I’m right this way

These are the success stories of our “I’m right this way” models

I’m right this way

You are welcome to look around. By introducing the #ullaswomen to you and telling their stories, we want to show you that it’s great fun to have curves and to celebrate them with the perfect plus-size ladies’ fashion. Love yourself and your body. What the world needs is not run-of-the-mill body shapes but body diversity!

Verena Prechtl

I’m right this way - Verena Prechtl

I’m right this way - Verena Prechtl

Verena: Welcome! Here I am.My name is Verena Prechtl. I’m 32 and live in the beautiful city of Munich. I was born in Tegernsee, a place I would argue is even more beautiful than Munich. I’m a full-time art dealer, blogger and model, but I would say that I’m more a blogger than a model.

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What do you think of the body positivity movement?

Verena: I always say the most important step to feeling happy with yourself is simple — you have to figure out who you are first. That is really challenging and hard. But it’s really good too. Simply to spend two days without your cell phone, to be alone, and spend some time thinking things over. Taking time to contemplate things like: what do I like about myself, what do I like in my life, what makes me happy, what makes me unhappy? This helps you arrive at a decision or an end goal that you can work on. I think it’s the same with one of the first steps in the body positivity movement, because you always have to start with yourself first. And then I can also say I am body positive. Because I‘m feeling good, I feel good on the inside too and I think that is always very important.


Have you had any negative experiences with your body?

Verena: IYes, I was bullied very badly, especially in boarding school. There I was bullied by people who were my friends at home. At boarding school, they were suddenly on the other side and bullied me. And I was at an age where I didn't understand it at all. It was incredibly difficult. My first time, for example, was a bet and I didn’t realize, which is truly sad. But I would say that all these experiences had a major impact on my life.


What does fashion mean to you?

Verena: Fashion is everything to me. I love fashion because when I put on a beautiful dress, for example this dress that I saw hanging there on the rail and I thought to myself, “That is my dress”, I feel so at ease and that is really something we all want. Fashion should all women feel happy. I want to show women that they can dress beautifully and that there are also clothes in our sizes that we can feel good in, that make us go “Wow!” .


What do you think about how women are depicted in advertising?

Verena: We are on the right track, but there’s still more that could be done. It is still the case that most of the people we see on TV are slim, beautiful and perfect looking. But I would like everything to change just a bit more. There are great trailblazers in the USA that, in my opinion, are really doing it well. I hope this continues to spread to Germany and Europe.


What impact do Instagram and other social media have on your life?

Verena: I can’t control this app. I don't know what is going to happen at any given time. But I’m happy that I have such great followers. It’s the community I wouldn’t want to be without. There are such wonderful people. I get a lot of feedback from people who I was able to help. And that is the loveliest thing to me. I love it, I love helping other people and I love making other people happy. It means everything to me. But I don't want this app or social media to control me.


What does success mean to you?

Verena: When I go to bed at night and I am happy, to be able to reflect on everything and to think to myself “Yes, today was a good day.” That is success to me. Success is to be happy, something that you can’t buy and can’t count in dollars.

Charlotte Kuhrt

Charlotte Kuhrt – I’m right this way

Charlotte Kuhrt – I’m right this way

Charlotte: I have worked on sets since I was 17. I saw models but of course they always had what is considered perfect bodies, and I always thought that I don’t really “fit in”. Even at a size 10 – which was the slimmest I have ever been – I thought I am way out. That’s why I ended up with an eating disorder. Even when you are a size 10 people don’t stop asking: “Why don’t you try losing a bit more weight?” And you are only eating an apple anyway. So you think: How am I supposed to do that? We are all beautiful curvy women, but no one has the guts to talk about it because it’s still being swept under the carpet. So I said to myself: “OK, I’ll make an Instagram account of it”, which is now a really big hit. I absolutely love being able to inspire other women to be just the way they are.

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Can you tell us three things you like about yourself?

