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Fat Models on the Fashion Runway

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From one size 14+ woman to aspiring plus-size models, "go for a modelling career" We need our own size clothing showcased on the runway too!

More plus-size models like the one in this picture may be considered 'overweight', but many like her, including larger and fat curvy women can aspire for a career in plus-size modelling.

More plus-size models like the one in this picture may be considered 'overweight', but many like her, including larger and fat curvy women can aspire for a career in plus-size modelling.

Now that more overweight girls can aspire for a career in plus-size modelling, these are certainly good times for fat female models.

Unlike the impressions we had in the past, being curvy and plus-size is now more of the norm when we talk about the average female silhouette. And because fashion designers and merchandisers now realise there is a larger market out there for plus-size women, they have identified with the need to showcase more fashion apparel styles for the average-sized woman.

Fashion is no more exclusively for the svelte skinny girls, contrary to popular belief, and the rise in demand for plus-size girls by modelling agencies has shown the ‘handwriting on the wall’ to the modelling industry.

But a career in plus-size modelling is not for the unadventurous and lily-livered. Despite being full-bodied or voluptuous, you be proud of your body (or parts of it like the face, legs, hips), and truly aspire to be a model. If you feel this way, plus-size modelling may be right for you.

If you are fat in a curvy way and will love to be a part of the industry, you will need a special drive and resilience to work hard. Have these qualities with added boldness and confidence, and of course, the right silhouette for an overweight girl, depending on the modelling niche you wish to work in, a good number of the top modelling agencies will sign you up.

In the plus size modelling world, you must learn to ignore criticism, avoid being pessimistic, avoid negative people, and ensure no pessimist gets to you.

Physical Requirements for Aspiring Fat Female Models

There are some basic requirements for plus-size modelling and it is not enough to just be fat or overweight. Plus-size models are generally expected to be:

  • Between 5'8" (1.72m) and 6' (1.82m) tall.
  • 5′9″ (1.75m) which is the minimum height requirement for larger markets. However, some plus-size modelling agencies will represent big girls who range between 5′7” and 5′8″ (1.7m and 1.72m).
  • Fit, shapely, appropriately sized, and in shape, especially for girls aspiring to model swimwear, lingerie, or fitness wear.
  • Wear any apparel size ranging from the minimum which is size 12 US (14 UK) to a size 18US (20UK). Occasionally, you will find agencies that need size 20US (22UK), fat female models.
  • Proportionate body-wise meaning having the right curves in the right places.
  • Devoid of flabby or loose skin.
  • Endowed with shapely legs. No stumpy legs if you want to have a career in modelling of any size.
  • Big-bodied but well-toned.

Additionally, a plus-size model must have flawless skin. a perfect bone structure, and a good gait. Having a great attitude and pleasant disposition will not hurt too.

These requirements are not much different from those required of other fashion models, but the only difference is that while fat models may have bigger busts, wider waists, bigger thighs, and wider hips, thinner models barely have much flesh in the areas mentioned.

Big and voluptuous girls also love to wear great fashion apparel that look good on them. The plus-size modelling industry knows this and are responding accordingly.

Big and voluptuous girls also love to wear great fashion apparel that look good on them. The plus-size modelling industry knows this and are responding accordingly.

How to Build a Portfolio

Before you start to contact or talk to modelling agencies in pursuit of your career as a plus-size model, here are a few tips to prepare you for when you are called in for your presentation.

  • Have a portfolio of photographs – full body, half-body, face shots, and face and shoulder shots. You need to show your natural endowments and beauty through a series of photos.
  • Your radiance must be obvious in all your photo collection.
  • There must be no photo touch-ups, staged photo shots, air-brushed pictures, or anything of such ‘staging’.
  • You must ensure you have high-quality shots of yourself in very flattering attires. If your portfolio of pictures is of top quality, you will stand a better chance with the agency’s panel.
  • If you feel your portfolio has poor-quality photographs it is better to arrive at the agency without photographs than to present substandard ones.

Do not attempt to take photos by yourself and of course, no selfies are allowed. Rather, find a professional photographer that is adept at photographing plus-size models, if you can.

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How to Find a Plus-Size Modelling Agency

Start by inquiring about plus size modelling agencies both in your locality, by word of mouth, or online. You can also attend plus-size modelling shows, check with other fat female models or fashion designers in the fashion industry for leads. The best way to get into the plus-size modelling industry is to find agencies that strictly represent full figured women.

If you have questions like wanting to know job opportunities open to fat models, or how to market your plus-size shape, you will find answers to such frequently asked questions online.

When you find a few modelling agencies you may like, call them up and book appointments to see them. Larger women or shorter ones may be required as plus-size models as well, so it is worth inquiring about this too when you call agencies.

A point to note is to never pay fees to apply or sign up with any modelling agency.

On the day of your audition, you must be composed and appear in comfortable but flattering semi-casual wear that looks good on you and the colour of whatever you wear should complement your skin tone.

  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes to a plus-size modelling audition
  • Do not wear skimpy attire
  • Try not to look unkempt or sloppy
  • You must be and look smart and sharp
  • Do not wear spike heels or stilettos
  • Consider wearing a pair of low heels to give yourself a little extra height without looking or being overtly obvious
  • Be cheerful and wear a beguiling smile
  • Walk smartly into the room with a straight posture

Further Reading:

My Life as a Plus Size Model - Jennie Runk

Fuller-figured English lingerie model represents 'beautiful, healthy, curvy girls'

Curvy Girls' Guide to Best Lingerie Picks (Infographics)

Career Plus-Size Modelling Job Opportunities

As a full-bodied plus-size model, you don’t have to work only in the fashion apparel industry. There are other modelling works that are unrelated to big-sized clothing, so, any fat model can work in any of the following industries:

  • Stock photography
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Swimwear, lingerie, and other intimate clothing
  • Household product manufacturers
  • Advertising
  • Costume
  • Beauty and cosmetics
  • Sunglass and eye-glass
  • Footwear
  • Wristwatch
  • Costume jewellery
  • Fashion accessories

Other job opportunities include working in ad campaigns, editorials for magazines, fashion runway, garment industry, including TV presentations and commercials. Full-bodied models are also sought by the media to stimulate debates on the development of self-esteem, and for those struggling with excessive eating disorders.

Now that you know that there are agencies out there looking for beautiful plus-size women to work as models, you should know that companies that focus on the market will also be constantly looking for new and fresh faces. Also, remember that many manufacturers in the fashion industry are also seeking plus-size models to showcase their fashion creations.

Though many of the top modelling agencies are in major cities and metropolitan areas and it is much easier to find work in a large city than in a rural or back-wood area, if being a plus-size model is really your dream career, be prepared to travel out of your home base if need be.

Fat female models can also work in the beauty and cosmetics industries to showcase jewelry,  hair, facial and body products

Fat female models can also work in the beauty and cosmetics industries to showcase jewelry, hair, facial and body products

Some of the exciting jobs plus-sized models can do.

Some of the exciting jobs plus-sized models can do.