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Ashley Graham & Paloma Elsesser for V Magazine

How 10 Fantastic Plus-Size Models Found Their Fame

Not every plus-size model gets scouted at a shopping centre. Through their hard work these plus-size beauties have landed themselves in the limelight. Battling rejection and size discrimination these models prove that determination prevails!

By Natalie Dawson

1. La’Tecia Thomas

Australian model and social media influencer La’ Tecia Thomas was noticed in a shopping centre at 15 by a modelling agency. She was eventually signed to Bella Management as a plus size model.

Her Instagram (@lateciat) has over 1 million followers. La’Tecia uses her platform to promote self-love and body positivity.

The Melbourne model often discusses how long her journey to plus-size has been. She revealed in a heartfelt post that she was miserable trying to maintain a size six and now loves herself at size sixteen.

La’Tecia broke barriers walking at New York Fashion Week 2019.

2. Paloma Elsesser

Plus-size model Paloma Elsesser has Pat McGrath to thank for her success.

Discovered on Instagram by the iconic make-up artist, Paloma modelled for Pat’s upcoming beauty line.

Paloma went on to pose for the Fenty Beauty campaign alongside Rihanna.

“I’m not super tall, and I don’t have this classic plus-size body, but I’m special in my own way, and I think that story is really inspiring to a lot of girls.”

3. Kate Wasley

Australian plus size model Kate Wasley reflects on how she was scrolling through Facebook when she saw a modelling competition. The criteria consisted of “if you love your curves, apply” and Kate submitted an application.

Shortly following her submission Kate got a call from Vivien’s in Perth. She went on to win the competition and became the face of Autograph Fashion in 2016.

Kate is the first to call out any magazine or photographer that edits or Photoshops her body. She also doesn’t stand for being compared to her modelling companion Georgia Gibbs. Every body, no matter the size, is beautiful!

4. Isabella Moore

Plus-size Samoan model Isabella Moore made her debut during New Zealand Fashion Week.

She says she was scouted by her agent from Unique Model Management in 2014. Isabella was shopping with her mum at Westfield when she was confronted and asked about any interest in modelling she may have.

A week after her interview she was in their books and her journey to modelling stardom began.

Isabella wants to make a difference when it comes to body confidence, especially for Pasifika girls.

5. Charli Howard

London-based model Charli Howard was constantly turned away at the beginning of her career. She was rejected by numerous agencies in her teens. It wasn’t until she was 21 where a friend submitted her Facebook photos to an agency without her knowledge, did she get signed.

Charli was then dropped by the same agency for being “too big” to model. Outraged, Charli took to social media and wrote a post that ultimately went viral. The post eventually caught the attention of New York-based model agency Muse Management. Charli flew to New York and was signed immediately.

“I’ve got a tummy that never seems to go away, no matter how many sit-ups I do… I’m curvy.”

6. Marquita Pring

Marquita Pring explains that her and her mother traveled across state to meet with dozens of agencies. “A few were interested, some told me they’d need me to get much smaller but I knew that wasn’t happening. At the time I was seriously active in competitive basketball and my body was extremely toned and fit. There wasn’t much weight for me to lose,” she said.

Finally, 15 year-old Marquita found the right agency for her. They asked her to go away and come back after completing a photo shoot to see how she behaved in front of the camera. Within the day Marquita returned with images and she was signed.

Marquita says her biggest achievement is walking for Jean Paul Galtier during Paris Fashion Week.

7. Precious Lee

Precious Lee originally went by ‘Victoria’ when she began modelling. Despite being born Precious, her first agency Elite Models suggested that she should change her name to something more suitable for her career.

Precious wasn’t originally looking for representation and was accompanying a friend to the agency when she was spotted. At the time, Precious believed changing her name was the right thing to do.

She eventually took a stand and dropped her agency only to be picked up by IMG Models. Her new agency allowed Precious to return to her roots and cut her hair short. Precious no longer felt restricted and her career sky rocketed.

Precious now sports her natural locks on the covers of mega magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Lane Bryant campaigns.

8. Stefania Ferrario

Australian model Stefania Ferrario caught the attention of notable fashion photographer Peter Coulson after she shaved her hair off for charity. Stefania was then photographed for his book ‘In My Pants,’ a charitable publication to raise money for the Cancer Council (Australia).

In 2015, Stefania campaigned to end the term “plus size” as despite being classified as one she didn’t consider herself plus size.

Stefania posted an image to social media with the caption “I am a model FULL STOP” and the hashtag “#droptheplus”. This movement gained traction and was debated heavily as to what exactly the term ‘plus size’ meant.

9. Sabina Karlsson

It’s no surprise with Sabina Karlsson’s gorgeous ginger locks that she was discovered in a Swedish hair salon. At only age 4, Sabina’s career kicked off quickly landing her campaigns with Teen Vogue, Armani and Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Originally Sabina was a “straight size model” but shifted into plus-size modelling around 2010. She claimed she struggled shrinking down to a size 2 at 17 and wanted to maintain a natural bodyweight instead.

Through her plus size career she has walked for the runways of Michael Kors, Christian Siriano and Chromat. Alongside modelling for campaigns for Maybelline, H&M and American Vogue.

10. Ashley Graham

Arguably the worlds most well-known plus-size supermodel, Ashley Graham was discovered when she was just 12 years old.

She was scouted by a local modelling agency at a model and talent convention. Three years later she was signed by Ford Models.

Ashley has done everything from high-fashion to commercial work, making waves for plus size fashion.

Her most notable claim to fame was her spread and cover of Sports Illustrated in 2016.

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