For some reason I'm noticing that many aspiring models that want to be plus size feel they can do so simply because they are larger in size and measurements. And that bothers me because it's a notion that isn't accurate. While I have posted about this topic a couple of times throughout my blog I think it will be helpful to do an updated post to discuss why there is more to plus size modeling than simply being "bigger."
In order to be taken seriously as a plus size model, you'll want agency representation. While not all modeling agencies have a plus size division, there are a good number that do so trying to break into this field of modeling isn't impossible but it is important to realize the reality of what the requirements are and if you really do fulfill them. I think it's easy for a larger woman to think she can be a plus size model because she wears plus size clothing. But it's more than that. So much more.
Put it this way: plus size models are required to meet a lot of the same requirements as regular fashion models except the measurements and sizes are significantly larger. It's common knowledge that plus size models are required to be larger than your average size 0 or size 2 fashion/runway model. But it doesn't end there. If you are a pleasantly plump woman and think you can make it as a plus size model in the industry you're going to have to be able to answer "yes" to ALL of the following questions:
1) Are you 5'8" or taller?
2) Are you between the sizes 10-18?
3) Do you have strong features and good bone structure (high cheekbones for example)?
4) Are your bust, waist, and hip measurements within at least 10 inches of each other (for example: 42-32-42)?
4) Do you have good skin, great hair, a great smile, and a toned body, which includes nicely shaped legs and good arms?
If you answered "no" to any or all of these questions, then pursuing plus size modeling (through an agency) is going to be extremely difficult. Freelance is always an option but if you want to really get into the industry and have an agency behind you, then you'll have to fulfill these requirements. Sadly there is no room or demand for shorter, plus size models. Plus size models are required to still have a high fashion or great commercial look, as well as maintain a proportional figure. While they may be larger than the average model, plus size models are still required to be healthy and have a lot of pressure put on them to maintain their size. Look up plus size models online. You'll see that many of them have great legs, a very attractive face, and definite curves defining their bust, waist, and hips (look at the first image associated with this post for example. The model on the right of the Plus Model Magazine cover is definitely a plus size gal but she's got a great figure--a good bust, defined waist, and full hips). Of course there are many plus size models that don't fall within the requirements I'm referring to but I'm strictly talking about industry standards here. This is what the industry wants and it's a mold you'll have to fit into. If you don't or are way off base of what the requirements are seeking, then you can expect to face some challenges in starting a plus size career through an agency. But don't give up. Try freelance modeling and see what doors that may open for you.
Here are some links that all those interested in plus size modeling should check out:
My point in making this post is to provide a constructive reality check. I do my best to not sugar coat anything and I never feel good about telling someone that I don't believe they have the right look or the requirements to pursue professional modeling--but I also don't like seeing people pursue something that I know may not be for them. And that's how I feel many young ladies go about plus size modeling. Being big can be beautiful and I look up to many plus size models--I think they are some of the most stunningly beautiful women alive--BUT I don't want aspiring plus size models to think that just because they don't fit into a size 2 or 4 that it automatically puts them into the plus size modeling division. It takes more than a larger dress size to get into this part of the industry and the sooner people realize that, the better it will be for them in the long run. We all have dreams but as we all know the modeling industry doesn't have room to make all of them come true. Harsh as it is, it's a reality that can't be denied.