June 22, 2015

Plus-Size Modelling: The Bigger Picture

Let me start by saying that this post is most definitely not an attack on Tess Holliday (pictured above) or on larger women in general. I am a huge advocate of the 'be who you want to be' way of life. I am far from a size 0 (or even a size 8), but I am happy. I have been on the receiving end of hurtful comments relating to weight, as well as more subtle ones regarding my lifestyle and food choices, but I have always been determined not to let them get to me. To me, being a UK size 12-14 is no big deal. Who cares? If I want to eat a Yorkie bar, I'll eat a bloody Yorkie bar, okay?!

But here is my problem with 'plus-size' modelling: there is no in-between. One client/company/magazine will publish a picture of a 'plus-size' model, who looks no more than a size 10. Another will use 'plus-size' models who look nearer to a size 30. Take the images below, for example:

The above images are photographs of 'plus-size' model, Myla Dalbesio. Myla featured in a Calvin Klein campaign in 2014, and CK came under attack from the public after putting such emphasis on the fact that the model they hired for this campaign was, apparently, 'plus-sized.' Myla is a US size 10, which makes her a UK size 14, but at 5'11" she still appears to be extremely slender. Somebody tell me, how is she plus-sized?! I know that the definition of 'plus-sized' in the industry is 12+, but this just seems absolutely absurd to me. I guarantee that I was not the only one who saw these photos and thought 'plus-sized? I must be plus, plus sized then!' 

To me, it seems that the fashion giants have heard our cries in the past, and misinterpreted them completely. Yes, we want to see an increase in diversity when it comes to modelling. No, this doesn't necessarily mean we just want to see models like Tess Holliday, who is a UK size 26 (US 22). Hats off to Tess; it takes a lot of guts to get your gear off like that, no matter what size you are, but especially when you're a size 26. She is a gorgeous woman, and I truly admire her confidence.

What we wanted, and what they continually fail to hear, is to see average sized women dominating the runway.

This is what we want to see more of:

The above images are photographs taken from Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign, which launched in 2004. Sure, I'll admit: there's still a bit of airbrushing going on here. But let's face it, they are trying to sell us a product at the end of the day! These images highlight the diversity we are constantly seeking; a mixture of body types.We have rolls, we have cellulite, we have tummies! Thicker thighs do exist, teenage girls, don't be fooled by all the VS bullshit they're feeding you in magazines.

Here is what we definitely do not like: back in 2013, Debenhams introduced plus-sized (UK 16) mannequins in their stores, across the country. Many other retailers have done so since. Oh, so you introduced plus sized mannequins in your stores? Okay. Oh, so you're running a new plus sized campaign? Congrats. STOP making out like you're doing everyone a favour by showing us average sized women. You're really not; we see them every day in the street, at work and on the bus. START making them a permanent part of your prestigious advertising campaigns, your runway shows and your marketing.

If models like Tess Holliday are being given the opportunities to be successful in the industry, why aren't more size 8-18 women being given the same opportunities? 

Gone are the days where you can only be a model if you look like this:

The key criteria used to be height and ribs. I don't see either on Tess Holliday. So why are either still being applied to anyone?

Bigger isn't better. Let's nip this in the bud before we inflict this onto younger generations. Equality is what is better. Diversity is what is better. Being happy in your own skin is what is better. 

So what do you think guys? Are plus-size models like Tess Holliday promoting an unhealthy lifestyle? Is there diversity in the modelling industry or not? Let me know what you think!


  1. I don't think plus size models are promoting obesity at all just as much as stick thin models aren't really promoting anorexia. I think the media and brands need to realise that there is a lot of diversity in the world nowadays and only using hot skinny models is a little discriminating to the other how many percentage of the world that don't look like that!

    Natalie Ann xo // Petal Poppet Blogs ♥

    1. thankyou for your comment lovely! i totally agree, hopefully the only way is up when it comes to diversity in this industry!


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