Feb 2012 03

Tocarra Jones

As a working hair and makeup artist I get the opportunity to work with many types of models, actors, singers, comedians and socialites. Some of the people that I have worked with have become friends or close acquaintances of mine, however the most underrated and unappreciated people that I have worked with in the industry are plus-sized models.

My plus-sized model friends and colleagues have very successful modeling careers (in many cases they are more successful than the skinny models) but receive little to no respect or appreciation in the industry.

Originally plus size-models were only hired to model clothing targeted for full figured men and women. Now plus-sized models are hired for almost everything. You can find plus-sized models in advertisements for cosmetics, footwear, sunglasses, watches, household products and pharmaceutical companies. The opportunities for work as a plus-size model are endless. Even the title plus-sized model has evolved over the years. Now the term plus-size model is synonymous with full-figured model, extended-sized model and outsize model (not sure if I dig that last title).

With the success of the plus-size modeling industry designers are beginning to pay attention to the earning potential of plus-size clothing lines. Plus-sized models have excelled from the pages of fashion magazines and window display advertisements to the catwalks of New York and Paris.  Fashion designers Jean-Paul Gaultier and John Galliano both used plus-size models  in their Paris shows. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual prêt-à-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fastand and William Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Week showings.

Leading modeling agencies like Karin models, Ford models and Wilhelmina have developed plus-sized divisions. A  large number of other reputable agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as the U.K., Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Australia have all developed plus-sized divisions to cater to the growing industry.

So why all the disrespect?! My friends who are plus-sized models tell me that although they are in demand and are having relatively good success as models, the industry treats them like an ugly step sister! Although plus-size modeling is a growing lucrative addition to the modeling industry plus-models get the least amount of praise and respect. Mainstream skinny models continue to get all the admiration and applause.

Plus-size modeling continues to receive criticism in and outside of the modeling industry. Many industry insiders feel that plus-size modeling may be setting a bad example for women and how they should look. They advocate that promoting and openly accepting full figured models may lead to women believing that having an unhealthy lifestyle (being over weight)  is acceptable. Some fashion designers have openly criticized full figured models and have yet to embrace the plus-size modeling industry.

In my opinion it is their loss! So keep your head up because your day of praise will come, but in the meantime make that money girls!!

And now you’re in the know…