Charlotte: I am quite inward-looking and over the past few years I have noticed how that really helps me! I think a lot about myself – maybe, some would say, too much. I am often told: “Just stop brooding, Charlotte.” I know, but it’s really good for me. It helps me move on and re-invent myself over and over. I can always become someone new and I think that’s what I like most about myself. When it comes to my body, it’s my bum that I like best. So, I never need to think “Oh, I have to show my bum now”, because it’s always been like that anyway. I find it quite funny how these body fads come about. I had the very same look 10 years ago – only back then no one thought it was great. So I’m even more proud of the fact that I always liked my bum anyway. And the third thing to say about myself is that I am very emotional. I think it’s not always a good thing. I am all over the place with my emotions, going from sad to happy in no time at all, and I don’t hold grudges against anyone. But then again, I can get angry quite quickly. I like that though, I like having strong feelings..


In what way is fashion important to you?

Charlotte: I remember a time, not so long ago, when black jeans and a black tunic were my everyday go-to look. Simply because I knew it makes you look slimmer. I was told all the time that I should try to appear slimmer and wear a flattering outfit. Today, I can say that fashion was my route to freedom, to feeling good in my own skin. The first time I wore a miniskirt, when everyone probably thought “Wow, what’s she up to now!” – that made me feel free.


What do you think about your own body?

Charlotte: People, and women in particular, are always very quick to criticize and speak ill of each other, and I think it would be a huge relief for the whole world of women if everyone was simply allowed to be who they are. I know my body really well and I can feel right away when something is wrong with it. Whether it’s my skin or my belly, when I am all bloated – I just know my body. I thought about it so much because it’s so important to me. Today, I can say that I like my body warts and all, it’s all part of the whole and there is a story behind every dent and dimple. I really like that – the body as a whole is simply beautiful to me.


What do you think of the body positivity movement?

Charlotte: It’s not something that’s only meant for a specific group of women. It’s not only for plus-size women, it’s also for women who are a size 6 and still think they are too fat – or too thin. It covers any age group, I mean it really is a movement that addresses everyone and that everyone can identify with. And that’s what I like most about it.


What has made you strong?

Charlotte: Whenever I made a very strong decision, I was often criticized for it. I think everybody knows what I mean. And I think how we feel about our body can have its ups and downs, like when I realized that everyone else had a boyfriend, which made me think: “Is it because of my curvy look that I don’t have one?” That’s quite a knock-back, you know, and then I had moments where I said to myself: “I’ve just had enough of it all, there are simply too many people who are against this and want to make life difficult for me.” Today I can look back and say: “It’s been the best thing that ever happened to me,” because now I can look the same people in the face and think: “Now see where I got to, and if I hadn’t let you go or broke off our friendship I would not be here now.” And I think it’s important to take stock from time to time, like I do at the end of each year. Then I just look back and remind myself of a moment which I thought was the worst situation of my life and I ask myself how that might actually have been good for me.

Anna Scholz

I’m fine as I am – Anna Scholz

I’m fine as I am – Anna Scholz

Anna Scholz: I get asked all the time: “Are you a feminist?” And I think, sure, I’m a feminist – but then again, I’ve never been made to feel second-class in any way. I’ve always felt strong and self-confident, actually, and it was only natural for me to build my own business. I find being my own boss very liberating. And I’ve always been my own boss. I can honestly say that I never worked for someone else. I wasn’t on my own, of course, there was always a team behind me. Just like now at Ulla Popken, I simply love working with such a fabulous and positive team. It’s marvellous and so enjoyable.

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What do you think about the body positivity movement?

Anna Scholz: I think body positivity is very important and I’m glad that such a movement exists. But for me, to be honest, it’s nothing new. For years we’ve been telling the same story: “Be true to yourself, enjoy your body, be yourself, accept yourself warts and all.” I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I’ve been saying exactly that for all these years. It makes me happy when people have a bit more to say than just: “I’m in tune with my body” and: “I am happy the way I am.” I think there should be more to it.


Who or what inspires you?

