What Is a Plus-size Model? Everything You Need to Know About It in 2022
What is a Plus Size Model?
Have you learned about the term “plus size model”? Just imagine what do models like Denise Bidot, Iskra Lawrence, Candice Huffine, and Diana Sirokai have in common?
Absolutely, the fact that each of them is a plus size model.
Recent trends in modeling have revealed the growing need for a plus-size model or a curvy model. Thus, the plus-size industry has become one of the fastest-growing sections of the modeling industry. But what exactly is a plus size model? Let’s find out!
A plus size model is an individual who has a large, curvy body characterized by a thick booty, a voluptuous chest area, and a generally broad bodily framework. Its association with plus size clothing often characterizes a curvy model, or in simpler words, they are responsible for marketing plus-size clothing.
While this is a generic way of describing a plus size model, specific weight, height, and size requirements help one qualify as a curvy model. Let’s discuss these in detail.
Plus Size Models – Everything You Should Know
Table of Content
With the recent uproar of body inclusivity and self-love, plus size modeling, also known as BBW modeling, has moved from being uniquely popular to being exceptionally mainstream. Gone are the days when models needed to be size-zero, pencil-thin, and visibly underweight. So are the ones when ‘long, thin and beautiful’ were used to describe a high-rated model. Skinny models are out, and fat models are in!
Plus Size Models Requirements
Particular bodily dimensions determine whether an individual is a BBW model or not. Here are a few.
1. What size is plus size in modelling?
By rule, a plus size model is size 12 and above in the modeling industry. Designers and brands in the non-modeling world are relatively more generous and allow women and men of size 16 and above to be considered curvy models. A plus size model typically weighs between 160 to 205 pounds when it comes to weight. Height specifications are also necessary in the world of BBW modeling. However, they vary from one type of model to another. In a BBW model agency, fashion models are usually 5’9 to 6′, while business models are relatively a few inches taller.
2. What weight is a plus size model?
A curvy model has more weight than an average model. As discussed in the previous section, fat models mostly weigh between 160 and 205 pounds. On the contrary, an average model weighs around 115 pounds to 135 pounds. It is pretty clear that the weight range for a BBW model is 40 pounds large while that for an average size model is only 30 pounds wide. However, the weight alone is not a good measure for BBW modeling. The combination of size, weight, and height determines whether a model is ‘thicc’ or not.
Plus Size Models Agencies
Decades ago, ‘slim’ was the most sought-after size- by both models and model agencies alike. However, as both men and women continue to embrace and respect their bigger body sizes, model agencies are inclined to do so. The rationale behind this shift is that it makes models more relatable to the public, where ordinary people come in various shapes and sizes. It also destigmatizes that you need to have a specific waistline and a certain measure to be considered attractive.
1. What do plus size modeling agencies look for?
To begin with, a BBW modeling agency looks for an individual that fits the size requirements of a plus size model, which has been discussed in detail in the previous section. BBW modeling is multiplying, and more and more agencies are bringing BBW models under their wing.
While you can always share your portfolio website link with modeling agencies to get signed up, many of them have dedicated ‘Be a Model’ pages set up where you can submit portfolio images and measurements.
2. Top 5 Plus size Modeling Agencies
Luckily enough, finding an excellent modeling agency that accepts models of different shapes and sizes is not that hard anymore. So here are the top 5 picks for plus size modeling agencies you should sign up for now.
Ford Models Agency is unbeatable when it comes to plus size fashion modeling. Headquartered in New York, they are one of the leading fashion and modeling agencies globally, with one of the largest plus-size model divisions, known as the Ford+ division.
Ford+ division has teamed up with big names in the industry like Vogue and Paris Fashion Week. The agency has successfully launched the careers of some of the most famous plus size models like Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham, and Crystal Renn. Open calls are currently only being held in the Chicago office. Additionally, applicants from other states and parts of the world can submit an online application.
Since its establishment in 2005, Dorothy Combs Models has been the pioneer of plus size modeling. Located in Miami, Florida, they have over 16 years of experience launching and representing curvy and fat models. They mostly scout for models size ten and above and have a height of 5’9 and above. One of the leading talents at Dorothy Combs Models and one of their most significant accomplishments is Kelsey Olson. The agency currently represents approximately 95 plus-size models.
