The Complete Guide to Plus-Size Modelling

Plus-size modelling is a hot topic within the fashion industry right now and is growing rapidly. That means there’s plenty of opportunity for success for curvier models. Read on for a complete guide to plus-size modelling.

What is a Plus-Size Model?

A plus-size model is a model who is generally UK size 12 or above. In the past, a plus-size model was considered any model who was too ‘large’ to fit the strict requirements of the high-fashion world (so a UK size 8 or above). Fortunately, times have changed and a plus-size model is now considered to be anyone who is slightly bigger than the UK average (12). However, high-end fashion hasn’t yet caught up. For them, anyone over a size 8 can be considered plus-size.

Both men and women can be plus-size models, though women tend to be more successful. Thanks to Rihanna, however, plus-size men are finally getting their time in the spotlight; she hired many plus-size men for her Savage X Fenty show.

What is the Required Weight and Height for Plus-Size Modelling?

The weight and height requirements of a plus-size model tend to vary depending on the brand. Plus-size models are very rarely ever seen on the runway or in high-fashion, and those that are are usually on the smaller end of the plus-size scale (dress size 8).

Generally, most plus-size models are just as tall as regular models, though brands do tend to be far more relaxed with their requirements – Tess Holliday is only 5’5″. Basically, if you have the right look, your height won’t really matter.

Weight, too, is not taken into consideration for plus-size models. The overall look and shape of a model are more important for brands; they tend to favour plus-size models who are in proportion and have an hourglass shape and a relatively flat stomach.

Successful Plus-Size Models

1. Ashley Graham is the most successful female plus-size model. She is currently the 10th best-paid model in the world. She was also the first plus-size model to appear on the front cover of American Vogue.

2. Tara Lynn is a beautiful plus-size American model who is best known for modelling swimwear and lingerie.

3. Tess Holliday is a body positivity activist and caused a stir when she became the first plus-size model to feature on the cover of Cosmo magazine.

4. Robyn Lawley is a model from Australia who became the first plus-size model to appear in the 2015 Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.

5. Iskra Lawrence is a British plus-size model who is famous for her amazing curves.

6. Paloma Elsesser was discovered on Instagram by famous makeup artist Pat McGrath.

7. Naomi Shimada is signed with Storm Management – read about her interesting relationship with Instagram here.

Plus-Size Agencies

Many agencies now have plus-size divisions, while some agencies focus solely on working with plus-size models. As an aspiring model, it’s your job to find and apply to the ones you feel are relevant.

The most important aspect of your application is your photos. Along with details of your measurements (including height, hipswaist size and shoe size) you will be asked to send a number of photos showing off your face, as well as full-body shots and profile shots. You will be requested to wear minimal make-up so they can see your natural beauty, and plain clothing (such as jeans and a t-shirt) so they can see your body shape.

These photos are incredibly important; they must make a good impression within seconds and they must stand out from the thousands of other applications agency’s receive each week.

How to Prepare for a Model Interview/Casting Call

If your agency application is successful, you will be asked to attend a casting call – aka an interview. At this interview, you will meet with the brand in-person and they will get to decide whether or not you are a good fit for their agency. You may be asked to model some clothing or show off your model walk.

When preparing for a model casting call, read the invitation carefully. Some agencies and brands will require you to bring or wear something specific.

If there are no requirements, choose an outfit that fits well and shows off your physique without distracting from your looks. Style your hair naturally so it is frizz-free, but don’t spend ages on an up-do as you may be asked to take it down. Wear minimal make-up that flatters your features and brings out your attractiveness; don’t wear dark eyes or a bold lip.

Bring a large bag and put in the following:

– Hairbrush

– Spare make-up (concealer, lip balm, powder)

– Heels (you may be asked to walk in them at the casting)

– Book (you may have to wait to be seen)

– Water and a snack

– Directions to the location of the casting call. Don’t be late!

How to Become a Plus-Size Model

The plus-size industry is just as difficult to break into as regular modelling and will require a great deal of patience and tenacity. Catalogue modelling will be far easier to get into than runway modelling as it is more flexible with it’s model’s requirements. High street stores now regularly feature plus-size models in their campaigns and advertising campaigns and this has lead to more demand for curvier models.

To become a plus-size model, apply to as many relevant agencies as you can. Practice taking photos both up-close and full length. Wear high heels and walk in them regularly.

You can also use social media to help boost your popularity and reach. Instagram in particular is a good platform to use as it is based solely on images. Many models use social media to their advantage and even end up making good money out of it via brand deals and endorsements.

Work on having an excellent portfolio (including an online portfolio) to give yourself the best chances of success. 

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