In the world of modeling, there are lots of different types of models. If you don’t know anything about fashion, you might not assume that this would be the case. Because the nature of modeling is to sell products, there is actually a wide range of different roles a model can fit into: plus size or curvy models, petite models, child or senior models, and not to mention even the most basic differences like male and female models. Here’s our guide to one of these subgenres in particular: plus-size modeling.
Introduction to the Plus Size Model Industry
Plus-size models are in demand because the vast majority of people, particularly women, are actually above the standard sizes demanded by the modeling industry. It becomes unrealistic to see thin women wearing clothing on catalogs, in magazines, on online stores, and in advertising. Instead, sometimes we like to see a woman who has a fuller figure, in keeping with the reality of how women actually look for the most part.
The plus-size model industry is smaller than other areas of the fashion industry, which does still rely on the mainstream image of a slim and tall woman, no matter her race or background. For example, we haven’t yet seen a Victoria’s Secret plus-size model. But it is growing, and that means you may want to find out more about it to keep up with the trends.
What are the Plus-Size Models?
Plus-size models are a category of models who are above the standard sizing used by the fashion industry. There isn’t a real industry-wide definition that has been agreed upon, in terms of actual sizes and boundaries. It’s difficult, therefore, to come up with a precise guideline for the look a woman needs to have in order to fall into this category.
Generally speaking, however, she is larger than the average model – just not as large as you might think. In fact, the majority of women in the US or Europe would be considered to be plus-size. You don’t have to be huge to fit this category. It’s usual for plus size model agencies to look for girls who are just a little over normal weight – obese or very overweight models are still extremely rare.
Jobs for Plus-Size Models
There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to jobs for plus size models. Actually, the potential jobs are almost limitless, but we will list a few options here. These are the kind of roles that you might be available to take up:
- Catwalk or runway model
- Editorial, lookbook, commercial model (having your photograph taken for print and digital campaigns)
- Catalog or online store model
- Acting in video advertisements
- Music video, film, or TV extra
- Art model or life model
- Fit or showroom model
- Influencer or blogger
You may even be able to pursue other opportunities outside of strict job roles, like taking on brand endorsements.
There are not really strict physical requirements for curvy models since there’s no set size that you need to be. However, you have a better chance of getting work if you fit standard sizing – for example if your body is the exact dimensions of a size 16. This will allow you to work as a fit model, pose for catalogs, and so on. The usual fittings start from size 12 and up for this category.
The height requirements are not as strict for plus models as they are for normal models: you can actually be a bit shorter, usually 5”6’ to 5”9’. You might even get away with being smaller than that, as there are examples of successful models at 5”5’.
It may seem like a contradiction, but you will get more work if you are fit, even if you remain plus size. This means toning up and making sure that your body is well-proportioned and tight. As a general rule, having your waist 10 inches smaller than your hips is a good proportion. You will still have to work out a lot, even as a plus-size model! Imagine plus size lingerie models – they need to look great in the items, with the minimum of visible ‘issues’ such as cellulite which are seen as unattractive.
You also need to try to remain the size that you are, as you won’t be able to keep booking jobs if your weight yo-yos up and down. Clients won’t know what to expect when you turn up, which isn’t great for them.
You should have clear skin and healthy hair and nails, too – so if it is unhealthy habits that keep you a larger size, you’ll have to change the way you live. Essentially, you need to be as healthy as possible while still maintaining your size.
Plus-Size Fashion Brands and Designers Who Work with Plus-Size models
Here are some brands and designers who are known to regularly work with curvier models:
- John Galliano
- Lane Bryant
- Universal Standard
- ASOS Curve
- Boohoo Plus
- Savage x Fenty
- Dear Kate
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Liz Claiborne
- Simply Be
- Christian Siriano
- Michael Kors
- Addition Elle
- Ashley Graham Lingerie
Creating a Plus-Size Model Portfolio
If you get rejected at first, it might help to build up your portfolio to show them your potential. You can do this by working with photographers on a TFP (Time for Prints) basis. This means that you don’t get paid, but you do get to use the images to start your portfolio. Finding a good photographer to work with can really be worth it. You might even want to pay for their time in order to get a really high-quality selection of shots.
One of the most critical steps to become a model and to make a stable career is to have a well-rounded modeling portfolio that showcases your strong points through high-quality, stunning images. One of the first requirements from a model that agencies and clients will look at to make a great first impression is the modeling portfolio. It helps to have both an online version (your modeling portfolio website) that you can send to anyone via an email and a printed version that you can show when you meet someone face to face. You need all the exposure you can get to move up the ladder in the modeling industry.
Author : Gurpreet Singh
~ Team Fashion Holic