Curvy SA model encourages everybody to wear bikinis

Chloe Kellerman. (PHOTO: Instagram/Chloenuelle)
Chloe Kellerman. (PHOTO: Instagram/Chloenuelle)

Men and women should feel comfortable wearing their swimsuits or bikinis without shame – even if you have a tubby tummy or a dad bod.

“As long as you’re healthy, keep your head up and swim in the ocean! Life’s too short to worry about other people’s opinions.”

Those are the words of Chloe Kellerman, a 24-year-old model, lifeguard and psychology student from Bloubergstrand near Cape Town. In her free time, she also volunteers as a paramedic.

Chloe always wanted to be a model rather than an extra in movies and ads. Now, her dream has come true – she was offered a contract with a modelling agency three weeks ago.

“I’ve always been too small to be a plus-size model and to short and heavy to be a runway model,” she tells YOU.

“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback. For example, women writing that I was the inspiration for them to wear a bikini without board shorts for the first time. Even skinny girls say they now feel more comfortable in their swimwear,” Chloe says.

“Other women have told me they’d lost confidence in their body after a pregnancy – until they saw my pictures. Dads have thanked me that their daughters have a role model in me.”

Chloe started loading bikini and swimsuit pics of herself on Instagram about two-and-a-half years ago. Now, she has more than 56 000 followers.

The model grew up in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape and was always on the beach, she adds. “I’m a water baby. I started swimming in the sea when I was six months old.”

Her father, Abrie, was the youngest state prosecutor in the Western Cape before they moved to the Eastern Cape. He died aged 39 of a brain aneurism when Chloe was five years old.

Her mom, Chloe Snr (60), now works in a health shop in Cape Town’s northern suburbs. Until Chloe was in Grade 9, mom and daughter lived in South Korea where Chloe Snr was an English teacher.

Chloe attended an American school there and was teased about her weight. But she never let it get her down.

When Chloe was in Grade 10 they returned to South Africa. She saw lifeguards on Kenton-on-Sea’s beach and decided it was a good way to make friends – which is also how she got started as a lifeguard.

After coming across the Instagram profile of American plus-size model Ashley Graham, Chloe decided she wanted to inspire South African women – and men – to be more comfortable in their bodies. And the rest is history.