There is a big demand for plus-size models today. In the past, it was much less common to see curvy models in advertisements, but the increased diversity within the modelling industry has meant plus-size people are finally managing to enjoy long and successful careers as models.
While there are still bounds to be made within high-fashion, commercial modelling is very welcoming of plus-size models. Most agencies have a plus-size division to meet the demand of brands and companies who are also now catering to the curvier clientele.
This includes lingerie and swimsuit brands. As we embrace different bodies, we are now able to see more realistic body types modelling attire that shows off skin. It’s necessary that these clothing items in particular fit well, so seeing them shown on all body types creates a more realistic idea of what we can expect the items to look like on people who are not just tall and slender like atypical models.
Read on for more information about lingerie modelling as well as our top 10 tips for breaking into the plus-size lingerie niche of modelling.
What is Required for Plus-Size Lingerie Modelling?
The number one thing a plus-size lingerie model needs to succeed in the business is confidence. You’ll be standing around in skimpy clothing a lot of the time, and you will regularly be surrounded by people. You will also have people touching you constantly like fitters, hair stylists and make-up artists. It’s therefore imperative that you feel comfortable in your own skin and confident around other people, particularly strangers.
Plus-size lingerie modelling is all about body positivity, empowerment and self-love, so you’ll need to have bags of that, too. If you feel uncomfortable about your appearance, you will not be a good representative for the curvier community. Brands want models who ooze self-confidence and self-love.
You obviously do not have to need strict body standards to be a plus-size model. However, there are some things that modelling agencies and brands will look for:
– Height. Regardless of your dress size, brands and agencies love models who are tall. Agencies love models who are tall because tall people tend to photograph well and look better on the runway. Height requirements are not specific for plus-size models, but it will certainly be beneficial if you are over 5’7″.
– Proportional. Brands will look for models who have proportional body types. That usually means having a bigger bust and hip size, and a smaller waist. This is because the hourglass shape is aesthetically pleasing and generally makes clothing look better.
– Flawless skin. Brands love models with clear, young-looking skin. Not only does it photograph better but it is also easier for makeup artists and post-photoshoot editors to work with. Don’t panic if you do not have clear skin – as this model proves, there is definitely a career to be had even with a less than flawless complexion.
– Clothing size. Plus-size models are usually around a size 14 and over in commercial modelling, while a size 10 is considered plus-size in the high fashion industry.
– Talent. Modelling isn’t just about standing there and looking pretty – there’s a lot more that goes into it.
10 Famous Plus-Size Lingerie Models
– Ashley Graham
– Precious Lee
– La’Tecia Thomas
– Tara Lynn
– Chloe Marshall
– Iskra Lawrence
– Tess Holliday
– Robyn Lawley
– Candice Huffine
– Crystal Renn
Are you interested in becoming a plus-size model? Register with us today!
Our Top Tips for Plus-Size Lingerie Modelling
1. Stay in Shape
Just because you’re plus-size doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself. Plus-size models are expected to eat healthily and work out to maintain healthy, glowing skin and toned, photographable muscles and limbs.
Modelling can be a tiring job, as you’re expected to be on your feet all day. There is also a lot of travel involved and both your body and your mind need to meet these demands. Work on creating a healthy and realistic diet for yourself combined with an achievable exercise goal. It’s also a good idea to drink lots of water and meet with a nutritionist and personal trainer to discuss your personal needs.
2. Take Care of Your Skin
A lingerie and swimsuit model must have clear, glowing skin. They must regularly get fake tan sprayed onto their body, so it’s vital skin does not have any dry, flaky bits.
All top models look after their skin by eating well, but they also have a good skincare regime that they stick to. Wear SPF on the face and neck every day to protect from sun damage and premature ageing. Invest in a good cleanser that suits your skin type to remove SPF, make-up and grime at the end of each day. Moisturise efficiently to ensure skin is hydrated and supple. Exfoliate around 3 times a week to slough off dead skin cells and prevent skin from getting clogged. If you have blemishes, it might be worth visiting a dermatologist who will be able to advise you on treatment skincare to get it under control.
Your body skin also needs TLC. Exfoliate and moisturise regularly to ensure skin stays blemish-free and glowing.
Remember that lingerie and swimsuit models must also remove body hair. Many choose to get a professional wax, though you may be more comfortable with shaving or hair removal cream. Some models choose to get permanent hair removal via hair laser treatments, though these can be costly. Whatever your method, ensure hair is removed in a timely manner for a photoshoot. You don’t want any ingrown hair or redness on the day, so prepare in advance and keep some aloe vera gel nearby in case you do experience any irritation.
3. Stay Positive
The modelling industry can unfortunately be a negative place, particularly online. The internet had provided people with an anonymous platform for them to be very opinionated – good or bad. Plus-size models will get a lot of negativity. Many people will comment on weight and health, as well as other irrelevant things.
A plus-size model, particularly a lingerie model, must stay positive. it can be difficult to receive negativity, and all models face it. But plus-size models in particular will receive harsh critique from both the public and some members of the industry who are narrow-minded. Ashley Graham, the most famous plus-size model, often speaks out about the amount of body-shaming she has received for her work. However, she didn’t let it get to her – and she became the first plus-size model to grace the covers of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Grow a thick skin and don’t let others control your path.
