Welcome to the world of plus-size modeling, where curves are celebrated, and diversity thrives. Breaking away from the traditional idea of a “perfect” model, plus-size modeling embraces the beauty of all shapes and sizes, empowering women and men to feel confident in their skin. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of becoming a plus-size model, from the qualities that make a successful model to the steps you need to take to break into the industry.
Table of Contents
The Different Types of Plus Size Modeling
Plus-size fashion models grace the runways, showcasing the latest clothing designs from various designers and brands. These models typically stand between 5’9″ and 6’0″ tall and wear a size 12 or larger. This type of modeling requires a strong runway walk and the ability to convey the designer’s vision through clothing.
Fit models work behind the scenes, ensuring that the clothes fit and feel right. Their height usually ranges from 5’5″ to 5’9″, and they wear a size 12 or larger. This type of modeling focuses on providing accurate measurements and feedback to designers and manufacturers, ensuring that the final product is both comfortable and stylish.
Commercial plus-size models are not restricted by height requirements and can be found in various forms of media, including print advertisements, television commercials, and online marketing campaigns. They often represent everyday consumers and showcase a wide range of products, from clothing and accessories to household items and services.
Qualities of a Successful Plus-Size Model
Confidence and Charisma
A confident and charismatic model can captivate an audience and leave a lasting impression. It’s crucial for plus-size models to exude confidence in their appearance and abilities, as this can influence how clients and casting directors perceive them.
Health and Well-being
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for any model, regardless of their size. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper self-care. Good skin, hair, teeth, and nails are also important, as they can significantly impact a model’s overall appearance.
Social Media Savvy
In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is vital for aspiring models. Regularly posting content and engaging with followers can catch the attention of modeling agencies and brands, opening up new opportunities and connections.
Posing Skills and Industry Knowledge
Being able to strike a pose is a must for any model, and the ability to do so with grace and confidence can set a plus-size model apart from the competition. Having some experience in the fashion industry and a solid understanding of its inner workings can also provide a competitive edge.
Building Your Modeling Career
Step 1: Find Your Niche and Invest in Quality Photos
Begin by identifying your strengths and the type of modeling that best suits you, whether it be fashion, fit, or commercial modeling. Once you’ve found your niche, invest in professional photographs for your portfolio. High-quality images that showcase your versatility are essential for catching the eye of potential clients and agencies.
Step 2: Education and Training
While formal education in modeling is not required, aspiring plus-size models can benefit from coaching sessions, workshops, or classes in related fields such as acting, public speaking, or makeup artistry. These opportunities can help develop essential skills and expand your industry knowledge.
Step 3: Create a Portfolio and Submit it to Agencies
With your high-quality images in hand, create a compelling portfolio that demonstrates your range and potential as a plus-size model. Submit your portfolio to reputable modeling agencies with plus-size divisions, such as Wilhelmina, IMG, ICON, Next, Front Management, B&M Models, and Models1. Make sure to include a headshot, full-length shot, and any other images that showcase your unique look and talents.
Step 4: Network and Attend Open Calls
Networking is crucial in the modeling industry, as it can lead to new opportunities and connections. Attend open calls, model scouting events, and relevant industry gatherings to introduce yourself to potential clients and agents. Be prepared to present your portfolio, and always maintain a professional and approachable demeanor.
Step 5: Develop Essential Skills and Stay Resilient
As a plus-size model, it’s important to hone skills such as confidence, charisma, resiliency, communication, physical health, organization, and concentration. The modeling world can be challenging, and the ability to stay positive, focused, and determined is key to achieving success.
Top Plus Size Models to Inspire You
The following plus-size models have made a significant impact on the fashion industry, breaking barriers and redefining beauty standards:
Paloma Elsesser: The Face of Inclusive Beauty
Paloma Elsesser has made waves as a highly sought-after plus-size model. With appearances on Glossier billboards and as the face of Fenty Beauty, she has made a name for herself in the beauty industry. Paloma has graced the covers of multiple fashion magazines and walked for luxury fashion houses such as Fendi and Chloé. Her impressive portfolio also includes fronting campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Coach.
