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A plus-size model is an individual of average to larger stature (sometimes but not exclusively overweight or obese) who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engage in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore, plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.
Fashion designers are starting to look more closely at the earning potential from plus-size clothing, and have used plus-size models for their advertising campaigns and catwalks. Jean-Paul Gaultier and John Galliano both used plus-size models in their Spring 2006 showings in Paris. Gaultier also used plus-size models Marquita Pring and Crystal Renn in his Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear show. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual prêt-à-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fast and William Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Week showings for Spring 2009, and again as part of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk event held on 19 September 2009 in association with the British Fashion Council. Mark Fast also used plus-size models in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, and Spring 2012.
Origins in North AmericaEdit
Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for "Expectant Mothers and Newborn"'. By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category 'For the Stout Women', which ranged between a 38–56 inch bustline. The earliest catalogs used illustrations to sell their products, but by the mid-1950s photographs were integrated into the catalogs as the evolution of printing technology made this option available. After a hiatus through the 1960–1980 period, Lane Bryant again began using plus-size models.
Specialty model agency divisionsEdit
Plus size models were first represented by model agencies in the 1970s. Prior to this, models freelanced directly with retailers, designers and magazines. Former plus-size model Mary Duffy owned Big Beauties Little Women, the first agency specializing in plus-size and petite models in 1977. Pat Swift, a plus-size model at the time, founded Plus Models in 1978. Ford Models began representing plus size models in 1978, and added two models to their board, including top model Ann Harper, due to demand from clients. By the late 1980s, Plus Models was the largest and most successful plus-size specialty agency, representing over 65 models and grossing over 2 million dollars in revenue. By 1984, Big Beauties Little Women was successful enough to run national model searches advertised in the press. The prize included the cover of It's Me magazine, a nationally published magazine for plus-size women. Not long after, Plus Models began holding national model searches. By the mid-1980s, top plus size models could earn as much as 150,000 to 200,000 dollars a year. Ford Models bought Big Beauties Little Women in 1988, later renaming the division Special Sizes and then Ford 12+.
Wilhelmina NYC agent Susan Georget started the Wilhelmina 10/20 division in New York in 1994, recently re-branded W Curve. Gary Dakin headed New York's Karin Models' Curves division, only to leave after a short time to develop Ford Models' Ford 12+(rebranded Ford+) model division in their New York office in 1998. In Constantine Valhouli's 2001 plus-size model documentary Curve, Dakin states, "We're celebrating our 25th anniversary of the Ford 12+ division. It was the first and longest-existing plus division in the industry."(sic) Together, these agents created agency divisions that have continued to recruit the highest caliber of models in the industry and are credited with expanding opportunities for plus-size models beyond working solely for plus-size clothing retailers.
Former plus-size model Becca Thorpe founded the plus-size division at Muse Model Management, a boutique fashion agency in 2011. Muse also recruits high caliber models and had advanced opportunities for plus-size models beyond advertising for plus-size retailers.
Ford Models closed its plus-size division in June 2013 to focus on its editorial divisions. Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka founded Jag Models in July 2013, which currently represents about 30 models sizes 8-18. The agency does not brand its models as plus-size.
There are a large number of reputable agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, and internationally in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and the UK.
Specialty media and other ventures in North AmericaEdit
In 1979 Big Beautiful Woman magazine (more commonly known via the acronym BBW) began publication and was one of the first publications in the US catering specifically to plus-size clothing consumers. It ceased publication in 1995, but the "BBW" brand was sold onwards. Although it was resurrected in print via several editor-and-publisher combinations it continued to falter, finally ceasing print publication most recently in the late 1990s. BBW is now an online community surrounding archived material from the magazine.
In 1981, Lane Bryant began publishing It's Me magazine. Along with Big Beautiful Woman, It's Me was one of the few print magazines for plus-size women. In 1982, the magazine was sold to Happy Hands Publishing Company.
Spiegel catalog launched their For You from Spiegel plus-size collection in 1989 with Linda Arroz as their official consultant and spokesmodel. The three-year For You campaign included opening brick-and-mortar retail locations in upscale shopping centers. Previously, Spiegel had only been a mail-order merchant. As part of the full-scale plus-size outreach, Spiegel produced fashion videos that featured advice from image consultant Arroz, with commentary from some of the plus-size models who appeared in the video and catalog. Arroz became the fashion editor of BBW magazine after her stint with Spiegel. By the mid-1990s, all For You from Spiegel retail locations had closed.
In 1995, Lane Bryant began a transformation of the brand which included large-scale fashion showings and celebrity endorsement. Queen Latifah, Mia Tyler, Camryn Manheim, Anna Nicole Smith and Chris Noth have appeared in advertising and/or events on behalf of the brand. Lane Bryant held a large-scale lingerie fashion show to launch the "Cacique Intimates" lingerie collection on 1 February 2000. The 2003 final large-scale catwalk show featured Roseanne Barr as Matron of Ceremonies in a cabaret setting complete with Moulin Rouge-style singers and dancers. Lane Bryant was acquired by Charming Shoppes for $335 million in August 2001. In 2003 a cost-reduction plan was announced to improve the company's pre-tax position by $45 million. Shortly afterwards, the annual Lane Bryant fashion show ceased production.
