The modeling industry has gotten a facelift over the years, and it is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, especially in the high fashion areas of the world.

As recently as the early 90s, you would only see models of a particular body type dominating the runway and fashion houses.

Still, nowadays, the fashion industry has become more aware of inclusivity, and plus-size models are thriving and booking jobs everywhere.

Plus-size modeling is becoming more mainstream and visible by the day, with many more plus-size models gaining ground and doing great things. The industry has never been this inclusive, so if you’re considering joining the industry, then this is the best time.

As the name implies, plus-size models are typically bigger and curvier than the regular model shape, and they represent a larger population of the standard woman.

Still, modeling is not easy for anyone, so there are many rules and requirements you have to meet to be considered. With the right direction, you could be fulfilling your dreams as a model in no time.

Fig 1: The world of plus-size models. Source: UK models

HOW TO BEGIN A CAREER AS A PLUS-SIZE MODEL

Modeling, in general, is a highly competitive market, but plus-size modeling is even more competitive because of the newness of this part of the industry.

Nevertheless, the industry is full of opportunities for people of every size, so you need to step up your game to break into the industry successfully. Plus-size models can work in virtually any part of the industry, and designers are always looking for a fresh new face.

The secret to a successful modeling debut in making a striking first impression on any modeling agencies or designers you meet with and having an impressive portfolio that showcases your features in the best light.

You also need to make good connections within the industry and find the agencies that suit you best. The following tips will help you start a career as a plus-size model.

1. Get appraised by experienced experts

Before you go about applying to modeling agencies everywhere, you need to get a professional analysis of your potential as a model. What modeling agency will you fit into successfully? Do you have the right requirements for modeling? What types of modeling bests suit you? These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself and also some experts.

Your best bet at getting your questions answered is by meeting up with a few agents that scout for new talent. You can contact a few of them in any modeling type you’re interested in.

Agents usually have specific modeling types that they work with, but you may find some that dabble in different types of modeling.

When you first start looking for representation, you don’t need to be too specific about the type of agents you meet. At that stage, you need as much publicity as you can get, so you should meet as many scouts and agents as possible.

Don’t get too discouraged by rejection – they will help to build your fortitude and help you to develop a thicker skin. And if you don’t get signed at first, don’t worry. You will find better representation.

2. Exposure, exposure, exposure!

Exposure is the key to getting your name and face in everyone’s mind, especially when you’re trying to break into the industry in the beginning.

The more agents, scouts, and brands that get familiar with you, the better your chances of becoming popular and getting good modeling gigs.

The industry is a popularity contest, so you need to get your image across to as many people as possible.

You can get some exposure by sending out emails to different modeling agencies, but this is not a foolproof plan because emails are easily missed.

If you have a connection inside the agency, you can send it to them directly, and they can help you distribute the pictures around to the people that you want to see them.

Fig 2: Difference between models and regular women. Source: Broadview

Another way to get your pictures into some modeling agency is to use the conventional mailing method to send your pictures in.

This method is way more expensive, and it takes more time and energy to circulate your images to as many agencies as you need.

More avenues to getting exposure are attending modeling events and conventions, going in for open auditions, and registering on any of the several modeling websites.

All these methods either cost money or time, but they help to introduce you to the right people you need to start your career.

3. Don’t complicate things

At the beginning of your career, you probably shouldn’t be so eager to spend high amounts of money on professional pictures. You will eventually need those kinds of pictures, but not until you have jobs that demand them.

Your photos are supposed to show you in the most natural state while showing off your best parts and your versatility.

The most important factors the agents and scouts are looking for are your facial features and how your body looks in clothes.

Make sure to take pictures with your face showing clearly from all angles, and use as little makeup as possible. You need quality pictures that showcase your natural features in their best light with very little editing.

You also need to wear simple clothes that show off your body comfortable, without being too loose or too tight. A simple pair of jeans and a tank top, or a simple dress will show off your body without being too distracting.

And don’t worry; if the agents and scouts think you need professional pictures, they will let you know. In some instances, you can even have an agreement with any of them that want to represent you with the aim of paying back when you start working regularly.

4. Get a personal coach

“You need to go to modeling school to be a good model.” Every model hears this when they first start, but that is not the best option for a plus-size model.

Now, modeling school is not a bad option, but when you’re trying to break through as a plus-size model, things are not always convenient for you.

Modeling schools teach you all you need to know about modeling from the walks, posture, poise, and style, but these are not the things modeling agencies care about when picking a model to represent.

Sure, you need to know all the other stuff, but they don’t play a major role in your employment.

If you have a look the agents want, you get picked. If you don’t get picked, then you’ve wasted hundreds of dollars on expensive classes you don’t need.

Instead of enrolling in a modeling school, you can hire a personal modeling coach. They are much cheaper, and the classes are tailored just for you and your schedule. If you can’t afford an intensive personal coach, you can attend group classes or workshops to improve your skills.

Some models also take acting classes, and as silly as it sounds, modeling is mostly acting. Acting classes can help you with posing, auditioning for jobs, and getting more comfortable in front of a camera.

5. Only work together with experienced agencies

One thing that is sure to kill any aspiring model’s career before it really takes off is bad management. If you make the mistake of not picking the right representation, it can cripple your ambition for good, or at the very least, stunt your growth. You need an agency that represents you appropriately, and that fits your image suitably.

When you’re new in the industry, you may be eager to jump into any offer, but that is not advisable. Before you go into any contract, you have to make sure you have sufficient information on the workings of the agency.

Do they represent the kind of modeling you want to go into? Do they have flexible schedules and accommodations? How good is the offer they are offering you? If you aren’t satisfied with any of these, then you should reconsider accepting their deal.

