So, What's The Deal With Plus-Size Modelling?

Ever scroll through Instagram and see beautifully fit, healthy women hashtagging #plusmodel or #curvemodel and get confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you’re in the fashion/modelling world in any capacity, you know the parameters of being a straight-sized model vs being a plus-sized model, but if you’re an outsider looking in, it can be very confusing.

Before I began modelling professionally, I had no idea that plus modelling even existed in the way that it does. Basically, if you are a size 00 to 4 (UK 2 to 4), you are considered a ‘straight-size’ model and are usually put on an agency’s mainboard. These are the models you typically see in high fashion shows and in Victoria’s Secret catalogues. Anything bigger than a size 6 (UK 10) is considered plus, and even though plus-sized clothing doesn’t usually start until size 14 or 16 (UK 18 or 20), a good portion of ‘plus-size’ models are smaller than that. We are typically put on an agency’s curve board. It’s very interesting to compare the two boards because you will see so much diversity on a single agency’s curve board, with women ranging from sizes 8 (UK 12) to 18 (UK 22), whereas the mainboard will usually depict only one or two body types. 

I recently had a friend ask me, ‘How are you a plus-size model?’ She was genuinely confused that I could be wearing size 10 jeans, but be modelling for plus-size retailers. Sometimes it’s hard having to add that I’m a plus or curve model while talking about what I do. There is still a negative connotation with the term and if I just say I’m a model, I’ll, more often than not, get confused stares because I don’t look like the image of a model that the average person has in their head. This is a struggle a lot of models face, and is why the hashtags such as #droptheplus have become so popular. I would love to say I’m a model and have that be the end of the conversation, but that’s not the world we live in, not yet.

Credit: Alysha Garrett-Byrd

Credit: Alysha Garrett-Byrd

I’m so thankful that I am coming into this industry at a time where the plus modelling world is becoming more mainstream. Models like Ashley Graham have completely changed the industry and have created so many opportunities for us models that are bigger than a size 6 (UK 10). Unfortunately, plus-sized models are still often seen as unhealthy and/or lazy and that’s just not the case. I’ve never met another model that didn’t work out often or eat relatively healthy. We don’t get to stuff our faces with whatever we want and just lay around until we get a call for the next shoot. All models take care of their bodies because it’s the biggest part of the job! 

It’s so amazing that there are agencies that want to embrace a model’s natural body shape and type. The industry is rapidly changing and maybe one day, posts like this one won’t need to be written at all.