In recent years, thanks to celebrity endorsement and the body positivity movement, the fuller figure has definitely become front and centre in the world of fashion. In testament to this shift in acceptance, the demand for plus-size models has increased exponentially in recent years.
You no longer have to conform to a norm of being a size 6, tall and willowy to make it big in the world of fashion. Nowadays, in an era of diversity and inclusivity, models of all shapes and sizes are taking the runways by storm. But how easy is it to break into the industry? What steps should you take if you’d like to flaunt those curves to the world’s fashionistas?
The vital statistics
Of course, this depends on the type of modelling you’re aiming for. There are several types:
- Fit modelling
Each of these will have different requirements, so make sure you measure yourself correctly and decide which is right for you. In this article, all sizes are given in UK sizes.
If you’re aiming to be a plus size runway model then there are still some vital statistic requirements to be aware of. These are as follows:
- Size 10 to 22
- Have a waist that’s typically 10 inches smaller than the hips
- Your height should be 5’9” to 6’
Plus-size fit models can be shorter, ideally 5’5” to 5’9”, and a size 18; commercial models can be any height and range in size from 12-18.
Grooming and confidence are paramount
When it comes to modelling, no matter what type you’re aiming for, you’ll need to take care of your appearance. This means making sure you’re well groomed, and your teeth, hair and nails are all in great condition. However, there’s one thing you’ll need in abundance, and this can’t be found in the salon. We’re talking drive and determination, as well as a thick skin. You won’t always be the look that’s required, so you have to be prepared for rejection. However, if you can maintain that tenacity and optimism, you’ll survive – thrive even – in this industry.
Steps to success
If you think you’ve got what it takes, then it’s time to reach out to scouts and agencies. Search Google for the best agencies, and make sure you read testimonials from other models. Some agencies have a plus-size division, while there are also a few agencies that specialise in plus-size models. For a comprehensive list, check out these listings from PLUS Model Magazine.
The best way to get yourself seen is to create a portfolio. You don’t need to invest in an expensive portfolio, just make sure your photos are taken in natural light with minimal make up. Keep your outfit simple, and wear solid colours with no logos. Take a good selection of photos, including headshots – straight on and from the side – as well as a full body shot and a waist-up photo. Many agencies will list their desired criteria, and have a dedicated application page. You’ll be able to upload images, and have to supply your vital statistics – weight; height; bust, waist and hip measurements; your dress and shoe size.
Also, keep an eye out for open casting calls. These events are where modelling agencies discover new faces, and can lead to immediate signing. However, don’t worry if you don’t get signed, or hear back straight away. In fact, a good agency will take it’s time and only sign the models it needs.
Be aware of scams
Be aware that some ‘agencies’ that are nothing more than glorified makeover studios, which will invite you for a test shoot and then give you a sales pitch! Also, never pay to go an agency’s books or to be part of a ‘lookbook’. A legitimate agency will pay you from the commission they make, after you’ve been booked for a job.
This is all about doing your research. While there are many excellent agencies, unfortunately there will always be some that are out to exploit people, especially in this industry.
Famous plus size fashion models
If you’re looking for inspiration, then here are some plus-size fashion models who are trailblazing for the plus-size community:
- Ashley Graham
- Tess Holliday
- Amy Lemons
- Philomena Kwao
These amazing ladies are really making a difference, tackling diversity and changing the face of fashion, advertising and the high street for ever.
If you’d like to be among them, and like the sound of being a plus-size model, then we say go for it! You never know until you try. The next trending name in fashion? Well, it could be you!