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Can a Plus Size Girl Be Fashion Model?

March 18th, 2008 · 15 Comments ·
 
 

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When we mention fashion model, most people will automatically think about models who have slim bodies. Switch on your TV, most advertisements show only models with hourglass figure. Seldom also we see magazines featuring model with normal body shapes we see on the street – from skinny to overweight.

In fact, thin models are notorious for anorexia. But, before we point fingers at cat walking model for advocating ultra thin bodies, let’s understand what is a model’s job function. Models are supposed to wear sample clothings and these clothes are made by designers. So, most of these clothes are only in one size, which is normally small size to reduce the costing. Once those samples are selected for mass productions, they will be made to end users’ size, which can be even smaller but normally bigger. So, if we must get to the root cause of the issue, we have to tell the designers to make these samples clothes in medium size, instead of the unusual small size. Also, in a fashion show, people should have paid attention to just the clothes and not the so called “human clothing hangers”. However, in real life, that is the other way around.

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Therefore, as much as I think the model agency should shoulder the responsibility in creating the unhealthy “models must be thin” perception, it is the public who has made that stereotypes common too. What I mean, demand and supply. If many can accept a fat woman wearing Guess or CK jeans appearing in the billboard, I am sure the advertising companies will engage more plus size models’ service. Of course, in a more ethical way and not trying to make fun of them like this Yogurt Advertisement.

Many think that plus size girl will never made it big as fashion model. However, this girl, Jen Hunter, has tried to challenged the common perception.

Make Me A Supermodel is a popular reality TV show in UK. Through the show in year 2006, 24 years old size-12 Jen Hunter became famous. She has a curvy size of 12 which is considered plus size in the modeling world. She is 5′ 11″ and 154 lbs with vital figures of 34, 27 and 38 and a pear shaped body. She has fat around her tummy and spot of cellulite. Her size makes her look clumsy on the catwalk. However, the UK TV viewers disagreed with what the judges thought. Though the competition was won by a male model eventually, Albert, she was voted as the people’s winner in the show, making her the most popular size-12 in Britain.

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Jen Hunter was then offered a 1-year contract. Cape London Model Management, which is a mainstream agency, helped her to secure work for mobile phone giant Nokia and cosmetics company Avon. However, a year later, she did not renew the contract with that model company. Why? She was not comfortable when she saw very few size-12 models in the line and the same old prejudice is still there to against plus size model.

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Jen Hunter in a photo shootout

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Jen Hunter in bikini

She then joined Excel Models which focuses in larger-sized women despite her being below average size. The average size of the UK woman is between 14 to 16 and Jen Hunter is only size-12. So, what is the average model’s size?

Size 6 to 8.

I salute Jen Hunter’s determination. She let the world knows that plus size is fine, even as a model. What we need is a radical shake-up in the fashion industry. Right from the designer, model agency, clothing company to the public, everyone needs to change the mindset. I rather see a normal size and healthy model doing catwalk than someone with protruding hip bones or skeleton doing the show.

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What say you?

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15 responses so far ↓
  • Reena // Mar 18, 2008 at 1:01 AM

    If you talk about modeling industry, my answer is NO.

  • GymRat // Mar 18, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    Hi Mun, thanks for this article. Agreed with you, I rather see a healthy model on the catwalk than a walking skeleton. I can watch horror movies if I want to see that … lol … Beautiful is not about being thin with bones sticking out .. To me, even a plus size woman can be beautiful. You just need to know how to bring out the best in you… =)

  • eksk // Mar 18, 2008 at 4:42 PM

    Dear Reena , why do you say no?

    If the clothes are for ordinary person who are plus size anyway, shouldn’t you employ a plus size to model the clothes so that it looks more natural?

  • sylvesteR // Mar 19, 2008 at 12:42 AM

    Who said plus size cant be beautiful? Who said plus size can’t go for modelling? It depends on how people see things and in today’s world, it’s more to stereotyping. Peoples’ mind are set to a stage that only people with nice bodyshape can go for modelling. But the real fact is, anyone can go for modelling, after all, they are going to promote items not the person itself.

  • Mike // Mar 19, 2008 at 4:52 PM

    Personall i don’t get why normal sized women are refered to as plus sized, surely the skinny wretches should be classed as minus sized
    I just don’t understand how people that… boney can think they look good… and that’s guys as well as girls…

  • trey // Mar 19, 2008 at 10:46 PM

    from my point of view, i would love to see models (doesnt matter runway models or normal ad models) to be of “average” stature. Not too skinny and definately not too plump (for lack of kinder words).

    ofcourse there might be some exceptions where you would need a skinny or plump model for certain ads.. but in general, i would love to look at healthy looking models on the billboards or on tv.