With strong cooperation from Wilhelmina 10/20, Curves and Ford 12+ agencies, MODE magazine, was launched in the spring of 1997. No other fashion magazine specifically targeted the plus-size consumer with a Vogue-like fashion philosophy. MODE's editorial practice of providing models' names, sometimes attached to quotes on self-esteem to make them more approachable, greatly aided the popularity of the models and gave them a form of celebrity. The magazine also received industry acclaim, being named the best new magazine launch by Ad Week and Advertising Age in 1997. MODE ran model search competitions in conjunction with the Wilhelmina modeling agency, drawing entries from thousands of hopefuls from the US and Canada. Occurring shortly before the time of MODE's closure was the failure of several designers' ventures into the plus-size market. Versace (GV Versatile Couture), Valentino (Carisma), and others ceased producing the clothing which MODE relied upon, leaving an unfortunate deficit in the fashion department wardrobes and advertising revenue coffers of MODE magazine and its successors. Its circulation was approximately 600,000 at the time of its demise in late 2001.
Grace Magazine was launched on 14 May 2002 by MODE magazine's last executive editor, Ceslie Armstrong, and many of the ex-MODE staff as an independent quarterly publication and website under a similar concept. Even though the initial 400,000 print run sold out quickly and advertising revenue appeared high, the independent status and limited funding prohibited the ability to grow to fill the newsstand and subscription orders. Critics, however, believed that Grace featured far less stylish fashion content than its predecessor and unwisely pursued an editorial emphasis on weight-related health issues. Grace Magazine ceased operation due to lack of funding in November 2003, after publishing 10 issues.
Charming Shoppes' custom advertorial magazine, Figure, was launched in 2002 and was revamped during 2006. Although it featured only Charming Shoppes' own products and related lifestyle articles, it remained the only fashion and lifestyle print magazine specifically targeted for plus-size consumers until its announced closure after the publication of the March/April 2009 issue.
U.S. television program America's Next Top Model has featured contestants acknowledging the plus-size industry's relevance to fashion since the show's launch in 2003. After elimination from the competition several of the contestants have signed contracts with the Wilhelmina agency, although only Kortnie Coles, Diane Hernandez, Toccara Jones, Whitney Thompson, and Alexandra Underwood have successfully translated their TV celebrity into ongoing modeling careers.
Several homegrown calendar projects featuring models over a U.S. size 12 were launched in 2007, including the well-publicized Luscious and Fenomenal Calendar products from North America. To date, no calendar has been successful enough to continue beyond its initial launch year.
Plus Model Magazine, an online publication was launched in 2006 by Madeline Figueroa-Jones, a former plus-size model. The magazine features beauty and fashion editorials, beauty and fashion tips, modeling advice and interviews with plus-size celebrities as well as people working in all facets of the plus-size clothing industry. Plus Model Magazine launched an online podcast in 2008 hosted by model, actress and host Chenese Lewis, which has interviews with plus-size celebrities and people working in all facets of the plus-size clothing industry. The magazine gained attention in many media outlets worldwide by publishing an editorial commenting on body image and the fashion industry. The editorial featured plus-size model Katya Zharkova photographed nude alongside a straight-size model.
Canadian magazine LOU LOU has included specifically produced bi-annual plus-size fashion inserts featuring editorials and product pages since 2008. Echoing the advertorial relationship of Figure to Lane Bryant, LouLou's supplement features products from Reitmans group of plus-size apparel companies (Addition-Elle, MXM, Pennington's) on its pages.
Vogue U.S. has faltered on the continued use of recognisable plus-size models for the annual "Shape Issue" (April) issue; however British vocalist Adele appeared on the March 2012 cover as the first overtly larger-sized cover subject since sportsman LeBron James in April 2008. U.S. Glamour has declared it will feature more plus-size models as editorial policy after the appearance of a small photograph of model Lizzie Miller caused a groundswell of positive comment.
Origins in EuropeEdit
Max Mara started Marina Rinaldi, one of the first high-end clothing lines, for plus-size women in 1980. Marina Rinaldi started advertising in 1981. The line's campaigns were photographed by top photographers such as Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Greg Kadel, Peter Lindbergh and Craig McDean, used top models and celebrities(including Carré Otis, Candice Huffine, Crystal Renn and Kate Dillon Levin), and were featured in magazines and on billboards. The ads were also the first to use the term plus size rather than outsize in Europe.
Specialty model agency divisionsEdit
Cheryl Hughes founded Hughes models, the UK's first plus-size agency in 1985. Allison Bramwell Bewley, a former straight size and plus-size model founded Excel Models in 1995. The agency has represented notable models including Pollyanna McIntosh and Sara Morrison. Sarah Watkinson founded 12 + models in 2000. Former plus-size model Anna Shillinglaw founded the plus size division of Milk Management in 2011. These agents have been credited with improving visibility of plus-size models in Europe and developing some of the top plus-size models for international markets. In recent years, the most prestigious fashion agencies in the UK have launched plus size divisions. In 2011, Excel Models merged with Models 1, one of Europe's most prestigious fashion agencies. Storm Models started a plus size division, Curve in 2012.
Specialty media and other ventures in EuropeEdit
Several plus-size retailers in Europe have produced magazines. Marina Rinaldi started MR, a fashion magazine showing Marina Rinaldi fashions on plus-size models in 1992. The magazine is still in publication today. Evans, one of the UK's largest plus-size specialist retailers, launched Encore, an in-store fashion and lifestyle magazine published by Condé Nast in 1996.
Yes!, a print fashion magazine for plus size women founded and edited by Janice Bhend, launched in 1993. At the time, Yes! was the only print magazine especially for plus size women in Europe. The magazine stopped publishing in 1998 due to a lack of funding.
