known and celebrated for more than just their looks.


But what traits do women of today look for in a female icon?


Our results show women are looking for more than just beauty – they want an icon to be someone who is confident in their own skin and stands up for their beliefs. Women want more than just looks when choosing today's icons.

So, who are the most popular female icons of today? We asked our survey respondents who their favourite modern-day icon is.

Popular female icons

Spanning politics, royalty, TV, beauty and fashion, the top five icons include women of different ages, races and backgrounds.

The results highlight that typical pin-thin fashion models are no longer cutting it when it comes to women others admire and aspire to emulate.

The Shape of Success

With this in mind, we asked our respondents to share how they felt about the representation of female body shapes in the media, and how this makes them feel about their own bodies.


We found that 84% of women are affected by constantly seeing the same type of women/models in the media and that 47% of women feel more body conscious as a result of images they see in the media.

Encouragingly, 84% of women agree that most fashion brands have made a change to use a more diverse range of women in their advertising campaigns over the last few years. However, 81% think most fashion brands are using more diverse models just to ‘tick a box’, and are still failing to show a wide enough range of ethnicities, body types and gender identities in their advertising campaigns.

Clearly there is still some way to go for the fashion industry, with many brands still not hitting the mark with inclusivity and diversity. And that simply won’t cut with today’s generation of women.

Refusing to Conform

74% of those surveyed believe that: “Modern women refuse to conform to an out-dated ideal of what a woman’s body shape should look like”


We Need New Icons. Curves don't belong in the background, they also belong on billboards. That’s why Simply Be launched its New Icons campaign, an initiative which aims to challenge stereotypical images of curvier women in the media, throwing out the “bubbly best friend” and the “girl next door”, and ushering in the leading lady.

Isla Kirby, Head of Brand from Simply Be said: “We’re still in a world where convention needs to be challenged. Whilst curvier bodies have begun to feature in some advertising, it’s never as the polished to perfection, sexy and glamorous lead – but why not?

“Our research shows that women are tired of the industry adopting a tokenistic approach to bigger bodies. They want to be represented beyond the bubbly girl clichés, they want to be seen in a way that’s inspirational to every woman, regardless of her size.

“The New Icons campaign enables curvy women to take the spotlight, showing they can be sophisticated, full of attitude and the most fashionable person in the room.”

Simply Be's Girl Gang launch advert
'They Own their Curves' quote graphic