  • ria // Jul 10, 2008 at 7:34 PM

    Skinny models are ok in my book, but not as skinny as the one in the pic you posted wearing the orange dress. That kind of skinny is hideous.

  • Aliyah // Sep 6, 2008 at 7:13 AM

    Iam a plus model myself it very hard for me and other girl when we go to casting. U have girl their wit their bones poking out of their bodies and the director is licking their lips at them. I know I’m cute and my size 14 body is nice but sometimes its real hard when u get rejected for the parking meter on the other side of the room.But were are needed for all the women that are not thin but plumed

  • M // Nov 8, 2008 at 11:24 PM

    This is my take on female models….dress size shouldn’t be the issue! It’s the stupidest way to judge beauty. If a woman is beautiful, she is beautiful. Period. It doesn’t matter if she is 6 feet tall and a size 14 or if she is 5 feet tall and a size 0. And, I believe that a woman should be a vision of health in order to be beautiful. It has been proven through time that health is part of what drives attraction….why wouldn’t designers want that in their models to help drive sales? Spend a little extra on fabric and gain extra in sales!

  • Lolo // Feb 1, 2009 at 4:38 AM

    i think models are supposed to be too skinny to help clothiers save more cloth…isn’t it funny ?!
    i really feel sad when i watch a fashion show on TV..because i see beautiful girls starving to show up in expensive clothes, i don’t even think that is an enjoyable job..
    so i prefer the girls with shiny looks to girls who are more likely to suffer from a deadly starvation.
    by the way, do not think that i’m fat and jealous,i just want all girls to be satisfied with their beautiful normal bodies :-)

  • Katelyn Stewart // Feb 14, 2009 at 5:25 AM

    Out of curiosity what constitues a “normal” sized girl anyway? With all this size talk I kinda wonder where I fall. I’m 5′ 4″ and weigh about 124 pounds. Where would I fall on this spectrum? I know I’m not a model- not built like one at ALL, but I just wonder what we concider to be “normal” and “model”. I would have to say that I agree with a majority of the posts, saying that any size woman can be beautiful, but that a woman should try to take care of herself- keep herself healthy no matter the size.

  • aj // Sep 25, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    i totaly agree wit Aliyah and M. Who cares about your dress size and why should they? i mean this probably sounds stupid coming from a high schooler but i’m about 5’4″, weigh around 130 lbs, and am proud to admit that i am a size 13. Does this automaticaly make me plus size? acorrding to the modeling standards it does. i’m happy with my self, and i don’t really care about what the anyone else or the media for that matter says about me. i like my size and i’m keeping it that way.

  • aj // Sep 28, 2009 at 6:39 AM

    ok, so my best friend is very worried about her weight. She’s a size 5, but she likes my clothes/ jeans which are 13s. i mean she wears a belt but now people are calling her a liar when she says she’s a 5. she still wants to wear my clothes/ jeans but she doesn’t want people to call her a liar or “fat”. when she says this it sort of makes my feel like i’m “fat”. i know i’m not “fat” but, how do i get her to stop listening and careing about what other people say and what the media says about what size she should be?

  • Amanda H. // May 3, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    I am only sixteen years old, I have been asked to model quite a few times but but I will not let myself be like the models I see with eating disorders..It disgusts me and I feel good just the way I am, I dont need other people telling me otherwise..Why is that not good enough for everyone? Models should be all shapes and sizes, not ones that look like the hanger you hang the clothes that are to be modeled on..I am pretty thin myself but I would never want to be any thinner..And how do the people that work in the fashion industry live with themselves? They put so much pressure on their models to be thin. Do they realize how much physical and emotional pain comes for the models? Not to mention serious health conditions and sometimes even death. Enough is enough.
    It is time for a change, this needs to stop.

  • Venetia // Apr 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I am so glad there is a discussion on this. You don’t have to be ‘plus size’ to avoid anorexia. Models who have anorexia do not have the strength of character for the job. If they forfeit their health – and in my opinion their beauty: to meet the unrealistic demands of the agencies/and designers – if that is what it is. The models should be dictating; not the designers. And all of them agencies, designers etc should want to guard the health of the models who serve them. Isn’t there a governing body who protects good standards in the industry? There should be. It’s also about time that designers and agencies got a bit daring and broke the mould of conformity to ‘super slim’. It takes a fine keen eye to capture for the media true beauty – and that is not always super skinny. I love slim: but skinny – is evil. I would want to protect the girls and train them properly in health and good self image.

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