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The Rise of Plus Size Modelling

Gone are the days where modelling is limited to unobtainable size six models with legs that go on for days. The industry is becoming much more aware of creating a healthier body image for the younger generation.

We’re seeing more plus size models gain traction in the media, both nationally and internationally. Models such as Laura Wells and Ashley Graham are creating ripples in the industry with Ashley Graham being the first plus size model to feature in the pages of coveted magazine, Sports Illustrated.

Healthy Body Image

The healthy body image campaign is being spread globally. Paris is one of the most innovative fashion hubs in the world. They recently passed legislation to state that a model must present a doctor’s certificate to certify that their health is “compatible with the practice of the profession”. This ensures that models in Paris can’t be booked for a job without proving they are healthy and have a BMI of 18 or over.

What does ‘Plus Size’ really mean?

Although you wouldn’t be considered “Plus Size” in the real world this is an industry word used to describe models that are 3-6 sizes larger than the industry standard. Most Plus Sized models still need to meet the height requirement of 5ft8 and taller and are generally size 12-16, so they’re actually Australia’s average clothing size. A Plus Sized Model is a fit and healthy representation of the everyday woman. A proportionate body is a must! Along with a killer smile, alluring eyes, great skin and healthy hair. Most of the work for plus size models comes in the form of catalogue, e commerce and print campaigns for specialty brands and sometimes showroom, fit, and magazine editorials.
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Plus Size Online

We all know online shopping has been around for like, ever! Yet all of a sudden we are noticing a major shift in the number of plus size ranges fashion retailers like ASOS and The Iconic are providing. They are recognising the need to nurture the ‘normal’ sized woman and realising that in providing a range targeted and marketed directly for these women, they are gaining more traction than ever.

ASOS recently launched a plus size modelling contest on Instagram as a means of finding a spokesperson for their new ASOS Curve range. ASOS was super excited to give a plus-sized girl a Cinderella story and make her a professional model, winning a contract for London based agency Models1.

Curve Agencies

Of course the rise in plus size models is calling for a demand on agencies to manage them. MILK Model Management and IMG Models amongst many others now have a separate ‘Curve’ division solely for the management of larger models. With more and more backlash on advertising campaigns using excessively slimmer models, curve models are finding work fast.

Gorgeous curve model, Ashley Graham recently landed the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine. Known for their figure loving swimsuits and tastefully, sexy shoots; their decision to put a plus size model on the cover really cemented the fact that the industry is changing.

Could it be for you?

Many brands are using plus size models to promote the idea of ‘fit not thin’ which allows us to celebrate a woman’s curves and healthy body type without being on either side of the adverse spectrum. So if modelling is something you’ve been interested in, but don’t fit into the size six mould of a straight sized model. Then fear not, because there’s a growing need for Plus Sized models in this world and you can be one of them!

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Jade Taylor

I love that the size 6 models days are out always wanted to be a model from a very young age but always to big now i might be able to become a model one day


I honestly believe the most important thing in life is to love yourself and not be concerned with the opinions and criticism of others. How you feel about yourself if far more important than how others feel about you. Social media seems to really have a huge focal point on likes and opinions of others. Haters are going to hate and life always has a way of showing us who our true friends/supporters are.


I love all this. Thank you!
I do like the bmi thing. Where is the BMI cut off point to the other side of that though? (Cannot help but wonder what is too curvy because we know what is too thin and that a healthy weight varies for individuals despite the bmi guideline?)
I think plus size models are so much better personally and so does my hubby. Lol, cheers!

Rochelle barton

BMI is a load of bogus!! Many many people who are fit and muscular are obese by the BMI standards and they are actually more healthy then someone who was in the BMI and inactive. BMI needs to go and we need to be accepted for whatever we want to be!!


Fabulous article. I dream of the day when we are all considered equal and not segregated by our size as well. Or when being a size 12 isn’t categorized ‘plus size’. I feel this is all a shift in societies mentality and a great start towards a better more body positive future.


Absolutely amazing to see the “coveted” magazines helping us more curvier girls to realise our hopes and dreams!! This is such an exciting time for the whole world to take on and I’m so excited to be witnessing it!!


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