From magazines, television, to the billboard, we have been living believing a woman, to be beautiful or perfect, has to tall, skinny, and flawless. This standard has resulted to adverse effects on women. Some are challenged with their lack of confidence; while others are struggling to keep with this standard, doing the almost impossible just to fit in the mold.
Then came these beautiful people who, with their own stories to tell- discrimination, humiliation, and prejudice- shook the world, made a change, and redefined beauty and confidence. Theirs were the voice of so many people who have been set aside by restricting social construct of what is beautiful or acceptable and what is not. No body type is better than the other. While it is fine to adore another body, one that is viewed by majority as fit or sexy, body shaming in any form is not.
In reality, most women do not actually fit the mold. Thanks to the curvy and plus size women that have broken down the stereotype and asserted their position in the society. Through them, more women have learned to embrace their body, love their selves, and be proudly confident of who they are. We, in the fashion industry, have a lot of women to thank for. They helped open the door for plus size fashion and models. In line with that, here are the top fifteen plus size models you should know. Note that this list will exclude the hot and the beautiful, Ashley Graham.
Setting off the list is London-based model, Felicity Hayward, who first appeared in Ponystep Magazine in 2012. After doing the said shoot, she was approached by Storm Management for a modeling career. Felicity is considered as among the game-changers in the fashion industry in UK, thereby advocating for body diversity in high end editorials. Since then, she has worked with various prominent photographers and appeared in Glamour and Vogue magazines, among others. Felicity was appointed as the first Curve Ambassador and Stylist for ASOS.
Making waves in the fashion industry is model Olivia Campbell. Believe it or not, this gorgeous 28-year old plus size model is a single mother who rose to fame and became an icon for her strength as a woman and positive message for all girls and women. Olivia was previously seen in brands like PMM and Monif C. In 2015, Bridge Models has signed Olivia, being the agency’s first size 22+ model.
From Project Runway, the world is now her ramp as Liris Crosse stuns the fashion industry with her bold and fierce walk and personality. She started modeling at the age of sixteen when she met agents and editors from magazines, who all had one thing to say to her: Lose weight. She did so until she signed up for Wilhelmina Models Agency and found out that plus modeling exists. Liris Crosse has been in the business for 20 years appearing in the campaigns of plus size brands, Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart. Crosse also appeared in music videos, as well as, the magazines Essence, The Source, and Honey.
The list goes on with this amazing writer and model, Melinda Parrish. Melinda Parrish is a former Naval Officer and an athlete, now a top model who advocates for body positivity. Melinda has modeled for famous brands like Danskin, Rachel Roy, Jockey, Gwynnie Bee, and J.C. Penney. In her website, she emphasized that one should not delay and put off our dreams until we lose weight. She, too, had her fair share of binge eating and confidence issue. But now, she empowers women to live the way they want to by first loving their bodies. Melissa is also a writer for Huffington post and Gaiam’s Lifestyle.
From Brooklyn, New York, where this next model was born, Jezra M. is taking on the world with her impressive modeling career as a plus size model. Apart from modeling, Jezra is also a blogger, and a creator of the Pure Body Love movement. Jezra has been in the business for four years and since then has graced multiple magazines like Essence, Vive Vixen, and Plus Model Mag, among others. She also represented brands like Monif C., Fashion to Figure, and Forever 21. As an advocate, she uses her modeling career to promote and encourage women about self-love, appreciation, and self-confidence.
Among the most followed plus size models is the beautiful Candice Huffine. The 33-year old Georgetown native, but Washington-grown, started her career as a teenager. She was then a size 6. But her road to fame was the life-changing shoot she did in 2000 for Lane Bryant. Ten years later, she was on the cover of Vogue Italia. Since then, her career skyrocketed and she likewise appeared in American Vogue, i-D, and Glamour. She modeled for companies like Rachel Roy Curve, Mert and Marcus, and many more.
Tess Holiday is a royalty in her own right. She has inspired many women from the corners of the world more than she knows. Her inspiring story, from her tragic first and last pageant experience as a 13-year-old, the verbal abuse and humiliation she received because of her size, her mother’s disability, to her more recent untoward experiences as a model, has sparked a fire in the hearts of many women to speak out and do what they love. Today, she wins at life with her top-notch modeling career. As a model and body positive activist, she has worked with brands like Torrid, Yours Clothing, H&M, and Monif C. She has also appeared in Vogue Italia and Nylon Magazine.
Gabbi Gregg started as a blogger in 2008. And while she was already establishing her following, the same has blossomed even more when she broke the internet in 2012. That year, she showed herself clad in a striped bikini looking amazing. Since then, she has become one of the voices and faces of the plus size industry, not only as a blogger, but also as a model. Last year, she just got even brighter when she launched her plus size fashion line Premme with her best friend and another influencer, Nicolette Mason.
Having one of the most beautiful faces in the modeling industry, Bishamber Das, grew up in a British-Asian community having an Indian father and Malaysian mother. But Bishamber Das is more than just a pretty face. She was the first plus size model to place in the prestigious Miss India Europe in 2014. With just a couple of years in the industry, Bishamber Das has achieved so much in life. She modeled for Yours Clothing and became its face in the Middle East. She also appeared in other apparel line including Simple Be, Elvi, and Gemma Collins.
Since she was young, she already wanted to become a model or an actress. And notwithstanding the fact that no one in the magazine had curves like her, she rose to become one. One of the leading plus size models of today is the 21-year old Barbie Ferreira. Just like most curvy models, Barbie had her fair share of rejections and insecurities when she was younger. But she took the industry by storm when she modeled for American Eagle loungewear brand, Aerie, where she showcased her curvaceous body and refused to be photo-shopped. While relatively new to the industry, Barbie’s career is very much in motion appearing in Teen Vogue, W, CR Fashion Book, and iD.
Follow Katana Fatale on: Facebook
Next on the list is the glamorous Katana Fatale. Started out as a fashion blogger, Katana now inspires more girls and women as a model. She had the internet in awe with her teal hair, but captured the hearts of many with her words about self-acceptance and self-love. Her modeling career started after Buzzfeed featured her body positive style blog. After that, she did her first photoshoot for Chubby Cartwheels. In an interview, Katana said that her love for fashion was greatly inspired by her passion for music, film, and theatre.
The list will not be complete without the hot and gorgeous Clémentine Desseaux. Born and raised in France, and with the influence of her French mother, fashion has a special place in her heart. Right after finishing her degree in International Marketing, Clémentine moved to the United States where she landed her first modeling contract. In 2015, her name got even brighter after landing as the newest face of the French luxury brand, Christian Louboutin, a commendable move for the brand. It made news especially during this time when a lot of full-figured women are advocating for body diversity in the entertainment and fashion industry.
Follow Mercy Watson on: Facebook
Another revolutionary plus size is Mercy Watson. Mercy definitely has one of the most envied faces in the modeling industry. Her body? Beautiful! Mercy is an Australian born model who, through her work and social media, inspires women to love their bodies. In 2015, Mercy Watson was featured in David’s Bridal. The photographs earned the admiration of many women. For David’s Bridal, Mercy was the perfect person to represent their customers, who are generally size 16.
Capping off the list is style blogger and model, Jennifer Buckingham. Being a creative influencer, her love for creativity and art may have influenced her to become who she is today. Along with her love for fashion, Jennifer grew up battling issues on self-esteem as a result of her insecurities. She intends to send a positive message of individuality, empowerment, and actually owning your life.
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