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Are There Enough Jobs for Plus Size Models?

Jobs for plus size models are not as hard to come by as you may think. The industry is venturing out of the dark ages and is now seeing the exponential value in the curve market. More opportunity requires a need for more models. There are many avenues to pursue as a plus size model — not all models are high-fashion and that’s okay! The commercial division is the home for celebrating and sharing diverse body types. Don’t shy away from your potential, if you’re dedicated and passionate there are plenty of ways of getting your foot in the door. Even the most infamous supermodels had to start somewhere!

By Natalie Dawson

The Curve Conversation

There is a modelling industry myth that there are more models than jobs available. This isn’t quite the case, especially for the curve division. Reputable agencies are desperately trying to source new faces with curvaceous figures to represent their ethos.

There is plenty of work available although the same big names continue to snatch jobs from the competition. There are only a handful of plus size supermodels and even less are household names. 

While this is unacceptable, the silver lining is there is availability for newcomers to join the league of legends. The modelling and fashion industries are still, unfortunately, growing to accept the plus size division. But the change is coming.

Infamous curvaceous queen Ashley Graham said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, “I’ve had to work harder than everybody else because of my size. I’ve always had to suck it up.”

If you believe yourself to be as passionate and driven as the top dogs don’t let fear stand in your way. The fact of the matter is that modelling is no cake-walk. It requires effort from all ends and disappointment is inevitable. Determination and persistence is the first trick to getting work. 

The second, is understanding the requirements; no matter how tired they may be. High-fashion modelling remains a step behind commercial opportunities as curve models usually don’t fall within the old school runway sizes. Print work is far more versatile and brands are increasingly becoming more body positive through their campaigns.

Is The ‘Plus’ Really Positive?

Plus size models are becoming widely more appreciated throughout the fashion and modelling industries. Many high-end agencies now include ‘curve’ divisions on their websites. There is argument whether or not plus size models should even be separated from the rest.

Australian model, Stefania Ferrario coined the hashtag “#DropThePlus” in efforts to bring all modelling divisions together. Alternately, Lauren Chan stated in an interview with Glamour Magazine, “It was a word I felt proud to be using. I felt like it differentiated me from other models in a way that I wanted to scream from the rooftops.”

“I was on the plus size board at Ford Models with women like Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine, and I was damn proud to have a label that grouped me with them.”

Read: Is Plus Size Modelling As Body Positive As We Think?

Regardless of opinions on the terminology (as that could be personal preference), plus size models are in demand. Their beauty isn’t compromised by their size and they promote the ideology that women of any body type can be beautiful and fashionable. 

While name brands such as Victoria’s Secret have dug their heels in regarding diversity, others are welcoming plus size models with open arms. Independent fashion boutiques and online mega stores (such as ASOS and The Iconic) are leading the movement of quality clothes for curvy women.

What Are Your Options?

Jobs for plus size models are given to those who are seen to be the best at their craft. Like any career, experience is crucial, so if you’re wondering why you’re not getting work perhaps its time to practice your posing.

Not everyone can be spotted in a shopping centre and launched into super stardom. Building a quality portfolio and learning on the job is the best way to prove to clients and agencies that you are dedicated and career driven.

If you’re hesitant to dip your toe in the water in fear of rejection, don’t be! There are options that are often forgotten. The “model dream” is usually to make it to the high-fashion runway, but there are other just as valid avenues.

Commercial modelling is arguably the most prominent modelling division. Consumers see advertisements all day, everyday. If you’re looking to get your face out there applying for commercial jobs is a sure way to do that. Commercial work is also less strict on model requirements.

Read: How To Get Modelling Work

Undiscovered photographers, independent brands, local food chains and boutique studios all need a muse for their own growth. Start small and work on your resume, volunteer for free shoots, there is plenty of work out there but beggars shouldn’t be choosers.

Instagram is the perfect place to start compiling your images. Who knows, you may discover you enjoy the personable aspect of social media. Many aspiring models have their start as Instagram influencers. It’s a great way to follow potential connections and find inspiration while also sharing yourself and your personality.

Be Passionate, But Patient

Define your own modelling career. It’s easy to look up to the supermodels walking the runway and covering Vogue, but models are needed in all aspects of the industry.

Jobs for plus size models come in varying shapes and sizes. If the dream truly is to get to the runway, that is now a possibility.

Fashion designer Christian Siriano had a beautiful collection of curve models walking in his 2017 runway show. Their presence was an ethereal aspect to New York Fashion Week, but all four of the models were reputable with solid bodies of work behind them.

Understanding what’s in demand and leveling expectations can assist any aspiring models from feeling undervalued. What’s current and fashionable changes quickly, it isn’t personal.

If one division isn’t working for you – try your hand at fitness, lingerie, commercial or part modelling to build the experience every model needs.

Curve runway models still conform to certain expectations. Their striking features, proportions (and of course their walk) are presumably what land them the job. Designers are arguably the foundation for change, what they envision for their fashion line is a specific and personal preference. Don’t let one designer influence your self-worth.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your look may be perfect for a Cotton On campaign, but not for Sportsgirl. When one door closes there is another one slightly to the left that’s opening. Major models in the industry regularly comment on how they had to pay their dues to find their fame. Work, work, work! You’ll find your niche and gain experience at the same time.

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