The Complete Guide to Becoming a Plus-Size Model (2020)

Who said the modelling industry is only for skinny and slim girls?

In this modern era, a new group of models is becoming popular day-by-day, and thankfully, they are breaking the stereotypical notions that only anorexic looking girls can enter the fashion industry.

They are the plus-size models. These models are earning as good as any high-end Victoria’s Secret models.

The truth is, the plus-size modelling industry is growing relatively faster.

We have never seen such kind of support, acceptance, as well as demands for plus size figures earlier.

At that time, the fashion industry was only about skinny girls. But now things are changing, and they are changing for good. 

plus size modelling

So, if you are a little on the bulkier side and voluptuous, then you have a chance to shine. Show your curves, flaunt them, and there is no reason to be ashamed of your body because plus-size modelling is the reality.

Looking at the exponential growth of the plus-size modelling industry, we have complete trust that any woman can become a model. However, there are a few nitty-gritty that you need to follow to become a plus-size model. For example, you need to decide which modeling genre you would like to try.

Deciding on the modeling type is your first step towards the modeling industry. Along with choosing the modeling type, you will also have to research the industry. Please get to know some of the agencies who hire plus-size models and start talking to them.

These baby steps are required to become a successful plus-size model. Our detailed guide will also help you out in this case. Make sure that you are mentally prepared to join the modeling career because there will be many like you who are trying their best to get a shot.

There are many successful as well as struggling models in the industry. So, you might be thinking about how to start your career as a plus-size model. We have got your back. Go through this guide, and know everything about this profession.

A brief introduction to plus-size modelling

If you are wondering whether plus-size models have a chance to get selected in the modelling industry or not, then the answer is yes, they have. A vast majority of people are more than the standard sizes, particularly women, and currently, there is a huge demand for women who are a little heavy.

Although thinner models look stunning in top-class designer dresses and lingerie, they seem unrealistic. The stick-thin models wearing high-end clothes who get advertised by top executive producers or posing for magazine covers were generally not appealing to the masses.

Sometimes, the public wants to see women who have a fuller figure because that’s how most of the women look like in reality.

The plus-size model industry is not as massive as the standard modelling industry. And there are still some brands that feature only the mainstream image of skinny and tall women. Take Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows as an example.

We have never seen any fuller size models walking the ramp for the company. But not to worry, plus-size modeling is trending now, and it is growing day by day.

Plus-Size Models Get Real About Their Profession

Who are these plus-size models?

Plus-size models are above the standard size models that you see in the fashion industry. It is quite challenging to explain who fits into the plus-size category, but these are the women who have weight more than the modelling standards.

The model is going to be larger than any average model that walks the ramp. However, these models are not as large as you may picture. Most of the women in Europe and the US are generally considered to be plus-sized. No one needs to be huge to fit into the category of plus size.

Agencies who hire these models are looking for ladies who weigh a little bit more but can flaunt themselves confidently when they walk. We haven’t seen any obese models though who have walked the ramp in any of the fashion shows.

What kind of jobs can a plus-size model expect?

Luckily, in terms of jobs, there are a lot of options available for fuller women. There are limitless opportunities in the industry. The ones that you can think of getting into are as follows:

  • Catwalk or becoming a runway model
  • You can get into lookbook, editorial, and become a commercial model
  • You can appear as an online store model or in a catalogue
  • You can act in a video advertisement
  • You can appear in a film, a music video, and as TC extras
  • You can be a life or an art model
  • You can also become a blogger of an influencer

Some of the companies even hire plus models for endorsing their brands as well. You should look out such brands before jumping into this profession. To sum it up, a plus-size model can be seen doing art modelling in catalogues, runways, and even in magazine editorials.

They also appear in the commercial advertisement and print campaigns. Some of the best designers and the world’s biggest brands also hire plus-size models. That means there is a lot of opportunities waiting for curvy models.

What are the physical requirements for a plus-size model?

Yet again, there aren’t any strict rules when it comes to physical requirements for a plus-size model, unlike the slimmer ones.

But the standard size that most agencies hire is of size 16. Models who wear size 16 are suitable to become a model because they look healthy, and they can pose for various catalogues. Typically, plus-size models get hired from size 12.

The plus-size models get hired even if they are 5 feet 6 inches tall, unlike standard models. The rules are a bit lenient here. Even some plus-size models of 5 feet 5 inches height got selected due to their kind face and attitude.

