He’s a member of the Bulgarian super group Equinox, who captivated audiences in Lisbon with the haunting number “Bones”. But US-born Trey Campell is not only a phenomenal singer and an all together lovely person. He’s also the only plus-size model to hit the runway at Men’s Fashion Week in New York for two consecutive seasons, walking exclusively for ASOS.

In a heartfelt essay for Teen Vogue, the North Carolina native says that growing up as a “sturdy” kid was not as sugary sweet as many made it out to be.

“It was the southern maple-syrup sweet way of calling you fat,” Trey says and admits that he felt very out of place as a kid and teenager.

the blues

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“Shopping for school clothes was always heartbreaking because nothing ever fit right. My southern belle of a mother would always tell me how handsome I looked while the retail associate stared at me with pity.”

“I’d only give myself a two-second look over in the mirror because anything longer would result in a thunderstorm of tears I couldn’t bear to drown my Mama in”.

Trey says that he had great friends who he trusted deeply, but also says that not everyone was nice about his appearance, with middle school being the most difficult time. As the years went by, Trey found his escape and passion in music. But the low self-esteem from childhood would keep haunting him, despite his amazing vocal range and undeniable talents.

“Instead of running for the spotlight, I walked into the background. I would audition for background singer jobs because it would allow me to be on stage but hopefully not the target of more fat shaming”.

The road ultimately lead to a small studio in California where Trey learned how to write songs for others , including kids who also felt like outsiders. That led to peace — and finally to Borislav Milanov and the rest of the Symphonix team forming Equinox.

Trey still felt uncomfortable shopping for clothes, but with bigger opportunities in the music business came more responsibility and more public appearances. He was forced to find ways to look the part. That’s when he stumbled upon ASOS, an online clothing shop which makes clothes for folks of all sizes.

To Trey’s pleasant surprise, all the clothes that he ordered fit him perfectly, which let him feel confident in his own skin. And shortly after he discovered ASOS — that’s for as seen on screen — they discovered him. “They found my page and offered me a Plus Insider position. Being the Plus Insider meant that I would join the street team of ASOS fashion influencers and be the first Plus Insider ever. What? Me? A ‘stocky’ guy from North Carolina writing songs about his weight insecurities? I couldn’t believe it. I even asked if they were sure they had chosen the right person. Me?”

The answer to Trey’s question was a definite “YES!” and a short time later he found himself standing nervously at the end of the runway at Men’s Fashion Week in New York, surrounded by more experienced and, as he says himself, “fitter models”.

“My insecurities flared up! What if they make fun of me? But I went through with it anyway, because this moment was bigger than me. I had to do it for the millions of other people, different like me, who stand in the shadows cause they’ve been told they’re not good enough.”

And off he went, for himself and for all of us, stepping out of the shadow and showing the world that he’s here and he ain’t leaving! Trey is a trendsetter and he’s also an idealist. “Things have to change because there are far too many bright and beautiful ranges of people who aren’t being included. I challenge more designers, retailers, and brands to take a look at the world around them. People come in all shape and sizes!”

Damn right! We could not agree more. We are all different and unique — and it’s just soooo outdated to try and fit everybody in a box. Thanks to people like Trey, that box is being widened more and more. Dude, you rock!

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2 years ago

“Talented person is talented everywhere.” – Lion Feuchtwanger

2 years ago

What a swell guy. I hope ASOS and Eurovision offer him many work opportunities. He deserves them!