Fashion editor Rivkie Baum launched SLiNK, a fashion and lifestyle magazine for full-figured women in 2011. SLiNK is one of the few magazines focused on plus size women to photograph models with a Vogue-like aesthetic. The magazine began publishing in print for its fifth issue in March 2012. The magazine was also the first to feature a plus size model in a 3D editorial. SLiNK was also one of the few magazines to feature plus-size and smaller sized models on a magazine cover.
European versions of Vogue and Elle have featured plus size models in many editorials, often photographed by top photographers. In 1997, British Vogue published an editorial with Sara Morrison photographed by Nick Knight. Vogue Italia featured plus size models on the cover of three issues. Sophie Dahl appeared on two covers in 2000(February and April). In June 2011, Candice Huffine, Robyn Lawley and Tara Lynn appeared on the magazine's cover. The main editorial of the issue featured those three models plus Marquita Pring. Robyn Lawley also appeared in another editorial in that issue. Elle France has featured Tara Lynn on two covers in April 2010 and April 2012, and Robyn Lawley on their April 2011 cover. The April 2010 issue also included a 20 page spread with Lynn. Elle Italia has featured Crystal Renn on its April 2008 cover. Elle Belgium featured Deborah Dauchot on its May 2012 cover. In November 2013, Tara Lynn appeared on the cover of Elle Spain. In December 2013, Iris Monroe Baker appeared on the cover of Elle Netherlands.
Other magazines that have featured plus size models on their covers include Amica, Avantgarde, Biba, D Reppublicca della Donna, i-D and S Moda. In addition, magazines such as Bon, Diva e Donna, Gioia, Glamour UK, Glass, Grazia, Numéro, Paradis, Ponystep and Yo Dona have featured plus size models in editorials.
Origins in Asia and the PacificEdit
The plus size industry in Asia is not as developed as in North America or Europe, but a number of Asian plus size models have been featured in press. Australia has a developed industry with multiple designers and retailers using plus size models in advertising. In recent years, plus size agencies in Australia have launched the careers of several international plus size models, such as Robyn Lawley.
Specialty agencies and divisionsEdit
Former plus-size model Darrianne Donnelly founded the first plus size agency in Australia, BigGals Models, which was renamed to BGM Models in 1996. BGM Models closed in 2015 due to Donnelly's retirement, with the majority of models moving to the new Curves division at the established full service agency Vivien's Models. Chelsea Bonner, a former BGM model, left the agency to start Bella Models in 2000 in direct competition. Bonner is often credited with the discovery of Robyn Lawley as a model, although Lawley had already been modelling at a smaller size before joining Bella.
Specialty media and other ventures in Asia and Pacific RegionEdit
In April 1997, Emme (model) appeared on a cover of New Woman, the first appearance of a plus-size model on an Australian magazine cover. In May 2000, Australian Cosmopolitan began using plus-size models in fashion feature spreads. Natalie Wakeling appeared in the first May 2000 editorial. Australian Cosmopolitan now features plus size models in every issue of the magazine. Other magazines that regularly feature plus-size models include Australian Women's Weekly and Dolly. Robyn Lawley was GQ Australia's Girl of the Week in its November 2013 issue.
Madison magazine photographed Robyn Lawley for their May 2012 cover. In March 2014, Robyn Lawley appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan Australia.
Crystal Renn appeared in A Call for Camp in Vogue Japan's June 2011 issue. Felicity Hayward was featured in the editorial I'm Better in Black in Vogue Japan September 2012. Australian Vogue featured Robyn Lawley in Belle Curve for their August 2011 issue, and again in their June 2013 issue.
- Allegra Doherty appeared nude on the cover of Italian GQ, and also was on covers for Mode magazine, breaking barriers as one of the first, and youngest plus models to appear in mainstream magazines and high fashion. She has been in Vogue China, Italian Vogue, and was featured in American Vogue shot by Steven Meisel in 2005, and also the Mythic Proportions editorial in the Shape issue for American Vouge in 2006.She appeared in add campaigns for Jones New York and Tommy Hilfiger. She has also walked The runway for Elena Miro and Lane Bryant in Milan and New York for fashion week.
- Amy Lemons is an American plus-size fashion model and model advocate. As a straight-size model, she landed the cover of Vogue Italia at age 14 and appeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire. She also landed campaigns for Abercrombie and Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Louis Vuitton. After a brief hiatus to earn her college degree from UCLA, Amy came back to the modeling industry as a plus-size model and began speaking out about the industry's "zero-sized standard" and healthy self-esteem for young women. She has recently been involved in advocating for ethical standards in the industry through the organization Model Alliance, which she co-founded.
- Angellika Morton began as a straight size model and transitioned to plus-size modeling in 1997. She became the first model inducted into the International Model Hall of Fame in 1999. Morton appeared on three MODE covers, and was the first model to appear on two consecutive MODE covers in 1998. She also appeared in editorials in Essence magazine. She also walked in several runway shows for Lane Bryant, including their first runway show in June 1998.
- Ashley Graham is a plus-size model from Lincoln, Nebraska represented by Ford Models. She is best known as a lingerie model for the plus-size clothing store Lane Bryant. Graham has also appeared in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Bust and Latina. On 31 May 2010 she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to address the controversy over an edited commercial. She also appeared in several Levi's campaigns.