Established in 1967, Wilhelmina Models is one of the oldest modeling agencies with locations in New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and London and tons of experienced exposure to the fashion world. As a BBW modeling agency, one of the best things about Wilhelmina Models is that it is separate divisions for plus size female models and size male models. The division for the former is known as Wilhelmina Curve, or W Curve, while the division for the latter is known as Wilhelmina Titans. Wilhelmina has extended its services to leading fashion editorials like American and French Vogue and campaigns of fashion brands like Cover Girl. Wilhelmina’s plus-size models, like Marina Rinaldi and Lane Bryant, have been spotted on the runways of Milan and New York.
IMG Models has emerged as one of the most globally expansive modeling agencies since it was established in 2013. It currently has offices and representation in Los Angeles, New York, Milan, and London. Some of the most successful names like Kate Moss, Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid, and the infamous curvy model Ashley Graham have been represented by IMG Models. One of the unique features of the agency is that it offers mentorship programs to new plus size models that have recently joined the industry and are unfamiliar with the ropes. They are given guidance and practical tips from more experienced plus size models that have been around for a while. To join the agency, applicants must apply from the submissions page on the agency’s website.
Are you a BBW model who has an athletic spirit? If yes, then Curve Model Management is just the right plus size model agency for you! Founded in 2011, Curve Model Management is based in Germany and is a relatively young modeling agency in Europe. They, however, do operate internationally, including in the United States. Whether you are a male plus-size model or a female curvy model, Curve Model Management has a spot for everyone. They have a separate plus-size sports division, called the Plus-Size Sports Board, for any plus-size model obsessed with wellness and exercise.
Plus Size Models Jobs
This section will deal with financials, talking about the average salary of a plus size model and how to land the perfect job as one.
1. How much does a plus size model get paid?
The average annual salary of a plus size model in the United States is $35,429. Plus size models in San Francisco make the highest salaries, averaging $53,085. However, the range of wages for a curvy model in the United States is quite broad, extending from $10,060 to $181,237. A few handfuls of models have had distinctively successful careers and are currently rolling in millions! Of these, the top 5 are:
Ashley Graham: $5.5 to $10 million
Hunter McGrady: $6 million
Crystal Renn: $6 million
Tess Holliday: $3 million
Iskra Lawrence: $2 million
2. How do you get a job as a plus size model?
Whether it is a plus size Victoria Secret model or a curvy model featuring in an H&M magazine, landing a great modeling job is never a piece of cake. What’s even more challenging is learning how to become a BBW model.
To begin with, you must understand the body requirements of a plus size model and determine whether your physical profile fits those requirements. Sometimes the body requirements vary between different brands and agencies, so make sure you know the needs of each company that you are applying to.
The next step is to train yourself as a BBW model. One of the easiest ways is to follow other popular plus size models. Study their strategies, learn from their experience, and get inspired by their struggle. If you focus on fashion modeling, it’s always a great idea to understand the fashion style of different plus-size models, get inspired, and put your unique spin on it. Now that you have done your homework, it is time to look for a size-friendly model agency.
Body positivity and inclusivity are all the rage today. However, tons of mainstream modeling agencies are still mind-numbingly old-school and prefer men and women who are tall thin, and beautiful. Therefore, finding the right plus size-friendly modeling agencies is a crucial task. It would be best to look for agencies with separate dedicated units for plus size models. This article shortlisted 5 top-of-the-line, plus size modeling agencies to help you start as a curvy model. However, there are tons of other agencies out there, and you should do your research before sending in your application.
Applications for different agencies have different requirements. Most can be sent on an agency’s website, while some agencies also make direct casting calls. Some agencies ask for photos (including headshots, waist-up images, and full-body images), while others prefer an introductory video. A great way to apply is through a comp card or by sharing one’s online portfolio website.
Plus Size Models Photos
Are you a plus size model looking for some much-needed inspiration? From plus size Victoria Secret models to plus size digital influencers, here is our list of the top 10 plus size models.
Top 10 Plus Size Models
Ashley Graham (@ashleygraham)
Ashley Graham is both the most popular and the highest-paid plus size model. She began her modeling career at 12, making appearances in teen magazines, small-sized fashion brands, and ad campaigns for mass-market retailers. Today, as the first size 16 model to feature on a magazine cover, as the pioneer of several fashion lines for brands like Addition Elle, Dressbarn, and Swimsuits for All, and as a model for fashion powerhouses like Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Fendi, Revlon, etc., Ashley Graham is a force to be reckoned with!