Anna Scholz: I guess people can be inspired by all sorts of things. I usually carry a small sketchbook around. And now there is the smartphone, of course. I use it all the time to take loads of photos of small details. Like, for example, a sunset or a flower somewhere, but what I like more than anything is to travel. I love visiting all kinds of new places in different countries. I was in Brazil over Christmas, and the women there have a completely different attitude to their body. They are simply much more confident about their curves, they even go shopping in tiny bikinis. And there is an enormous range of the most amazing colours – an endless source of inspiration. I am always on the lookout for things to collect, like small pieces of embroidery and so on. My office is full of boxes of stuff, a real treasure trove of things that I found somewhere, sometime – a small bird maybe, and that may then end up as embroidery on something.


What gives you the strength to do what you are doing?

I go to the gym once or twice a week, if I can make it. I have a personal trainer, who I work with a lot. I do weight lifting, and one time I managed 300 kg on the leg press. That’s quite a lot, you know. Strength is important to me. I have felt so much fitter and stronger since I started with strength training, and all that energy helps me stay on top of things.


In what way is fashion important to you?

Fashion is enormously important to me because it’s my life. I started sewing my own clothes when I was only 13 because there was never anything to buy that I liked. I think the clothes we wear can really help us express ourselves. We can choose what to wear to match how we feel on a particular day. Today, for example, I’m in this plain black outfit, but I am also known for wearing colourful prints. I think fashion is a great way to express your mood of the day or the week or show what a particular event means to you. So, one day it may be the boho dress that takes your fancy or it’s big earrings you want for your holiday or you may go for the sexy look in a cocktail dress. I think if you wear something different, you feel different too. And that, I think, is why fashion is such a big part of life.


Which do you prefer: trousers or skirt?

Skirt, definitely! Trousers may be more practical, but I don’t agree with people saying: “Oh, if you want to wear a skirt you have to choose the right things to go with it.” That’s simply not true. I think trainers can look great with a skirt or a dress. If the length is right and the proportions are right, then why not wear trainers with it? They are much more comfortable after all.


Your tip

I would like to give women courage and help them enjoy fashion. I think the only way to experiment a bit is by plucking up the courage and trying something new once in a while. You just have to tell yourself: “I’ll try a new colour today or I’ll try wearing a dress today, I haven’t worn that for a long time, or I’ll play around a bit with my proportions.” If you want to find out what really suits you, then that’s the way to do it! It makes me really sad when people get stuck in a routine, wearing the same long tunic day in day out – and even with trousers underneath, or leggings, which I don’t like at all. I think it’s important to be daring with what you are wearing. Just try and enjoy being a woman.

Carina Behrens

“How to learn to love yourself”

“How to learn to love yourself”

Carina: I am quite happy with my curves to be honest. I mean, I’m actually quite pleased to be well endowed and to have a nice feminine shape. That’s something to be grateful for, you know. I grew up with three boys in the family. We did a lot of playing in the mud with Playmobil knights and that kind of thing. I think, back then, I never really thought about what I looked like, or it simply wasn’t an issue, you know. As a kid, you don’t really care about that; there is so much else that matters more than your clothes size or looks. And then there are more and more stylists and photographers, too, saying how they like working with curvier women and how they want to take pictures of women like us. That’s also really uplifting. And even other models, they too are excited about body diversity and about how even in ad campaigns they are celebrating all these different body types now. That’s just something that makes me feel really good about myself and my body. They are great moments to hold on to.


Who or what inspires you?

Carina: I love Instagram! I have so much fun on it. I follow a lot of bloggers and influencers and models, too. It really inspires me. And it’s fantastic to see just how totally different it is from the things we actually see in magazines or in ad campaigns. They all have their individual style and it’s great to let yourself be inspired by that, you know.

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In what way is fashion important to you?

Carina: I love fashion! I think fashion is so much fun. I think it’s a great way to express yourself. And there is this old saying “clothes make the man”, I think that’s really true, they do! The way you present yourself through the clothes you wear, that’s just so important. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have fun with how you dress. I mean, you shouldn’t be too uptight about it or just follow any old trend. You should simply try things out for yourself and find your own style.