Even if you are heavy, it doesn’t mean that you have to be unhealthy. Heavier women who are physically fit, often get better opportunities. It may sound contradictory, but that’s the fact. So, the body of plus-size models should be toned and well-proportioned.

As a thumb rule, a 10 inches waist that is smaller than your hips is an ideal proportion. Don’t think that you do not have to put effort as you are a plus-size model, but think about a plus-size lingerie model who poses for a photo shoot.

How to Become a Plus-Size Model

Even these models have to look attractive on the cover page wearing the lingerie set. Visible cellulite is one of the common issues among heavier women, and that is what plus-size models have to work on.

If you are getting an offer with your current size as a plus-size model, then please try to maintain that figure because chances are, you will get more offer with your present weight height proportion.

It is going to be difficult for you if your weight keeps on changing as the client might want you to look the same as that in a portfolio.

Let’s talk about your hair, skin, and nails now. Your skin should be clear, your hair should be smooth, and your nails should be shiny. No matter what, every agency is looking for a healthy plus-size model. If you have any bad habits, now this is the time to drop them.

What are the agencies that hire plus-size models?

In terms of agencies who are willing to hire plus-size models, there are many of them such as in New York, Paris, etc. Some of these agencies are also creating curvy size superstars. They have opened their doors for curvy ladies who can outshine the fashion world.

Some agencies work solely with plus-size models while others work with all. The very first company that opened its door was Big Beauties Little Women, founded in 1977. However, now it is called Ford+. You will see that name on our list too.

We have listed the names of some of the popular size model agencies that you can try contacting:

  • Ford+
  • Wilhelmina
  • Models1
  • Next
  • IMG
  • B&M Models
  • ICON
  • Bridge Models (UK)
  • Front Management
  • Curve Models (Germany)

If you research thoroughly, you might find a few agencies that hire plus-size models in your area too. We are sure that with time, there will be many more modelling agencies who will hire oversized models, so keep exploring to find the right opportunity.

To get hired, you will have to work on your health, body as well as on your overall appearance.

There are specific requirements of some of the agencies that you will need to fulfil. The best thing to do would be to speak to the agencies and get to know their requirements or check out their website for more details.

Some agencies do accept online applications, while others prefer walk-in interviews. Don’t feel scared to step up to the agencies if they ask for it. There might be a big chance. Also, the agencies will ask you to show your body wearing lingerie sets.

What you need to do is to be mentally prepared before going for an interview.

Always prefer plain clothes and wear leggings with a neutral toned-underwear. Don’t wear any makeup because the agency will want to evaluate your skin condition, and if you want to wear makeup, go for a subtle base. Let your hair flow and carry your confidence.

How should you approach these plus-size model agencies?

The best way to approach these agencies is to submit your photos. Create a portfolio and choose the best of your pictures. Pick the most reputable agency with whom you wish to connect.

There is one online modelling scouting service that you can go for, and that is ModelScouts.com. This site is well connected with some of the top plus-size model agencies. ModelScouts.com could be the best option for you if you want to begin your career as a curvy model. ​

It is not mandatory to have a previous background related to modelling. You can start here as a fresher as well. Your attitude, passion for modelling, and professionalism matter the most.

Tips for Aspiring Plus-Size / Curvy Models

Do plus-size models have a shot in the high fashion industry?

Yes, there is. The fashion industry is changing its standards, and they are embracing women of all sizes. Plus size women should carry a charismatic persona and a confident attitude.

The curvy models’ curves are rocking some of the biggest Fashion Shows, for example, New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and some seen getting featured in Vogue and Elle. Plus-size models are now in trend, and we don’t think there is any way these models will allow anything to let them down.

Essential Things to Remember

Always Keep in Touch with the Modelling Companies

Once you succeed in getting a few reasonable offers, then try to remain in touch with those modeling companies.


It is crucial to stay well connected in the industry to become well-known and famous.


In this age, more and more curvy women are showing interest in becoming a plus-size woman, but they end up getting associated with fake modelling agencies.


contact

These agencies manipulate newcomers and not even pay money. Always remember, no reputed agency will ask for money before you join the company; this is because the agency earns its profit as a certain percentage of a model’s wage.


The more offers the model gets, the more money the agency would be making and do a thorough research if it is a local agency before working with them. Check their reviews and be sure that the firm is legit, and models are working in the industry from this agency.


The best thing to do would be to get in touch with the most famous modelling agencies. They are known and legit. Contact them by sending them an email, and don’t forget to make an appointment before you meet them at their office.