- Instagram Followers: 17.6 million
- Height: 5’9
- Weight: 200 pounds
- Age: 34 years
Iskra Lawrence (@iskra)
Iskra Lawrence is a British model who made her career debut in 2016 with the label, Chromat and then went on to work for fashion labels like American Eagle Outfitters and Marina Rinaldi. Besides commercial modeling, she pursued her body positivity aspirations through other ventures. For instance, Iskra Lawrence is the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and founded the NEDA Inspires Award. Her unhesitant promotion of self-love and embracing all body forms has allowed her to amass a large fan following.
- Instagram Followers: 4.9 million
- Height: 5’9
- Weight: 195 lbs
- Age: 31 years
Tess Holliday (@tessholliday)
Previously known as Tess Hunter, Tess Holliday spent most of her early modeling career being rejected by brands and modeling agencies. However, she quickly gained fame when she became the first-ever size 22 model to be signed by a modeling agency in 2014. To date, Tess Holiday is the largest model who actively and quite enthusiastically promotes body inclusivity on social media channels. She has been featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan UK and worked commercially for brands like H&M, Chromat, Marie Claire and Vogue Italia, etc.
- Instagram Followers: 2.4 million
- Height: 5’6
- Weight: 279 lbs
- Age: 36 years
Diana Sirokai (@dianasirokai)
Born in Hungary, Diana Sirokai is both a plus size model and designer. She rapidly gained popularity on social media as a fashion content creator, stylist, and influencer. Furthermore, the young model has managed to bag some majoraaaA modeling jobs for brands like Pretty Little Things, Nova Curve, Target, Asos, and several others. Diana Sirokai is particularly popular for her recreations of Kim Kardashian’s photoshoots on social media.
- Instagram Followers: 1.2 million
- Height: 5’1
- Weight: 212 lbs
- Age: 26 years
Denise Bidot (@denisebidot)
Born and raised in Miami, Denise Bidot broke records. She gained international fame when she simultaneously modeled for two straight-size brands, Chromat and Serena Williams’ HSN fashion line, at New York Fashion Week in 2015. Besides fashion modeling Denise Bidot has made several media appearances, for example, in the documentaries Straight/Curve and Curvy Girls and HBO’s Latino series Habla: Women. Many of her admirers also recognize her from commercial campaigns for brands like Forever21, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, Levi’s, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty, etc.
- Instagram Followers: 752k
- Height: 5’11
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Age: 35 years
Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady)
Hunter McGrady is yet again one of the highest-earning plus size models in the fashion industry. Although she began her career as a straight-size model, she soon abandoned those unrealistic beauty standards and embraced her proper body form. This move only meant more success for Hunter McGrady as she became the first, largest model to appear in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Besides that, she has also been featured in The Knot and Health magazine. Hunter also has her clothing line, by the name of All Worthy, that sells body-inclusive clothes.
- Instagram Followers: 709k
- Height: 5’11
- Weight: 238 lbs
- Age: 28 years
Paloma Elsesser (@palomija)
Born and raised in Britain, Paloma Elsesser plummeted to fame when she became the first plus size woman to represent a beauty line by the infamous Pat McGrath. Her next major milestone in body inclusivity came when she became a plus size Victoria Secret model and compelled the brand to increase its sizing to 5XL. Today she has walked the runway for designers like Alexander McQueen, Fendi, and Salvatore Ferragamo and represented brands like Coach, Nike, Glossier, etc. Besides, she has been featured on the glossy covers of magazines like Vogue Mexico, Vogue Spain, Vogue Paris, Porter, and Muse Magazine.
- Instagram Followers: 503k
- Height: 5’7
- Weight: 154 lbs
- Age: 30 years
Candice Huffine (@candicehuffine)
Candice Huffine started her modeling career in the early 2000s when plus size was an unimaginable myth in the modeling world. However, she worked hard and rose through the ranks to be featured in magazines like Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and Gracia and walk the ramps of high-end brands like Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano. Candice Huffine is obsessed with fitness which led to her launching a size-inclusive, sustainable, activewear brand Day/Won. Candice was also the first plus size woman to make it to the Pirelli Calendar.