Which do you prefer: Sporty Spice or Glamour Girl?

Carina: Sporty Spice or Glamour Girl? I don’t think I want to put myself in any particular box here; I mean, I think I am more the traditional type, but I also like to experiment. I mean, when I go out in the evening, I do like to dress up in a more glamorous way, but now, in the daytime, wearing just jeans and sneakers is OK too. To be honest I think my style is that I like switching between styles. I don’t want to pin myself down to anything. I don’t think you really need to.


Your tip?

Carina: Try and surround yourself with people who are supportive and lift your spirits and who simply say nice things to you once in a while. That’s something we don’t do often enough, being nice to ourselves. That’s definitely my advice, that you should try and get rid of negative energy from your life and learn to feel good about yourself; so to think ‘Oh, it’s OK the way I am’ when you look in the mirror. And you shouldn’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. I think that’s the most important thing.

Carina Behrens

What influenced your career?

Carina: My cousin was a straight-size model and she was always telling me to lose weight so I could be a model, too. But I’ve always been more the curvy type. So, then I saw that Ulla Popken was doing this model contest, and I applied for that; I even made it through to the finals, and they organised this amazing fashion show for us, plus a photo shoot; we even got the pictures from that later on. But when they told me ‘Sorry, you’re not the one’, that was a real blow to me. But I love coming back here from time to time; it makes me realise that it all worked out for me in the end, even though I didn’t win. So as long as you keep focused on your goal you can still make it.


…and what does the future hold for you?

Carina: Moving to London was the right thing to do. My agency is fantastic and women like Ashley Graham and so on, they really pave the way with great new career opportunities for us all. That’s why I think there is still much to look forward to. I hope 2019 has a lot in store for me.

Rachel Peru

“Be bold!”

“Be bold!”

Rachel: I'm Rachel and I'm 48 years old. I have 3 kids, teenagers, and a fantastic dog, a Hungarian Viszla who I absolutely love taking for walks. I am a plus-size model. I like my smile, although I've got slightly overlapping front teeth. I was very insecure when I was younger. I used to smile with my lips closed, as you can see on photos from my school days. Now, I like my smile and am happy with it. I also like my large breasts/bust size. (I wear size 34 G.) I absolutely hated it when I was younger. So much so that I almost had breast reduction surgery. But that's no longer the case. I like my breasts now, they are part of who I am. Another thing I like about myself is that I am not afraid to go out of my comfort zone and try out something new.


Have you had any negative experiences with your curves?

Rachel: Getting older is something I don't like at all. I'm going through the menopause at the moment, and that's why I am putting on weight, especially around my waist. But all that is part of who I am, so I have to accept it and make sure that I exercise and stay fit and healthy.

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…and positive experiences?

Rachel: I've just come to accept that my hair is grey. I was only 13 when I started going grey, so I spent 20 years of my life dyeing it. But then, about 4 years ago, I started letting it grow in its natural colour. That was a really positive experience for me: I feel like I am myself now and it was so liberating. Plus, I don't have to spend money on dyeing my hair anymore.


What are you proud of?

Rachel: I am hugely proud of my kids. I think that's right up there for any mum. I just love seeing them grow up, how they are slowly becoming adults. And I am also very proud of my new career and this new path I am on now. I started modelling 2 years ago, and it was just so different to anything I'd ever done before; there is always something new to learn. I am very proud of myself because I face up to my fears. It's great fun.


In what way is fashion important to you?

Rachel: For me, fashion means to be able to express myself. I like that when I wake up in the morning and I am a bit down I can wear something bright and colourful to cheer me up. But sometimes I wear all black. Fashion helps me bring out my inner self and be more who I am.

Rachel Peru

What is your idea of a good self-care treatment?