- Barbara Brickner has maintained a plus-size modeling career of over 15 years. She began her career by modeling for BBW magazine. Featured numerous times in MODE Magazine, she went on to model for many plus-size designers. She appeared solo in Italian company Elena Miro's 2001 calendar. Also in 2000, Brickner launched a line of plus-size maternity clothing named BB Maternity, sold through U.S. department stores.
- Candice Huffine is an American model best known for appearing on the cover of the June 2011 issue of Vogue Italia with Tara Lynn and Robyn Lawley shot by Steven Meisel and in the main editorial Sogne di Donna shot by Steven Meisel along with Marquita Pring, Tara Lynn, and Robyn Lawley. She has worked with notable photographers including Camilla Akrans, Damon Baker, Karl Lagerfeld, Mert and Marcus, Emma Summerton, Sølve Sundsbø, Michael Thompson, She first became well known after appearing in a January 2010 editorial Curves Ahead shot for V by Sølve Sundsbø with Tara Lynn, Kasia Pilewicz, Michelle Olson, and Marquita Pring. Huffine also appeared in an editorial shot by Camilla Akrans in Vogue Deutsch's June 2012 issue. In addition, she appeared in an editorial, Singular Beauties for 29 international editions of Harper's Bazaar's September 2013 issue, styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Karl Lagerfeld. Huffine has been featured in three editorials in W, Transformers shot by Steven Meisel for the September 2011 issue, The Girly Show shot by Mert and Marcus for the March 2012 issue, and Model Mania photographed by Michael Thompson for the November 2012 issue. She also appeared nude on the cover and in the editorial "Un Mujer Real" in the 19 May El País S Moda issue. In addition, she appeared on a Fall 2012 cover of i-D magazine, photographed by Emma Summerton. Huffine has appeared in three Marina Rinaldi campaigns: Spring/Summer 2012, Fall/Winter 2012 and Spring/Summer 2013. She has also walked in runway shows for Elena Miro and Lane Bryant.
- Carré Otis began modeling as a straight size model and transitioned to plus size modeling after recovering from anorexia. Otis recently published a memoir, Beauty Disrupted. Notable magazine covers as a plus size model included Elle France in 2003 and 2004, Elle Italia in 2001, Grace and MODE. Carre has walked in runway shows for Elena Miro and Lane Bryant. She still models occasionally, but is currently focused on her writing as well as being an advocate for healthy body image, healthy lifestyles and humanitarian causes. Otis is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association and advisory board member of the Model Alliance. She is a contributing author to Vogue Australia and guest blogs for websites including Amanda de Cadenet's The Conversation and The Huffington Post.
- Chloe Marshall is an English plus-size model from Cranleigh, Surrey. Having won the Miss Surrey title in March 2008, she became the first size 16 model to reach the finals for the Miss England tiara.
- Crystal Renn suffered from anorexia and became a plus-size model after regaining her health. She is notable for her editorials in each of Vogue's U.S., Italian, French and German editions, for covers of Elle, Spanish edition and Harper's Bazaar, Russian edition, and her appearance on the catwalk for Jean-Paul Gaultier for his Spring 2006 prêt-à-porter collection which received wide media coverage. Renn was also chosen by Dolce & Gabbana to model their apparel in an international print campaign, and appeared on the cover and a 16-page editorial for the December issue of Elle Italia. Renn's first book, Hungry (Simon and Schuster) is an autobiographical account of her experiences and was released on 8 September 2009. She has since then lost almost half her body weight since 2010.
- Emme is acknowledged as the first plus-size model to achieve widespread recognition in the United States. She hosted Fashion Emergency on E! and has appeared on most major US TV networks. She was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" twice (1994 and 1999) and Glamour magazine's "Woman of the Year" (1997). She has a collectible doll named for her, bearing her likeness. Emme became a spokesmodel for Revlon in 1998, and became the first plus size spokeswoman under contract to cosmetics company.
- Felicity Hayward was first scouted by Richard Mortimer of Ponystep magazine in a pub in 2011 and signed with Storm Models. She is currently signed to Wilhelmina Curve, New York and Milk Management, London. She appeared on a cover of i-D magazine's Summer 2012 issue. She has also appeared in two editorials for Ponystep magazine and in the September 2012 issue of Vogue Japan. Hayward has worked with notable photographers such as Miles Aldridge, Daniel Jackson and Patrick Demarchelier. Hayward has recently been called a British 'It Girl' by Huffington Post  In a recent interview Hayward has been described by British Vogue as a blonde bombshell "It's only a matter of time before the British bombshell well and truly conquers the modelling scene" 
- Grace St. John began modeling in 2007 after entering a local model competition. She is currently signed with Muse Model Management. Grace has appeared in three editorials for Glamour magazine, including a beauty editorial photographed by Patric Shaw for February 2011. She also appeared in the June 2010 issue of Gioia magazine.
- Hayley Hasselhoff has been modeling since 2007 when she was 14. She is considered a plus-size model as she is a size 14. She has been signed with Wilhelmina Models and as of 2014, is signed with Ford Models. She has walked in shows such as the 2014 British Plus Size Fashion Week, and has modeled for Torrid. She has also been named the ambassador for Pulp Fashion Week in Paris.
- Hayley Morley walked in several Mark Fast presentations during London Fashion Week. Morley also appeared in the Faster by Mark Fast Spring 2010 campaign with well-known straight sized model Anouck Lepere. She also appeared in an editorial in i-D magazine in 2009 along with other women with diverse body shapes. In addition, appeared in a swimwear editorial in French Marie Claire's June 2010 issue.
