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The Rise of the Plus Size

Updated on February 12, 2013

When we heard the word "model" or "fashion", we often think of beautiful and very slim people, the likes of Twiggy or Kate Moss, the slender and skinny. It is our natural interpretation that a fashion model must be well endowed not just with beauty but definitely with a curve and a slim body.

The Slim and Slender Models: The Supermodels


"It's not what you'd call a figure, is it?"

Gisele Bundchen

"No woman likes her own butt, and I don't like mine."

"Everything is destiny. I never wanted to be a model. I used to have a horrivel posture. I still have."

"Every time I step in the catwalk I feel a little cold in my stomach. I hate to open the shows. It's too much responsibility. And it's much more fun to close them."

Cindy Crawford

"You start out happy that you have no hips or boobs. All of a sudden you get them, and it feels sloppy. Then just when you start liking them, they start drooping."

Carmen Kass

"I have a figure, and there aren't many girls out there right now who have that."

Naomi Campbell

"I never diet. I smoke. I drink now and then. I never work out. I work very hard, and I am worth every cent."

Heidi Klum

"People always think that models are very comfortable with themselves, very open and have no problems with anything. But there are times when I'm intimidated by walking into a room with a lot of people I don't know. Or I go somewhere where I'm not wearing the right outfit. Or I have a big pimple I can't hide! So everyone has that problem, models have that problem, too."

Karolina Kurkova

"I don't really have a New Year's resolution to go on a diet or anything like that. I am who I am, and I don't want to be somebody else. Mother Nature made me the way I am, and I should be happy."

Adriana Lima

"Be sure what you want and be sure about yourself. Fashion is not just beauty, it's about good attitude. You have to believe in yourself and be strong because you never know when you will work and not work". 

Elle Macpherson

"I went to America on holiday when I was 17 and, before I knew it, I'd been signed up by an agency and had these obligations I didn't understand, but which I couldn't say no to. This industry chose me. But I did choose to make it fulfilling."

Kate Moss

"You have to be yourself, as models come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are girls who are out there who are more voluptuous and they work better for different sorts of stories."

Alek Wek

"I have no problem with whatever the next big look is. Just don't try to tell me that only one look is beautiful."

Tyra Banks

"The runway symbolizes something in society that's very intimidating to women."

From Slim to Voluptuous

Supermodels, though different in colour or race have a certain similarity and characteristic that we can even observe by our naked eye. All of them have slim and gorgeous body, ideal for fashion models.

Yet due to the changing time, the American lifestyle also happened to change, from veggies and walking, technology is making its tool unto us, making our country as one of the nations who has the most obese citizens.

With this change, the fashion industry is also beginning to leap from its perception of what is really the preferred size of a model, and from being slim; people are looking also for voluptuous bodies. This is actually the trend nowadays, and these days, plus size models are beginning to be acceptable in the fashion industry and even in shopping malls and clothing stores, there are already various plus size clothes to facilitate the need of the masses.

The Criticism

Plus-size models have a lot of disapprovals though. Some critics say that they “may be setting a bad example to women on how they should look. They believe that promoting large models may lead to women believing that having an unhealthy lifestyle is acceptable.

But looking into the positive viewpoint, having a plus size model is not just a sign of acceptance of the fact that any size and shape has its own beauty in its own way but this is also an "opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define women."

The Voluptuous Models: The Rise of the Plus Size

Here are some of the well-known  plus size models...

Crystal Renn

"During the shoot in November 2003, I was vaguely aware of the stylist’s sulky demeanor and eye-rolling vibe, but I blocked her out. Some fashion people are snotty drama queens; this is not news. Whatever was going on with her, I was determined to be positive and not get infected by her energy. Later, Fiorella told me that the entire time I was in makeup, the stylist had been clomping up and down the hall, sputtering into her cell phone, “I can’t believe I have to style a FAT GIRL!” 

Believe it, bitch. " 

— Crystal Renn (Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves)

Toccara Jones

"I'm a regular-size woman, but I don't mind being called plus size, you know."

Sophie Dahl

“I'd rather be treated like any other model - being booked because a client likes the look of me, not because I'm size 16 with big tits. There's nothing sexual about model's typical androgynous skinniness.”

Mia Tyler

"I was always a big kid and I`m okay with that, but I know that it would have been better growing up if I had seen role models who had figures like me, beauty comes in all different packages."

Kate Dillon

“I firmly believe that what makes you sexy and beautiful is not the size of your body or the colour lipstick you have on. What really makes you sexy is what you project, your confidence, and your self awareness, having a great sense of humour and being really smart."

Whitney Thompson

"The thing that makes me different from the other plus-size models is I'm not just going in saying, 'I'm really pretty and I don't want to diet, so I'm going to be a plus-size model.'  That's not my mentality at all.  I'm saying I'm here to change things so that little girls have someone to look up to. I'm here to fight the eating disorder battle that millions of people are having and I'm standing up and saying that's not okay.  Frankly, I can't fail.  I will not fail." 

