Sophie Tweed-Simmons Says She Was Told She Wasn’t ‘Small Enough’ to Model

Sophie Tweed-Simmons has launched a successful modeling career – recently starring in a campaign for lingerie line Adore Me – but says the modeling industry wasn’t always so accepting of her curvy figure.

“When I was 14 and just trying modeling, they would flat out tell you, ‘You’re not small enough,’ ” Tweed-Simmons, 23, tells PEOPLE. “Or [agencies] will take you as a model, but then they won’t send you out on any castings without telling you why.”

She hopes that her inclusion in mainstream modeling campaigns can help other young girls see a body role model they can relate to.

“I just love that Adore Me is hiring [curvy models] because it’s setting an example for the next generation of girls,” she says. “I didn’t have that, so I’m happy to be a part of it.”

And while she’s obviously comfortable posing in just a bra and underwear nowadays, Tweed-Simmons says she wasn’t always confident about her body.

“When girls hit the age of 12 or 13, for some reason we all start hating ourselves, and it took me a long time to get over that, especially being a curvier woman and having a mom that’s a model,” says Tweed-Simmons, whose mother is Canadian model Shannon Tweed. “I just didn’t have the same body type as her, and I really didn’t have a body role model growing up. Her body wasn’t something I could relate to.”

Tweed-Simmons says her mother spoke candidly to her about their different body types.

“She sat me down at a very young age and said, ‘You got your body shape from your dad [Gene Simmons]’s side of the family, and that’s not the shape that I am, but that doesn’t mean that your body is any less beautiful than mine,’ ” she recalls. “I think that’s a conversation that parents don’t seem to have with their kids, and I’m thankful that she did with me, because we really do compare ourselves to our parents.”