- Inga Eiriksdottir began her career as a straight size model at the age of 14. She has been photographed by photographers Peter Lindberg, Steven Meisel, Paolo Roversi and Juergen Teller. Her most notable editorial as a plus size model was Inga by Terry, photographed by Terry Tsiolis for Vogue Russia's March 2010 issue. Other editorials include V Love You Just the Way U Are in V magazine's January 2010 issue photographed by Terry Tsiolis and Hip, Hip Curvas! with Candice Huffine photographed by Joshua Jordan for Yo Dona magazine in January 2010. Eiriksdottir has also been profiled by Vogue Italia's Vogue Curvy. She also walked in several Elena Miro runway shows and appeared in the One Stop Plus Spring 2011 Fashion show. Inga is represented by IMG Models in New York.
- Iris Monroe Baker appeared on the cover of Elle Netherlands December 2013. She also appeared in an editorial for Australia Cosmopolitan.
- Jennie Runk is best known for appearing in H&M's Summer 2013 beachwear campaign, which was featured on the front page of h&m's United States website in late April 2013. This campaign was covered by numerous journalists. Jennie has appeared on Good Morning America and was profiled by Elle and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Runk's facebook page gained 2,000 likes in 24 hours and has increased to over 12,000 likes in a few months. Runk wrote an op-ed piece for BBC on size diversity in modeling in May 2013. Her first major editorial was Body Language in US Vogue's April 2005 issue. In addition she appeared twice in Glamour magazine, once nude with six other plus-size models including Ashley Graham, Crystal Renn and Lizzie Miller in November 2009. Other editorials include Cosmo Girl in February 2006, Marie Claire's October 2007 issue and several Seventeen magazine editorials. Runk has modeled for many plus size retailers, including in two Marina Rinaldi campaigns in 2012. Jennie has also walked in several Elena Miro runway shows.
- Johanna Dray of France notably appeared in John Galliano's 'Everybody is Beautiful' Spring 2006 prêt-à-porter show and subsequent French Vogue editorial of the collection, wearing what turned out to be Galliano's best-selling dress of the show. Utilizing her education in fashion design, Dray is the first plus-size model in Europe to launch a collaborative plus-size clothing line, named Tend@nces en clair par Johanna Dray, produced by catalog company 3Suisses Group. Dray appeared in two high-fashion editorials for Gala magazine in their post-Cannes Film Festival issues of 2007 and 2008. She has also appeared in interview with Elle France and was a featured model on Vogue Italia's "Vogue Curvy" website.
- Jordan Tesfay began her career after winning a MODE Magazine model search competition in 1999. Tesfay was the first plus-model since Emme, and the first black plus-size model to appear in a nation-wide advertising campaign for CoverGirl cosmetics.
- Justine Legault, a Canadian model from Quebec, is best known for appearing on the cover of the May 2013 issue of Elle Quebec. LeGault was discovered when she was 20 while working as an extra.
- Kate Dillon Levin began her career as a size 6 with Elite NYC, but after overcoming health issues (anorexia) eventually relaunched her career as a U.S. size 14 plus-size model. Dillon enjoyed a fast rise to fame via the covers and editorials of MODE Magazine, and has since notched up advertising campaigns for the top plus-size clothing retailers in the world. Dillon has appeared in several language editions of Vogue magazine, and has been photographed for high fashion magazines and campaigns by such photographers as Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton, Francesco Scavullo, Mario Testino and Albert Watson. She has appeared in advertising for clients well outside of the usual plus-size œuvre such as Gucci, Isabella Rossellini's 'Manifesto' perfume, and Nine West. She was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2000. Dillon was a featured guest during season 3 of the US network show America's Next Top Model, talking to contestants about body image and self-esteem.
- Katya Zharkova is a Russian plus-size model currently based in the United States. She is best known for her pictorial in the January 2012 issue of PLUS Model Magazine, which highlighted the disparities between real women and runway models. She is also one of the first plus-size models to appear in advertising for Frederick's of Hollywood.
- Lara Johnson has been modeling for over 14 years[when?]. Johnson signed with Ford Models in 1998. She has appeared in editorials for magazines including Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, Mode, YM, Seventeen and Talk. An image from her editorial for Talk magazine was mentioned in the Sunday Times. In a 2001 issue of Glamour, she was pictured posing behind a statue of Venus de Milo, and her quote was published in the article. She was also a model for Stephanie Seymour's lingerie line. Lara was also in every Lane Bryant runway show since she signed with Ford Models.
- Laura Catterall first became known for appearing in several of Marc Fast's runway shows during London Fashion Week. She has also walked for Elena Miro. Catterall also appeared in an editorial in i-D magazine in 2009 along with other women with diverse body shapes. Other notable editorial work includes the cover and an editorial in French Cosmopolitan as well as an editorial in French Marie Claire's June 2010 issue.
- Liis Windischmann is a plus-size model from North America who frequently comments in the media on diversity, fashion and body image. She is the Director of Ben Barry Agency and she is also the Fashion Insider for LouLou magazine's 14+.