The Rise of Paloma Elsesser
This British-born model began her career after being discovered by makeup artist Pat McGrath on Instagram. Since then, she has become a symbol of diversity and inclusivity in the world of fashion and beauty.
Kate Wasley: Empowering Women Through Social Media
Kate Wasley, an Australian model, gained fame through her Instagram account @any.body_co, which she shares with fellow model Georgia Gibbs. The duo uses their platform to promote body positivity and empower women of all sizes. Kate’s career skyrocketed when she modeled for Sports Illustrated in 2022, proving that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
Beyond the ‘Gram: Kate Wasley’s Modeling Journey
With her stunning looks and powerful message, Kate Wasley has become an influential figure in the fashion industry, inspiring women worldwide.
Georgia Pratt: The Kiwi Model with a Worldwide Impact
Hailing from New Zealand, Georgia Pratt is known for modeling for the Kiwi lingerie label, Lonely. The brand is renowned for featuring models of various sizes and ages in their unretouched images, further promoting body positivity and inclusivity. Georgia’s unique look and fearless attitude have made her an inspiration for many.
Georgia Pratt’s Advocacy for Real Beauty
Georgia’s work with Lonely reflects her commitment to promoting real beauty and encouraging women to embrace their bodies, regardless of societal standards.
Barbie Ferreira: From American Apparel to Euphoria
American model and actress Barbie Ferreira catapulted into the fashion world after submitting photos of herself to American Apparel. Since then, she has become a prominent figure in the industry, gaining further recognition for her role in the hit TV show, Euphoria. Barbie has also established herself as a muse for Petra Collins, Selena Gomez’s best friend and renowned photographer.
Barbie Ferreira’s Fearless Fashion Choices
Barbie is known for her bold fashion choices and undeniable confidence, making her a standout presence on both the runway and the red carpet.
Robyn Lawley: Australia’s Pioneering Plus-Size Model
Robyn Lawley, Australia’s most well-known plus-size model, made history as the first to appear in a campaign for Ralph Lauren. Her impressive resume includes features in some of the world’s most prominent fashion magazines. In 2013, Robyn penned an essay criticizing the unhealthy and unnecessary “thigh gap” trend, further solidifying her position as a body positivity advocate.
Robyn Lawley’s Journey to Success
From her groundbreaking Ralph Lauren campaign to her outspoken advocacy for body positivity, Robyn Lawley has become an influential figure in the fashion world.
Tara Lynn: The Lingerie and Swimwear Sensation
Tara Lynn, an American model, is known for her work in lingerie and swimwear campaigns. Her stunning curves and confidence have landed her on the covers of international fashion magazines and in campaigns for brands such as H&M. Tara’s work in the industry has broken barriers and helped redefine beauty standards for women everywhere.
Tara Lynn’s Path to Stardom
With her undeniable talent and passion for promoting body positivity, Tara Lynn has emerged as a powerful force in the modeling world, inspiring women to embrace their natural beauty.
Candice Huffine: From Beauty Queen to Fashion Icon
Candice Huffine, a former teenage beauty queen, signed her first commercial modeling contract in 2000. Since then, she has become a global sensation, fronting high fashion campaigns and amassing a significant Instagram following. In addition to being a body positivity advocate, Candice has launched her own athleisure label, Day/Won, empowering women of all sizes to feel confident and stylish.
Candice Huffine’s Rise to Fame
Candice’s journey from beauty queen to fashion icon is a testament to her determination and passion for promoting inclusivity and self-love.
Precious Lee: A Trailblazer in Fashion
Precious Lee made history as the first African American plus-size model to appear in the pages of US Vogue. She has walked the runways for iconic brands such as Versace, Moschino, and Savage x Fenty and appeared in campaigns for Khloe Kardashian’s Good American and Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS. Precious’ groundbreaking achievements have set the stage for more diversity and representation in the fashion industry.
Precious Lee’s Impact on the Runway
As a trailblazer in fashion, Precious Lee has opened doors for future plus-size models and continues to inspire women worldwide.
Iskra Lawrence: Promoting Body Positivity Online
Iskra Lawrence, a British model, uses her online platform to advocate for body positivity. Through her YouTube channel, everyBODYwithIskra, she shares workout videos and encourages her fans to embrace and love their bodies. Iskra’s commitment to promoting self-acceptance has made her a beloved figure in the body positivity movement.