- Instagram Followers: 269k
- Height: 5’11
- Weight: 203 lbs
- Age: 37 years
Ali-Tate Cutler (@ali_tate_cutler)
Last but not least, Ali-Tate Cutler achieved one of the most prominent accomplishments in the history of the fashion industry by being the first plus size Victoria Secret model. At that time, she was size 14 and made the face of the campaign, which was a collaboration between Victoria Secret and Bluebella. Since then, Ali-Tate Cutler has gained meteoric fame as a fashion model and an aspiring actress. She has founded the podcast The Love You Give to talk about issues like mental health, environmental sustainability, and body positivity.
- Instagram Followers: 253k
- Height: 5’10
- Weight: 143.5 lbs
- Age: 32 years
Crystal Renn (@crystalball1111)
Crystal Renn began her modeling career as a straight-size model. However, she left her true mark of perfection in the fashion industry when she came back as a plus size model and featured in campaigns for bigshots like Zac Posen, Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Philip Plein, and tons of others. Crystal Renn is truly multitalented- besides modeling, she has pursued her ambitions in photography by running a Chanel Show, becoming an author with her best-selling autobiography Hungry, and embracing her acting skills with her role in the sort film Apollo Rising.
- Instagram Followers: 22.3k
- Height: 5’9
- Weight: 143 lbs
- Age: 35 years
How to become a plus size model?
From understanding the requirements of a BBW model to embrace the plus size lifestyle and getting inspired by other curvy models- becoming a successful plus-size model is a long but rewarding experience. Here are 5 steps that you must take to become one.
5 steps to become a plus size model
Take Care of your Body
The physical appearance of a BBW model is as significant as that of any other model. Once you have completely understood the physical requirements of a BBW model, it’s time to take care of your physical health. Here are some ways to do it: eat a well-balanced diet, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and keep your hair trimmed and your skin moisturized.
Create a Portfolio
A model’s portfolio is her first impression and holds immense importance to agencies and modeling scouts. Firstly, make sure you fill your portfolio with different shots, including full-length, mid-length, and headshots. Then, when it comes to beauty, keep it natural and straightforward—minimal makeup, clothes that highlight your best features, and accessories that complement your hair and skin color. Most importantly, do not waste hundreds and thousands of dollars hiring a professional photographer to do the job.
Follow Plus Size Models
An essential stop on the road to becoming a plus size model is following and getting inspired by other plus size models. You can learn so many things from them. For example their daily routines, success stories, what inspired them, lessons from their failures, and professional tips on making it in the world of BBW modeling.
Seek Professional Advice
Besides tips and tricks garnered from following plus size models, it is crucial to seek guidance from professional experts. This, however, does not imply that you need to waste tons of dollars on a modeling school. It would be best to get in touch with model scouts and agencies to get a professional evaluation.
Build a Network
To succeed as a BBW model, it is vital to meet new people and master networking. You can always begin by sending your portfolio to modeling agencies and filling out hiring applications. Next, you can take it up a notch by going to a maximum number of open castings. Finally, make sure you are honest about your body measurements, accomplishments, and experience. Lastly, make sure that you attend modeling events and fashion shows and meet up with more models, stylists, designers, photographers, etc. The more, the merrier!
Who is the most beautiful plus size model?
We have talked about the top 10 plus size models in the world, and while they are all equally stunning, talented, and ambitious, there is one that stands out: Ashley Graham. Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, she is also the most popular and successful of the top plus-size models in the modeling industry. She is the highest-paid plus-size model, earning $5.5 to $10 million annually. Her gorgeous body, equally graceful yet quirky personality, and emotional expression of self-love have made her, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful plus-size models out there.
Who is the largest plus size model?
The largest professional model is Tess Holiday, previously known as Tess Munster. While most plus size models fall in size 12 to size 16, Tess is a size 22 and is five feet, five inches tall. And she is based in Los Angeles, but rapidly, her popularity has grown globally. As discussed in the top 10 plus-size models section, Tess Holiday has been featured in Cosmopolitan UK, Marie Clarie, Vogue Italia, and many other prominent brand campaigns and magazines. Besides, she has often used social media channels to promote body positivity and self-acceptance.