Rachel: My idea of taking care of myself... What that means to me? Well, I would be lost without my dog. Almost every day I take him for walks, and that's when I wind down and relax. I leave my mobile at home and enjoy the peace and quiet. I also like reading and spending time with friends. That is my self-care treatment.


What helped you accept yourself as you are?

Rachel: In my twenties and thirties I found it really difficult to accept myself and feel good in my body. It was only when I turned 40 that I thought to myself ‘OK, this is it’. Why am I wasting time thinking about my looks or my weight? So I just started enjoying life more and trying out new things. I've done parachuting and all kinds of things in the last 10 years that have had a hugely positive effect on how I see my body.


Your tip?

Rachel: Don't think about fitting in and be more yourself instead. And if you are afraid of something, don't let that put you off. Go ahead and do it anyway because you will never know what will happen unless you do it.

Claudia McKenzie

“We just have to be true to ourselves”

“We just have to be true to ourselves”

Claudia: It’s fair to say I’ve got that curvy ‘big chick’ look. There were times when I weighed 30 kilos more and others when I weighed 30 kilos less, but the thing is I understand our customers because I am one of them. I’ve worked at Ulla Popken for 23 years and I’m in photo production here; it’s where we look after all the models and plan what photo shoots to do and where to do them. We also put the teams together. I think I am a pretty open sort of person and I am in a good mood most of the time. On the other hand, it can get on my nerves when someone arrives in the office at the crack of dawn all singing and smiling.


What are you proud of?

Claudia: I think, as a woman, you are never really one hundred per cent satisfied with your looks, but I’ve sort of come to terms with my body now. I like my skin and I like my hair, which I used to hate a lot, and God’s been good to me, too, because this hourglass figure I have, it’s like a gift from above; it means that my body is well proportioned and I find that looks really nice.

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Have you had any negative experiences with your curves?

Claudia: About 18 years ago, when my child was very little and I visited this toddler group and one mother said to me: ‘I just don’t understand how anyone can get as fat as you’. And then there was this stunned silence. And everyone was staring at me. All those mums, they were just so *shocked*. And then all I said was: ‘And I just don’t understand how anyone can be so stupid and smoke when they are pregnant’. That’s because that mother who said that to me, she was pregnant again, and whenever there was a break she was outside puffing away at a cigarette. I never really got over that and I think even now: Why should anyone get away with saying something like that to me? It’s so wrong to hurt someone like that just because they look different.


…and positive experiences?

Claudia: Well, I like doing fashion shows for Ulla once in a while, you know, meeting all these fantastic large, or largish, women, and then we try to kit them out with the right clothes, I mean we help them choose some really cool and terrific outfits. And when you see them leave and you think these girls, or ladies, are so much happier than before – that’s really amazing, that’s just so much fun and it really means a lot to me.


In what way is fashion important to you?

Claudia: I think you can only feel really at ease when you are wearing the right clothes. I mean, it depends on the mood you are in, so if I want to have a night out and look really smart, then I always find the right outfit for that, something that makes me feel really good, so I can say to myself ‘Hey, I don’t give a damn about those extra 10 or 20 kilos, I still look gorgeous and feel attractive’. And it’s the same thing with a normal, casual outfit; it needs to be comfortable, something to snuggle up in. That’s really important to me.

Claudia McKenzie

Which do you prefer: High heels or sneakers?

Claudia: Give me sneakers anytime! It’s a shame, but I can’t walk very well in high heels, and, anyway, I think sneakers are totally cool right now; I love them!


Your tip

Claudia: It doesn’t matter whether we are skinny or fat, we simply have to be true to ourselves and say: ‘I am the way I am and you can’t have me any other way’. I am all right the way I am. And that’s what we have to tell ourselves and then, I think, life will just be that little bit easier. I believe that every woman has something really amazing going for her, and we should always remember that nobody on this planet is perfect and that we don’t need to be perfect. There are so many people who love us just the way we are. But, first of all, we have to love ourselves. That’s really important, and then things will work out all right. I’m sure of it.