Sherene Marie Zarrabi is a senior marketing major at Oklahoma State University. When she wasn't in class, Zarrabi worked a part-time job at fashion store Dainty Hooligan in Stillwater, Oklahoma. When work was slow, she would occasionally model some of the store's clothes and snap a picture for Instagram.
Here’s Zarrabi trying on some of the clothes.
Several months after taking that photo, Zarrabi and her store manager reportedly received an email from their store's founder and CEO Jessica Issler. In the email, Issler was critical of Zarrabi modeling her store's clothes.
"I want size small, the stereotypical 'model' type to model our clothes," Issler wrote in the email. "Only people who are model material."
Issler added that the intent was "not to put anyone down" and that Zarrabi shouldn't "take it personal." She removed Zarrabi's photos from the store's social media accounts.
But Zarrabi refused to accept this type of discrimination from her boss. She shared the email on Facebook with a very personal message.
"I am fully comfortable with who I am and the way I look," she wrote on Facebook. "I do not want to represent or support a business that has such archaic values and beliefs. THIS is the reason young girls have body image issues. This is disgusting. I quit immediately and I suggest that my friends and family do not support Dainty Hooligan. Love yourself, no matter what you look like."
Zarrabi told her school's newspaper, The O'Colly, that her 9-year-old sister was already "developing body issues" and she wanted to set a positive example for her.
Issler refused to apologize for her email.
"I never meant to be mean or attacking, but I'm not apologizing for the unsaid fashion rule," Issler said to The O'Colly. "This girl has now created a hostile work environment because she has a sad body image of herself. She's not mentally healthy."
It wasn't until after Zarrabi was interviewed by a radio station that Issler formally apologized. Zarrabi appreciated the apology, but wrote on Facebook that "it doesn't change what she originally said."
Since quitting, Zarrabi has received numerous messages of support and gratitude from women who consider her to be a role model.