Christina Schmidt

"There are things I like and don`t like about Terri. I like that she`s so laid back and that she`s nice. The only thing I don`t like is that she`s so self-conscious, but it`s realistic, `cause there are lots of people like that. I think lots of girls relate to Terri." On her `Degrassi` character, Terri McGreggor 

Natalie Laughlin

According to Wikipedia Laughlin was the first plus-size model to have an advertisement feature on a billboard in New York's Times Square, an honor repeated four times by client Liz Claiborne. Laughlin was also the first plus-size model to appear in the U.S. edition of Glamour magazine.

Justine Legault

"Pour une beauté diversifiée | Who said you couldn't mix curvy and edgy ?"  (Justine Legault's twitter bio)

Johanna Dray

She notably appeared in John Galliano's 'Everybody is Beautiful' Spring 2006 prêt-à-porter show and subsequent French Vogue editorial of the collection, wearing what turned out to be Galliano's best-selling dress of the show. Utilizing her education in fashion design, Dray is the first plus-size model in Europe to launch a collaborative plus-size clothing line, named Tend@nces en clair par Johanna Dray, produced by catalog company 3Suisses Group.

Fluvia Lacerda

"I've always been a curvy girl and even though I've never felt the need to wage war against the very healthy body God gave me. I remember always longing to see someone who reflected my body shape me in the media, someone who didn't feel the need the shrink in order to have a sense of worth by society, someone who could exude confidence through her personality, a fearless woman, powerful, happy, content, and successful. With time I figured that in a way those were the reflections of how I felt with myself, with how I dealt with the world around me, I had all that inside of me, but it was disappointing to never be able to have that role model in the spot light."

Charlotte Coyle

She cites Sophie Dahl as her inspiration and has appeared in ads for Torrid and Marks & Spencer, in an editorial in the U.K. edition of Good Housekeeping magazine, and starred in a Channel 4 documentary titled Fat Beauty Contest (broadcast August 10, 2006)in which she organized Britain's first beauty contest for plus-size women and was subsequently re-broadcast on Channel One in Belgium.

Barbara Brickner

Featured numerous times in MODE Magazine, she went on to model for many plus-size designers; most notably for Italian company Elena Miro, appearing by herself in their 2000 calendar. Also in 2000, Brickner launched a line of plus-size maternity clothing named BB Maternity, sold through U.S. department stores.

Emme Aronson

She was the host of Fashion Emergency. In 1997 her first book was published: "True Beauty -- Positive Attitudes & Practical Tips from the World's Leading Plus Size Model", the second: "Life's Little Emergencies: Everyday Rescue for Beauty, Fashion, Relationships and Life" in 2003 and the third: "Morning Has Broken: A Couples Journey Through Depression" in 2003. 

Tara Lynn

Candice Huffine

Maggie Brown

Chloe Marshall

"I wanted to go through to the Miss England finals to break the stereotype that you have to be tall and skinny to be considered beautiful."

Velvet D’Amour

"The general reason one gets as to why there is not more representation of curvier folks within modern media is that inclusion would be equivalent to acceptance, and acceptance would then equal condoning, which would mean they support alleged ill health. The odd dichotomy is that whilst people like myself are banned due to the purported notion we will somehow 'promote' being unhealthy, we are besieged with media saturated with imagery of Britney Spears, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan. How these women represent good health is somewhat beyond me."

Lizzie Miller

"Change does not come from complacency. Change comes from people being fed up with the norm. What we have to look at is how many girls and young women are dying and struggling with anorexia or bulimia … My main goal is that somewhere on this planet, a young girl with thicker thighs and a thicker butt is looking at a picture of me in a magazine and feeling a little bit better about herself."

Yanderis Lodos

"I can't say that I have felt pressure as a Latina in the Plus Size industry. I feel that it has actually benefited my modeling career. Clients tend to describe my Latina look as exotic and alluring; which is a prefect way to describe any Latina. It puts me on a completely different playing field." 

Megan Garcia

"The most appealing, beautiful and marketable quality you can foster is self-confidence. Know your worth. If you are pursuing modeling to give yourself self-esteem, you will never be happy with it. Modeling is a business. When you are rejected there may be a million reasons why that have nothing to do with your beauty – the agency might already have ten redheads, you might remind the client of their awful ex-wife – who knows? Your job is to be professional, on-time, prepared and friendly. That's all you can do. Have a big life outside of the industry. It's just a job."

Jordan Tesfay

Natalie Wakeling

"I think every time my body has gone through a radical change, such as the teenage years and after having babies, I start to think about how I can improve my body."

The Size Choice...

Who are Better Models?

See results

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