A legitimate agency will also have good relationships with other agencies around the world, giving you the opportunity to spread out and make international contacts.

Also, they are more likely to accommodate you better when you work overseas and in foreign countries. You can search for good agencies online using any search directories or websites.

Fig 3: How to maintain a good body. Source: Pinterest

6. Practice makes perfect

Regardless of how good you think you are as a model, you need to put in the hours of practice needed to excel. Even seasoned models practice before jobs or an audition.

With practice, you learn what your good sides are; you learn how to pose, clothes that suit you, and how to get comfortable in front of the camera.

For a model, your best companions are your mirror and any source of natural lighting you have. Stare at yourself in every angle until you master the best poses for your shape.

Try out as many angles as possible, so you know how best to showcase your features and figure. Have fun with different lighting options to see what suits your skin tone best.

Also, try out any beauty tips that help your poses look more natural but still elegant.

For example, if you lengthen your neck and tilt your jaw, it improves your profile. Also, holding out your arms when you pose can help them look toned. If you keep practicing these tips, they will end up becoming more natural on you.

WHAT DO I NEED IN MY MODELING PORTFOLIO?

Every aspiring model needs a top-quality modeling portfolio at the beginning of their career. Your portfolio is your CV, and that is what goes before you into the office of whoever wants to hire you.

So, you need it to represent you positively and show the agents that you have what it takes to do your job well.

Your portfolio doesn’t need many components to be good enough to endorse you.  You need some good quality testing photos taken by a professional photographer.

If you add in the cost of a makeup artist and hairstylist, you may end up spending a few hundred dollars. You need two main images in your portfolio, along with some other pictures of you showing different profiles.

  • A headshot: You need a clean image showing your head and shoulders clearly. Keep your outfits simple and make sure they don’t distract from the image itself. Safe choices are bare shoulders, a tank top, or a simple shirt. You can have other pictures of your face showing your different side profiles and emotions.
  • A body shot: You need a full body shot that shows your whole stature and measurements. Your outfit should also be simple and emphasize your body without being too tight. Keep your outfit in one color and avoid any visible logos.

Fig 4: Fashion tips for plus-size models. Source: Visually

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A PLUS-SIZE MODEL?

Plus-size models have requirements they have to meet as well, but these requirements tend to be a lot less strict. You still need to meet a certain height, weight, and measurement requirements.

But, most of these requirements are determined by the particular job you audition for, and they can be fluid.

At this time, there isn’t a set size that determines who can be a plus-size model, but most people consider a size 12 to 16 the standard for plus-size models.

The standard height for plus-size models is similar to the standard for most other models, but again, not as strict.

Anything from 5”6’ to 5”9’ is normal, but you can afford to be a little shorter. While you don’t have to be extraordinarily toned, you still have to take care of your body and work out a lot. Designers still prefer to hire models that look fit for their jobs.

You need to eat right and keep up with your beauty treatments. If you have a waist that is smaller than your hips by 10 inches, then you have an advantage.

As a model, you need to be aware that your looks are still your major selling point, so you have to maintain them carefully. Apart from keeping fit and eating healthy, you need to have good skin, hair, and teeth.

Also, if your weight keeps fluctuating, you may have difficulty finding jobs. Brands want to know what they are paying for, so you need to maintain your weight. Stay away from unhealthy habits and get enough exercise.

TYPES OF JOBS YOU CAN GET AS A PLUS-SIZE MODEL

The plus-size modeling industry is still growing, so the job landscape is not as diverse as the rest of the industry. Still, plus-size models get a lot of work.

You can find a plus-size model everywhere in the industry, from runways to magazine covers. Designers use a lot of plus-size models to make clothes for regular-sized people.

You have probably seen plus-size models on the covers of magazines and publications. They work as swimsuit models, lingerie models, catalog models, and advertisement campaigns.

More recently, the demand for plus-size fit models is on the rise.

What is considered plus-size in the modeling industry is what the regular woman looks like, and designers are getting more interested in making clothes that fit the regular woman.

Fig 5: Chart showing the rise of plus-size models during fashion week. Source: Business of fashion

HOW TO GET SIGNED BY A MODELING AGENCY

The best way to get signed by a model agency is to get your image across to them. You can do that via email or by sending your portfolio to the agency directly.

Some agencies only accept models that come in physically for an audition. As scary as that sounds, it is good practice for you when you start going for auditions.

Some agencies have plus-size divisions that hire plus-size models specifically, so it is best to locate those agencies around you and apply for an audition.

Several even hold casting calls for models when they want to hire for a particular job. Some top firms and designers that hire plus-size models include Boohoo Plus, ASOS Curve, Savage x Fenty, Dove, Nordstrom, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger.

PLUS-SIZE MODELS THAT BROKE INTO THE INDUSTRY

Plus-size models have been working since the 90s, but over the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of plus-size models in the industry.

There are notable names like Melissa Aronson – who was the first mainstream plus-size model, Robyn Lawley, Candice Huffine, and Tara Lynn. Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday are currently 2 of the most popular plus-size models in the world.

CONCLUSION

The modeling industry has been a stereotypical field for so long, but plus-size models are coming up to smash all stereotypes about what a model should look like.

Since the rise of models like Melissa “Emme” Aronson, plus-size models have been on the rise, and they are here to stay.

Also, the physical requirements are getting broader by the day, and designers are now on the lookout for more diverse bodies.

There has never been a better time to pursue a career as a plus-size model, and there are numerous opportunities available. Still, having a successful modeling career hinges on several factors that may not be evident to you as a newcomer.

You may have all the requirements to be a good model, but if you don’t know how to network and make profitable connections, you may be left behind. So, if you have all the correct information at your fingertips, you have a chance to have a long and successful career in plus-size modeling.

Share your thoughts and experience

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.