Iskra Lawrence’s Journey to Empowerment
Iskra’s dedication to empowering women and breaking beauty standards has made her an influential figure in the modeling world and beyond.
Nadia Aboulhosn: Fashion Blogger, Model, and Designer
Nadia Aboulhosn is a multifaceted talent known for her work as a fashion blogger, model, and designer. Through her platform, Nadia promotes self-acceptance and self-empowerment, inspiring women to embrace their individuality and unique beauty.
Nadia Aboulhosn’s Inspiring Work
Nadia’s diverse talents and passion for promoting self-love have made her an influential figure in the fashion industry, inspiring countless women worldwide.
Denise Bidot: Breaking Barriers at NYFW
Denise Bidot became the first plus-size model to walk in two runway shows at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). In 2016, she launched a lifestyle movement called “There’s no wrong way to be a woman,” further solidifying her role as a body positivity advocate. Denise has modeled for notable brands such as Chromat, Nordstrom, and Lane Bryant.
Denise Bidot’s Pioneering Spirit
Denise’s groundbreaking achievements in the fashion industry have paved the way for future plus-size models and inspired women to defy societal beauty standards.
Tess Holliday: A Fierce Advocate for Representation
Tess Holliday, an American model and mother-of-two, has been a vocal advocate for increased representation in the fashion industry. Her unapologetic confidence and determination to change the industry’s perception of beauty have made her a powerful force in promoting body positivity and inclusivity.
Tess Holliday’s Influence on the Fashion Industry
Tess’s unwavering commitment to breaking barriers in the fashion world has inspired countless women to embrace their unique beauty and challenge societal norms.
Ashley Graham: The American Supermodel Championing Body Positivity
Ashley Graham, an American supermodel, has graced the covers of almost every major fashion magazine and walked the runways for renowned designers such as Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung. Her extensive portfolio also includes advertising campaigns for H&M. With 12.2 million followers on Instagram, Ashley uses her personal platform to promote body positivity and inspire women everywhere.
Ashley Graham’s Journey to Supermodel Status
Ashley’s success in the fashion industry and her unwavering dedication to promoting body positivity have made her a role model for women all over the world.
Hunter McGrady: Sports Illustrated Sensation and Podcast Host
Hunter McGrady, an American model, rose to fame when she worked with Sports Illustrated in 2017. In addition to her successful modeling career, Hunter hosts the Model Citizen podcast with her older sister, Michaela McGrady. Boasting almost a quarter of a million followers on Instagram, Hunter continues to break barriers in the fashion industry while promoting body positivity and self-love.
Hunter McGrady’s Impact on the Fashion World
Hunter’s work in the fashion industry, coupled with her podcast, has made her a powerful advocate for body positivity and an influential figure in the world of fashion.
These 14 popular plus-size models have made significant strides in the fashion industry, challenging conventional beauty standards and promoting body positivity, inclusivity, and diversity. Through their unique stories and achievements, they have proven that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. As we celebrate their successes, let us also be inspired to embrace our own individual beauty and continue to challenge societal norms. The fashion industry has come a long way, but there is still more work to be done. With these trailblazers leading the charge, the future of fashion looks brighter and more inclusive than ever before.
The Future of Plus Size Modeling
As the fashion industry evolves and embraces diversity, the demand for plus size models continues to grow. Brands that prioritize body diversity, such as ThirdLove, Dove, Aerie, Thinx, Girlfriend Collective, and Universal Standard, are at the forefront of this change.
As a result, top international agencies are actively seeking plus-size models to represent their brands, providing ample opportunities for aspiring models to build successful careers. By following the steps outlined in this guide and staying true to your unique talents and strengths, you, too, can carve out a space for yourself in the world of plus-size modeling.
In Conclusion: Embrace Your Journey
Becoming a plus-size model is a journey that requires perseverance, determination, and self-confidence. Embrace your body and your individuality, and let your passion for fashion and modeling guide you through the ups and downs of the industry. Remember, success isn’t defined by the number on a scale, but by your ability to showcase your talents, connect with others, and remain true to yourself. So, go forth and conquer the modeling world, one runway, photo shoot, or casting call at a time.