In the modelling and fashion industries, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That might be a common and over-used phrase, but it couldn’t be more true and you must be willing make contacts if you want to provide more opportunities for yourself. This is true for all models, regardless of their modelling niche. Plus-size lingerie models must increase their contacts and make a good first impression with those in the industry.
It’s not just at work. Events and after-parties are also great places to get noticed. You can enjoy yourself while simultaneously meeting new faces. You never know who might help you in the industry. You should be kind and gracious to everyone, from the hairstylist to the photographer.
5. Research Plus-Size Clothing Brands
You need to know your market, and their audience. Know which brands cater to plus-size women. Research which agencies have a plus-size category. Know the agencies that are specifically for fuller figures. You need to know as much as possible about the industry you are trying to break into. Information is key, and most of it can be found by researching online and by talking to the people you work with.
If you approach a brand requesting work and they don’t even make clothing for plus-size people, you’re going to look ignorant and unprofessional. If you approach an agency and are able to list off brands that commonly work with plus-size women, you’re going to stand out from the crowd and show you are serious about the job.
Keep abreast of new trends and brands that come onto the scene, and which brands support plus-size people. Read the news relating to the industry to keep up to date on new developments. For example, Savage X Fenty is a top brand that regularly uses plus-size models in its advertising. Their recent campaigns receive huge social media endorsements purely for their inclusivity. This is important information for a model who wishes to work in the plus-size industry.
6. Find an Agent
As with all models, for the best chances of success you need to find an agent. An agency will find you work and take a small cut of any money you make from photoshoots. They will also support and guide you. An agency may eventually pay you travel fees, too, though beginners may need to pay this themselves – always check the contract to find out what you need to pay.
Agencies tend to have sub-categories specifically for their plus-size models, though there are some agencies who work specifically for curvier models.
Research which agencies work with plus-size models and apply to them. You can apply to as many agencies as you want, as many times as you want. Their application process should be found on their website.
Don’t lose heart if you don’t hear back immediately. It can take some models months to get signed by an agency. Rejection is common and there are many reasons why an agency isn’t willing to sign you. Re-apply to agencies every 6 months and keep going until you find one that signs you.
Make sure the photos you apply with are your absolute best photos. They need to show off your body in a head-to-toe photo, and you need to include an up-close face shot, too. Keep any make-up minimal and clothing simple. Lingerie models should include lingerie or swimsuit photos to show their physiques. Use photos from previous photoshoots.
If you have yet to do a photoshoot, it’s a good idea to hire a professional studio to take some for you. Not only will this give you the chance to practice your posing in front of the camera, but you will be able to walk away with your best photos to include in your portfolio and on your z-cards.
Are you interested in booking a photoshoot? Register with us today and we can book you into one of our professional studios!
7. Have an Amazing Portfolio and Z-Cards
Your portfolio and your z-cards are a model’s main tools in the modelling industry. They allow you to showcase your experience and expertise as a model in a clean, professional way.
Your portfolio will need to be taken to all interviews and casting calls so directors and agents can flip through and see your previous modelling photos. Your portfolio contains up to 20 images. All should be high-quality and around A4 in size. You should include as much diversity in your images as possible. Plus-size lingerie models should ensure they add lots of lingerie and swimsuit photos, as well as close-up beauty shots of the face.
Your z-cards are for networking. They are like a model’s business cards; they include some photos as well as your contact details and modelling information. The photos on a z-card need to be good enough to make an excellent first impression.
It’s worth investing in your portfolio and your z-cards because these two tools could help you find lots of work in the future.
8. Be Consistent
Models should try to be consistent in everything. Your body should be consistently the same size, you should consistently be on time and easy to contact, you should consistently go to interviews and casting calls. A model who arrives late will not be appreciated, and a model who skips interviews regularly will be seen as flaky. Interviews can crop up any time and day of the week, and it is your responsibility to make sure you go to them – even if that means cutting the odd social engagement short. As you become more experienced, recognisable and successful, you may earn the right to turn down some offers, but a beginning model should work hard to attend every casting call they are invited to.
A model should be reliable and time-conscious. Photoshoots can often feel rushed. Hairdressers and make-up artists may only have a couple of minutes to get you ready. A photographer may be depending on the daylight for the perfect shot. It’s up to you to be there on time and not leave everyone waiting.
9. Be Realistic
If you are a plus-size model (a UK size 14+) and your goal is to walk the catwalk for a designer brand, you need to be realistic (and do some more research). High fashion has still not welcomed the fuller-figured model and you may face a lot of disappointment and rejection if this is your only goal. High fashion considers a size 10 to be plus-size. Unfortunately, the high fashion industry is not as inclusive (yet!).
Of course, there are models who are able to achieve their dreams by ignoring the “rules” and paving the way for other hopefuls (like Ashley Graham). It’s important to keep trying, but don’t be unrealistic about your expectations. By all means try, and don’t let anyone put you off attempting to pursue your dreams, but do be realistic.
10. Stay Passionate
The moment you lose passion and dedication in the job is the moment modelling will not work out for you. Modelling is a difficult industry to break into regardless of the niche you work in, and passion is what motivates and inspires models to keep persevering. You will face rejection in this job. You will also have to make the odd sacrifice, whether that’s missing out on a social engagement to do a last-minute photoshoot or if it’s skipping that burger so you’re not bloated for next day’s lingerie campaign. No one loves their job 100% of the time, but if you lose your passion, it might not be the career for you.