- Lizzie Miller gained fame via internet and media discussions surrounding a photograph published in the September 2009 issue of U.S. Glamour as part of a story on women who are comfortable in their own skin. The photograph, which shows Miller's un-retouched stomach, including a visible roll of fat, "caused a storm in the fashion world" and inspired Glamour Magazine to feature plus size models more frequently. Since then, Lizzie has appeared in campaigns for many plus size retailers. She has also walked in several runway shows at fashion weeks, including One Stop Plus's first New York fashion week show, Elena Miro runway shows in Milan, Italy and Lane Bryant's runway show in Las Vegas. She has also appeared in several nationally aired Lane Bryant commercials as well as commercials for Elena Miro. Notable editorials include L'Uomo Vogue January 2010, Veintitantos and El País. Miller has also been featured several times in Vogue Italia's "Vogue Curvy" section.
- Marquita Pring is an American model currently signed with Ford Models and IMG Models. She is best known for appearing in the editorial Sogne di Donna in the June 2011 issue of Vogue Italia shot by Steven Meisel along with Candice Huffine, Tara Lynn, and Robyn Lawley. She first became well known after appearing in a January 2010 editorial Curves Ahead shot for V by Sølve Sundsbø with Candice Huffine, Kasia Pilewicz, Michelle Olson, and Tara Lynn. Pring has also walked in the Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring Summer 2011 ready to wear show. She has also appeared in two Levi's campaigns, Curve ID SS 2011 with Ashley Graham, Sabina Karlsson, Ana Lisboa, and McKenzie Raley, and Boyfriend Collection F/W 10 with Ashley Graham, Rachel Clark, Ana Lisboa, Anais Mali and Ashley Smiith.
- Myla Dalbesio was discovered by Mary and Jeff Clarke of Mother Model Management and is signed with Jag Models, Ford Models and Next Model Management in London. Notable editorials include Elle Italia, Dazed and Confused and Oyster. She also appeared in a nationally aired Head and Shoulders commercial. Dalbesio was also profiled by Vogue Italia's Vogue Curvy. Myla also walked in several Elena Miro runway shows. Dalbesio is an artist, best known for her performance art.
- Natalie Laughlin was the first plus-size model to have an advertisement feature on a billboard in New York's Times Square, an honor repeated four times by client Liz Claiborne. Laughlin was also the first plus-size model to appear in the U.S. edition of Glamour magazine. In addition, she appeared on covers of Grace and Mode magazines.
- Robyn Lawley is 6' 2" and a size 14/16 in Australian sizing. She began her career as a straight-size model in Sydney but later signed to a plus-size agency. Recent magazine covers have included Vogue Italia with Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine shot by Steven Meisel, French Elle, French Revue des Modes F/W 2011(two of the 13 covers) Madison magazine in Australia, and Australia Cosmopolitan. She was also the first plus-size model ever to appear in an editorial created for Australian Vogue and the first plus-size model to appear in multiple editorials created for Australian Vogue. She is also the first plus-size model to be featured in GQ Australia. In 2011 Lawley featured in a prerecorded video fashion presentation by OneStopPlus broadcast in Times Square during NY Fashion Week. and has appeared in the 2011 and 2012 Elena Miro presentations in Milan. In addition to modeling, Robyn designed a plus size swimwear line with Bond-Eye swimwear, has a cookbook contract with Random House, and will host a cooking show that will air on Australian TV station Foxtel.
- Rosie Mercado American plus-size model, celebrity makeup artist, fashion designer and television personality of Mexican descent. She is best known for starring in reality television show Curvy Girls on NuvoTV. She has been described as a role model for plus-size women globally. In 2009, she entered The Miss Plus America Pageant and won the runway competition. She was then crowned Miss Nevada Plus America. She then won awards including, People Choice, CoverGirl and Runway Model. Within a year of this she was on the Full-Figured Fashion Week and Mitzy Fashion Show. She modeled for Eccoco Clothing and Igigi by Yuliya Raquel. Mercado has now won Miss Plus America Cover Girl, Miss Plus America Runway Model and Miss Nevada Plus America. Her modeling profile also includes, Miss Plus America Runway Model, Miss Plus America People's Choice, the face of Full Figure Fashion Week 2010, Curvy Qt, Oscar Picazo Book, Curvy Girl Clothing and Igigi. In 2012 and 2013, she starred in season one and two of NuvoTV's reality television show Curvy Girls which tries to capture the daily life of four plus-size models as they continue to get into fashion. Mercado is 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 293 pounds and is dress size 24. She weighed 350 pound when she was chosen to be the face of Full Figured Fashion Week 2010. Mercado has from size 16 to 32.
- Sara Morrison was discovered by noted photographer Nick Knight in 1996. She was signed with Excel Models. She appeared in the June 1997 UK Vogue editorial Modern Curves photographed by Nick Knight. She also modeled for Valentino and Dawn French's designer line French & Teague.
- Shay Neary is known as the first openly transgender plus-size model to land a major campaign. She modeled for the American brand Coverstory in 2016 and the UK brand Yours Clothing in 2017.
- Sophie Dahl was discovered by the late notable stylist Isabella Blow in 1995. Dahl appeared on many covers as a plus size model, including La Repubblica D della Donna magazine in September 2000 and May 2001, British Elle in July 2001, Vogue Italia in February and April 2000 and Vogue UK in May 2002. As a plus-size model, Dahl walked for several designers, including Christian Lacroix, Diane von Fürstenberg, Fendi, Jean Paul Gaultier and Matthew Williamson. Notable mainstream campaigns as a plus-size model included Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy eyewear and Versace Jeans Couture. Dahl was also photographed by Herb Ritts for the 1999 Pirelli Calendar. Currently, she is a journalist and author.