Look great, feel confident, and always stay in touch with the agencies.


You must know your size first!

First of all, you should know which type of modelling you would like to go for. You can go for either fit, runway or print modelling.


Their weight and height measurements will vary. For print modelling, the requirement is 5 feet 8 inches and above, and the weight size is between 12 to 18, while for the runway, the height required is 5’9,’’ and the weight should be 10 to 20/22.


So, you need to know your measurement first.


There are always some exceptions based on the agencies you are applying for, so get in touch with them and know which modelling type is best suitable for you.

plus size measurements

Make your portfolio

There should be a good collection of pictures, and all successful models have that.


The agencies will ask for your portfolio to check whether you are an excellent choice or not.


If you are a newcomer and you do not have a professionally made portfolio.


Then, not to worry in that case as agencies understand that you are new, and consider you as an exception. 

portfolio

The safest option is to have a good collection of photos prior. In the photos, show your best without wearing heavy makeup. The images should reveal the natural self and should not make it difficult for the agencies to decide. Simple shots all you need.


Click pictures by wearing different types of clothes. Keep one or two raw and makeup devoid photos of yours. Also, the images should be of high quality. You will need to present a full headshot photo, and then full-body photos in different attires.


The images shouldn’t look over the top and keep it natural.


Taking Care of your body is a Must

Even though you’re a plus-size model, it doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want to and not exercise at all.


Instead, you need to maintain good skin, hair, nails, and teeth.


You must have a toned body and drink plenty of water daily. Get into healthy eating habits and exercise regularly.

plus size bath

Always be body confident

It is necessary for a plus-size model to feel confident in her own skin.


Plus-size models are easily judged, but don’t let criticisms make you feel upset.


You know that you are not like the usual models, so be comfortable in your body’s shape and size.


The moment you feel uncomfortable in your body, it will show outside. Get rid of all the negative talks. 

curvy mirror

Be positive about yourself and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Fall in love with your curves because your curves will get you gigs. Always focus on the things that you enjoy doing.


Do your background research

Before even dreaming about becoming a plus-size model, your first responsibility is to find out about the agencies that hire curvy models.


Do keep in mind that not all agencies hire plus-size models.


Even though more and more agencies are showing interest in curvy ladies, you must make sure that you do your background check.


Once you find the right agency that you would like to work with, please check out their previous work first.  

professional

Find out models with whom the agency has already connected, what are their requirements, and many more!


How they started their job, what they went through, how many gigs they do in a year, their earnings, the future of these plus-size models, and many more. Ask questions and try to find out their answers, and by this, you will be able to understand the industry clearly.


Avoid scammers

Never go for agencies, which have not been verified.      


There are scammers all over the world, so go with a reputed agency only.


Try visiting their website and also learn about how the agency works. You should never pay the agency upfront.


Reliable agencies always work on a commission basis, and they will never ask for upfront fees from the model.


These agencies receive their commission once their model gets booked.

rejected application

Practice hard

If you are going for a photoshoot for your portfolio, practice beforehand.


Yet again, it is necessary to know your body shape and how you want to move before practicing.


You should know your right angles and which side is the best photogenic side.


Stand in front of the mirror and pose in different aspects.


Look up, down, left, and right, and see which angle will accentuate your look the best.

plus size taking pic

Always attend open calls

If there is a free call from any of the good agencies, don’t miss it! Also, do enquire about their requirements in the starting.


Always ask whether they have any particular dress code or not. If not, then wear something, which will make you look ravishing.


Don’t wear anything too loud. Be as simple as possible. The agency might ask you to carry two or three different outfits along with you.


Please carry those. Also, the agency might tell you to bring extra photographs of yours. So, be prepared for that.

modelling agency

Some of the agencies will hand over a long form to fill. You might be asked to fill in the details, such as your full address, your telephone number, why you want to become a plus-size model, and more. They might check your body measurements on the spot.


It is crucial to have a bright personality when you go for these open calls or open casting. The agencies are usually cut-throat when it comes to casting, and they can sometimes be brutal as well while asking questions.


They want to make sure that they select the right candidate for their agencies. So, answer all the queries with full confidence and move on. If the agency you want to approach doesn’t have any open casting; it is always better to drop them an email.


 Submit your portfolio online and wait for their response. Don’t forget to include your name, weight, height, age, waist size, eye color, hair color, and finally, your contact information. The contact information must have your phone number, address, and email.


