How to Break Into Plus Size Modeling

Portrait of plus size model
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The plus size modeling industry is the fastest growing sector of the modeling industry. Never before has there been such acceptance, support, and demand for fuller figures. So if you’re more voluptuous than a typical fashion model and know how to work your curves, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t follow your dream of becoming a plus size model.

Ready to get started? Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions about becoming a plus-size model.

What Kinds of Jobs Can Plus Size Models Book?

Whether you call it plus size, full figured, extended size, or large size modeling, the market for curvy models is incredibly diverse. Plus size models can be found on runways, in catalogs, in magazine editorials, in art modeling, in commercial advertisements, and in print campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands and designers. There’s even a need for plus size fit and showroom models! 

What Are the Physical Requirements?

Emily Roberts. © The Balance 2019

Plus size modeling is a little different from other divisions of modeling in that size matters more than exact measurements. Models are generally size 12 and up with good body proportions. A general rule is that your waist should be about 10 inches smaller than your hips, but that’s just a guideline. There are exceptions to every rule!

Height requirements vary depending on the type of plus size modeling. Fashion models are generally 5’9’’ to 6’, fit models are generally 5’5 to 5’9’, and commercial models can be any height.

No matter which area of plus size modeling you’re interested in exploring, you do need to have certain traits, such as confidence and health, with good skin, hair, teeth, and nails. 

Is There a Place for Plus Size Models in the High Fashion Industry?

The world of high fashion has finally begun to embrace women of all sizes. Bold, beautiful curves are now seen on the runways of New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, in the collections of Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, and other top designers, and in the pages of Vogue and Elle. (And while it’s not a high fashion magazine, it’s worth mentioning that even Sports Illustrated has given its swimsuit issue more curves!) 

Who Are Some Famous Plus Size Models I Should Know About?

If you’re thinking of trying your hand at plus size modeling, it’s definitely a good idea to study and learn about the top plus-size models. Be sure to check out the world’s first plus-size supermodel, Melissa Aronson (better known as Emme), as well as Robyn Lawley, Inga Eiriksdottir, Ashley Graham, Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine.

Are There Any Plus Size Modeling Agencies?

Yes! From New York to Paris, major modeling agencies worldwide have not only opened their doors to plus size models but are also creating plus size superstars. Some agencies were created solely with plus size models in mind, while others have created plus size divisions of their already successful companies.​

In case you’re curious, the first agency to specialize in plus-size models (and petite models) was called Big Beauties Little Women. It was founded in 1977 by former plus model Mary Duffy and was so successful that Ford Models purchased it in 1988. Big Beauties Little Women is now known as Ford+, Ford’s plus size specialty division.

How Do I Get in Touch with Plus Size Modeling Agencies?

The easiest and most affordable way to get noticed as a plus-size model is to submit your photos to a reputable online model scouting service that works with the world’s top plus-size modeling agencies and has the connections and knowledge you need to begin your career. Remember that you don’t need experience or expensive photos (snapshots are fine), just professionalism, drive, and of course that special something!