- Tara Lynn is an American model currently signed with IMG Models in New York and Paris. She is best known for appearing on the cover of the June 2011 issue Vogue Italia with Tara Lynn and Robyn Lawley shot by Steven Meisel and in the main editorial Sogne di Donna shot by Steven Meisel along with Marquita Pring, Tara Lynn, and Robyn Lawley. She first became well known after appearing in a January 2010 editorial Curves Ahead shot for V magazine by Sølve Sundsbø with Candice Huffine, Kasia Pilewicz, Michelle Olson, and Marquita Pring. She has also appeared on two covers of French Elle (magazine), in March 2010 and 2012 and on the cover of Spanish Elle in November 2013. Lynn has also been on the cover of La Repubblica D della Donna magazine and was featured solo in a beauty editorial in Glamour UK in 2010.
- Tami Fitzhugh-Thompson appeared on a cover of Essence magazine. She was also profiled in People magazine in 2000 along with other top plus size models. Fitzhugh also appeared on covers of Mode magazine. She has worked with notable photographers including Walter Chin and Rankin. In addition, Tami walked in several Lane Bryant runway shows.
- Tess Munster is an American plus-size model based in Los Angeles. She self-describes as a "body positive activist". In 2013, she started her #effyourbeautystandards movement on Instagram." In the same year, she was named by Vogue Italia as one of the top six plus-size models in the world. She was one of the finalist of Torrid's house of dreams model search. A&E chose her to be the face of documentary series Heavy and became the face of the television show and was on an advert that ran nationwide in June 2011. Munster has been featured on "fatshion" blogs, she models accessories and plus size clothing lines, and was contacted to audition for Vh1's The Big Girls Club. She has modeled for Domino Dollhouse, SWAK, Jessica Louise Clothing, Evil Pawn Jewelry, Black Cat Bikinis, Empress Lingerie, Vintage Box 1947, Batcakes Couture, Em & Sprout and various other independent designers. Munster claims she is 5 feet 5 inches tall, dress size 22, weighs 260 pounds with a BMI of 42, measurements of 49"-49"-52" and heavily tattooed. In January 2015, Milk Model Management announced that they had signed Munster, making her the largest plus-size model to be signed to a mainstream modeling agency.
- Whitney Thompson is the first plus-size model to win the reality-based TV show America's Next Top Model. Thompson began her modeling career at 15 in her home state of Florida, appearing several times on the cover of the local Jacksonville Magazine. Thompson is 5'10" and a US size 10. She was 20 at the time of her appearances on ANTM. Thompson is the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine, on the July 2008 issue.
- Wyinnetka Aaron first appeared on a cover of Essence and has appeared in several other editorials for the magazine. She has also modeled for many plus-size retailers. Her current agency is Wilhelmina Models.
Celebrities who wear clothing larger than a standard U.S. size 8 have increasingly been attracting endorsement contracts as advertisers seek to extend size-acceptance into the film, TV and music industries, and/or make use of their family or other connections. Women who have lost weight, dropping below a U.S. size 8 since gaining popularity do not form part of this entry, nor do women unrepresented by model agents.
Anna Nicole Smith formerly known as Vickie Lynn Marshall (née Hogan) (28 November 1967 – 8 February 2007), and Vickie Smith, before settling on Anna Nicole Smith as her moniker, was an American model, actress and television personality. Smith first gained popularity in Playboy, becoming the 1993 Playmate of the Year. Soon after, she signed with Elite Model Management. Smith became very well known after appearing in Guess campaigns in 1992, becoming the first plus-size model used in a Guess campaign. The Guess campaign was one of the clothing brand's most successful campaigns. She was photographed by Peter Lindbergh for the cover of German Marie Claire 1994, and appeared in his book Peter Lindbergh Untitled 116. The shoot for the cover and editorial in German Marie Claire was featured in a documentary on Peter Lindbergh. Smith was also photographed by notable photographers including David La Chapelle. She modeled for H&M's December 1993 lingerie campaign in print advertising and billboards. Anna Nicole also appeared in controversial advertising for Lane Bryant, which was banned by newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal for showing too much cleavage. Smith walked in several Lane Bryant runway shows. Anna modeled in TV and print advertising for Conair in 1993.
Brooke Elliott has starred in the TV series Drop Dead Diva since 2009 as the lead character, Jane Bingham, a plus size lawyer whose body is inhabited by the soul of a fashion model. Elliott has discussed the perception of plus-size actresses on television, and describes her body type as normal sized, stating "The majority of women in America look like me. It's one of the things I love about the show."
Christina Schmidt appeared in seasons 1-3 of the popular Canadian cable TV series, Degrassi: The Next Generation as Terri, a plus-size model. Schmidt's character gained such popularity among the show's youthful audience that she was hired to model for plus-size clothing company Torrid and was represented by the Wilhelmina Models 10/20(now Curve) division in New York.
Joanne Borgella was a semi-finalist on the seventh season of American Idol, and is represented by the Wilhelmina Models agency as a plus-size model. Borgella was the winner of the first cycle of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance plus-size model search on the Oxygen TV network.