Networking is the Key to Everything

Try to attend recruiting events as much as you can to build strong connections.


Ensure that the events you are visiting include some of the top agencies.


Introduce yourself and talk to the agencies to know whether they are looking for new faces or not.


Networking is also a great idea to meet different plus-size models, who can help you to get gigs.


Make sure that you speak to the agencies professionally. Represent yourself politely and tell them about yourself.

plus size connections

Some of the famous plus-size models you should know about

Allegra Doherty

Allegra Doherty is one of the most famous plus-size models in the industry.

She is young and vibrant, and she appeared in a few mainstream advertising and fashion magazines.

Allegra has worked with US, Italian, and Chinese versions of Vogues, and she has even appeared in Mode and Italian GQ as well.

The lady has worked with some of the top brands, such as Lane Bryant, Tommy Hilfiger, and with different notable designers.

She rose to fame in the mid-2000s.

Allegra Doherty
Angellika Morton

Angellika Morton

Angellika Morton initially started her career as a straight-sized model but turned into a plus-size model in the year 1997.

Angellika is the first model who appeared in the International Model Hall of Fame in 1999.

Since then, the lady has appeared in different magazine covers and has walked many ramps for various fashion shows.

Ashley Graham

The next model is Ashley Graham. She is yet another famous plus-size model, and this lady is very outspoken and friendly.

Her candid nature has made her a paparazzi favorite. She even appeared on The Tonight Show and talked about her fashion career.

Ashley Graham
Candice Huffine

Candice Huffine

Candice became very famous after her appearance for Vogue Italia’s cover in 2011.

The model has worked with some well-known photographers and was featured in a few top-end fashion magazines.

Natalie Laughlin

We can’t ignore Natalie Laughlin. She was the first curvy model who appeared on the advertisement billboard, that too in New York’s Times Square.

Natalie Laughlin appeared on it four times! She also was on the cover page of Glamour magazine in the US.

Natalie Laughlin
Rosie Mercado

Rosie Mercado

If you are thinking about entering beauty pageants, take some inspiration from Rosie Mercado. The plus-size model claimed many titles.

Some of the titles include Miss Plus America Cover Girls, Miss Nevada Plus America, and more. ​

She also received awards from People’s Choice for her stunning performances in some of the TV and reality shows.

Tess Holiday

Finally, we have Tess Holiday. The plus-size model is eye candy of every big agency.

Her Instagram account is loaded with positive body images, and she is one of the ruling plus-size models of the world.

Tess is among the few most substantial models to be signed by a top modelling agency.

Tess Holiday

Famous plus size lingerie models that you should be checking out

When it comes to plus size lingerie models, one name truly stands out, and that is Ashley Graham. It is said that she is arguably the best and has the caliber to become the supermodel in the plus-size modelling industry.

She is one of the favorites of Lane Bryant’s lingerie lines. The model has walked the ramp and performed a lot for Lane Bryant     .

The second name is Crystal Renn, a plus-size lingerie model who confidently poses for the camera wearing beautiful lingerie sets. The model started her career when she was a teenager. Crystal was of standard size, but she became a plus-size model later on because of her eating disorder.    

However, none of the plus-size models has walked the ramp for Victoria’s Secret, but we are still hopeful.

Who should you be following in 2020?

Many plus-size models are pure inspiration for other girls and the ones who are interested in becoming curvy models. Along with the notable model names that we have mentioned above, there are a few more who have earned both name and fame, and we think they deserve your attention too.

You can follow Iskra Lawrence on Instagram. She has a massive fan base, and she runs her brand. The next model is Jade Sezer, who ran the London Marathon in the year 2018 in her underwear.

The motive behind wearing her underwear was straightforward; she wanted to prove that even heavier ladies like her can be fit for this.

Apart from these two, do follow Stephanie Yeboah, Sonny Turner, Saffi Karina, Hayley Hasselhoff, and Diana Veras. All of these ladies keep posting inspirational and body positive images to let women know that no matter what size they are off, they are beautiful.

Parting words

That's all! Our simple go-to-guide is for all those ladies who are planning to become a plus-size model. Be confident about yourself and remember there are many inspiring ladies out there who are proving themselves that anything can happen. Work hard on yourself.

Look good. Have healthy skin, hair, teeth, and nails, look professional, and natural in all your photos, and give your best shot. Research about the agencies with whom you are going to indulge. It is better to select leading agencies that are legit. 

You can become a plus-size model because you are worth it.

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