Plus size models are the new breed of models that are giving the curvier and more voluptuous women a representation in the fashion industry. Long gone are the days such as those when top model Kate Moss launched the trend of the waif-like body in the business. Today, a new wave of plus size models are changing the game and they are giving top models like Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum and Miranda Kerr a run for their own money.
Since the success of Em, the first ever plus size model to grace the fashion industry, several plus size models are now establishing a reputation as among the modeling industry’s biggest names in the plus size community.
Meet the top six plus size models, who represent the curvier women in the modeling business below:
1.) Robyn Lawley
US Size 12 – UK Size 16
Australian beauty Robyn Lawley is considered as one of the most famous plus size models in the world.
She started modeling at the age of 17, surprisingly as a straight model. Unable to maintain the super slim figure required of her, she eventually signed up as a plus size model at the age of 18 with Bella Model Management.
Her career hit an all time high when she landed on the cover of Vogue Italia in 2011 together with fellow plus size models Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine. She then made history after being featured as one of the first plus size models in history to be in a Sports Illustrated campaign.
She was joined by fellow plus size model Ashley Graham in their Swimsuits for All campaign. Since her success with the campaign, she has posed for a series of high profile fashion magazines like Fashion Voluptuese, Elle magazine, GQ Australia, Dazed and Confused and Vanity Fair Italy.
She also appeared in campaigns for top fashion brands like Evans, H&M, Panache and Ralph Lauren. Aside from being a model, she is also a food enthusiast and has even published her own cook book titled, Robyn Lawley Eats. This plus size model is also recognized for being outspoken about positive body image and has contributed articles for The Daily Beast about self esteem.
2.) Ashley Graham
US Size 14 – UK Size 18
Nebraska native Ashley Graham made 2014 her year after making headlines with fellow plus size model Robyn Lawley following their campaign on the Sports Illustrated magazine. Some of her notable campaigns include being the face of plus size British clothing line Evans and gracing the covers of high fashion magazines like Elle, Love and Teen Vogue. She also recently modeled for the famous plus size brand, navabi.
Aside from being a model, Graham is also an accomplished designer and has launched her own 19-piece lingerie line that caters to plus size women with sizes ranging from 36 DD to 44E. This positive body activist also travels around the country to meet young women in high schools and gives them empowering talks about the importance of positive body image.
3.) Candice Huffine
US Size 14 – UK Size 18
Here’s another game changer in the plus size industry, who has been featured in the 2015 Pirelli Calendar.
Candice Huffine’s modeling career started back in the year 2000, but it was only in 2010 that her career took off on an international scale after being asked to model for V magazine’s plus size issue. It was later followed by a string of successful appearances on the covers of Vogue Italia, i-D, Harper’s Bazaar and even Vogue. She has also appeared in campaigns for brands like Forever 21 and Simply Be.
Huffine has also gained the recognition for dispelling myths about plus size models and the plus size modeling industry. She revealed that curvier models are some of the healthiest people in the planet. A fact she revealed during an interview with NY magazine.
She was quoted saying:
“The plus girls in this industry are some of the healthiest people I’ve ever met in my life. It’s not like we’re having parties at McDonald’s. The girls I know, they’re all doing yoga, run three miles a day, and they eat healthy, balanced meals.”
4.) Whitney Thompson
This 27-year-old native from Florida gained the attention of the world, after winning the reality show America’s Next Top Model during its 10th season. Since then, she has been featured in campaigns for fashion brands like CoverGirl Cosmetics, Saks Fifth Avenue, Converse One Star, Fashion Bug and Panache.
Like her other fellow plus size models, Thompson is also a powerful advocate of the positive body image movement. She is also an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association in the United States of America. Her public persona as a role model has given her a nomination by MSN Lifestyle as one of the most Influential Women of 2008. In 2009, she launched her own jewelry collection, which she named Supermodel.
This food lover recently opened a restaurant with her husband Ian in Springfield, Illinois. Despite receiving hate emails that ‘encourage’ her to slim down, Thompson was unfazed saying:
“If I want a steak and chips, I am going to eat it and when I feel like going on a run, I will. But I’m never going to force myself to do that. Life is too short; I could walk outside and get hit by a bus so I may as well eat what I want to eat.”
5.) Toccara Jones
Aside from being a model, Toccara Jones is also an actress, a singer and a TV presenter.
Jones first came into the spotlight as alum of the hit realty show America’s Next Top Model. Following her stint from the reality show, Jones was featured in several magazines such as Vogue Italia, Be, Braids magazine, Plus Model Magazine and Ebony.
She was also in numerous ad campaigns for brands like Avon, New York and Company, Alice and Olivia and Rocawear. This versatile plus size personality even launched her own lingerie line called City Chic. Jones also released a workout DVD titled, “Toccara’s Fabulous Work-Out for Real Size Women”.
Unlike most prominent personalities, Jones is not so keen on people using the term plus size stating:
“We’re special. We represent the average sized American woman – we are beautiful, bold and more. It’s a good thing. I don’t see anything negative.”
6.) Tess Munster a.k.a. Tess Holliday
US Size 18 – UK Size 22
Despite having a rather rough childhood due to her weight, Tess Munster or Tess Holliday has proved her detractors and bullies wrong.
Her big break came after being featured in the A&E documentary series Heavy, after being discovered in 2011. Following her big break, this native from Mississippi has been modeling for brands like Benefit cosmetics, SWAK, Domino Dollhouse, Black Cat Bikinis and Jessica Louise Clothing.
Back in 2013, Holliday was named as one of the top six plus size models in the world by Vogue Italia. This ‘body positive activist’ is also the founder of the social media movement #effyourbeautystandards, which she founded also in the same year. Like Ashley Graham, she also tours the country to talk about body confidence.
Holliday recently made headlines after signing up with Milk Model Management for their plus size arm, Curves. The company said they discovered Holliday through her Instagram account. Following the signing, Holliday had this to say about her success:
“I feel like it’s breaking ground. This is a milestone. I never could have imagined that I could be here.”
Despite their curvier and more voluptuous bodies, these women have truly proven that size does not matter for one to be called beautiful and sexy.