Liris Crosse first became famous after appearing in music videos for notable hip-hop artists including Jay-Z and Nelly and appearing in African American magazines such as Essence, Jet, King, Vibe and XXL. In addition, she has appeared in music videos for mainstream music artists including 98 Degrees and Jennifer Lopez. As a model, her magazine appearances included UK Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Grace, MODE, Vogue Italia, YM and Seventeen magazine. Liris has been photographed by notable photographers such as Walter Chin. She appeared in campaigns for urban designers Karl Kani and Pelle Pelle. Liris also walked in runway shows for BET's Rip the Runway and Lane Bryant. Her acting roles have included John Singleton's Baby Boy, The Best Man, The Inside Man, The Wire, and Law and Order's Special Victim's Unit. Her current model agency is Dorothy Combs Models.
Melissa McCarthy is an actor and comedian. She studied textiles at Southern Illinois University before she became a TV and movie actor, became a fashion designer at age 44. Her first clothing collection, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, is for plus-size women and it will include clothes up to size 28. McCarthy states that "People don't stop at size 12. I feel like there's a big thing missing where you can't dress to your mood above a certain number. [Malls] segregate plus-size" clothes stores and hide these stores away from other sections of the mall. McCarthy has stated she "...wants to put an end to body shaming plus-size women."
Maiysha Simpson is a successful Ford model and singer, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for Wanna Be, taken from the 2008 album, This Much is True.Mia Amber Davis appeared in a feature role in the cinema-released 2000 comedy movie Road Trip as Rhonda. Since her film appearance, Davis had been working as a model in New York. She appeared on TV to speak on the issues of being plus-sized, and on self-esteem, notably on the Tyra Banks talk show episode dealing with the media's response to photographs of Banks in a swimsuit. Davis died at 35 years of age on 10 May 2011.
Mia Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith singer Steve Tyler and Cyrinda Foxe-Tyler and half-sister of actress Liv Tyler, began plus-size modeling in 1998 at age 19 after being discovered by a talent scout for Lane Bryant's V Girl advertising campaign. She was represented by Wilhelmina Models and worked for companies seeking to associate themselves with her rock'n;roll lifestyle and aesthetic. Tyler appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine in January 2002, Glamour Magazine in May 2002, Vogue in its annual "Shape Issue" in 2003 and on the cover of Figure Magazine in May 2006. She also appeared on the cover of Flare in 2002 and in Grace, Marie Claire, Mode, Seventeen, Teen and YM. Tyler has worked with notable photographers such as Franceso Scavullo, Steven Meisel and Max Abadian. Mia walked in runways in New York and Paris, including several Lane Bryant shows. She was a VJ for MTV' House of Style. Tyler launched her own clothing line, titled Revolution 1228, in February 2009. In 2008, Tyler released her autobiography Creating Myself.
Pollyanna McIntosh appeared in the Pirelli Calendar for December 2004, photographed by Nick Knight. She appeared as a UK size 14 in a UK Vogue December 2003 16-page fashion editorial. McIntosh was named 2004's 'Model of the Year by UK magazine The Face based on her Vogue UK editorial and Pirelli calendar appearance. She has also worked with renown photographer David Bailey for Evans stores, and appeared in his book entitled, Bailey's Democracy. Pollyanna still models occasionally (current representation is Models1 in London), but is now mainly working as an actress, director, producer and screenwriter. Notable film roles include lead roles in controversial horror film The Woman and The 9 Lives Of Mara, as well as a role in The Offspring, a prequel to The Woman.
Queen Latifah (Dana Elaine Owens) is an actress and music artist who appears in ongoing U.S. advertising for CoverGirl cosmetics. Owens is the figurehead of the Curvation company's range of plus-size apparel and intimates, and the associated "Project Curvation", an awards program championing confidence in women.
Toccara Jones is a model and television personality. She was a contestant on the third cycle of the reality TV series America's Next Top Model (ANTM). In connection with her career in mainstream plus-size modeling she has found a niche in interviews and related photography in lifestyle magazine speaking about self-esteem. Jones featured in Vogue Italia in 2008 in a fur advertorial photographed by Steven Meisel.
Velvet D'Amour appeared as the only larger size model in Jean-Paul Gaultier's 2007 Spring/Summer prêt-à-porter show, and recently appeared as a judge on the US Oxygen Channel's Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance television program. D'Amour featured in the title role of Avida, a 2006 French film selected for the 2006 Cannes and 2007 Tribeca festivals. In 2010 she was a contestant in the TV reality series "La Ferme des Célébrités 3/Celebrity Farm, Season 3", filmed in South Africa.
Consumer-based criticism regarding the lower sizes of plus-size models is becoming commonplace and wide-spread. While the reputed 'average' dress size of an American woman is size 14, the majority of models represented as plus-size are between a US size 6-12; therefore the models do not reflect the average consumer size. Critics have mentioned the widespread use of padding used to make smaller models appear larger and help smaller models fit the clothing.
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion designers have deferred on the use of plus-size models through a lack of interest in the consumers associated with the term plus-size. Lagerfeld in particular has been vocal on the matter of his preferred clientele: "What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people" and received criticism for demanding that mass retailer H&M not produce their collaboration designs to size 16.
In addition, the industry has been criticized for lacking in racial diversity. For example, critics have noted that there are few Asian plus size models. Others have noted that there are few black plus-size models with darker skin tones.
In February 2015, Australian model Stefania Ferrario and television presenter Ajay Rochester began a campaign to end the use of the term "plus size" to describe models who are above a US dress size 4 by the modelling industry. Ferrario posted a picture with the caption "I am a model FULL STOP" with the hashtag "#droptheplus" which gained coverage in the media and was heavily discussed, with mixed, but mostly positive reactions, on social media and within the fashion industry.
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