As we move more into the 21st-century, fashion weeks and runway castings are more and more calling for diversity and inclusion. Fashion brands are beginning to understand that real women come in all sizes and shapes, not just a size 4. Women of today want to feel confident and beautiful in their skins, no matter their size – they want to hear all the celebrity shapewear secrets, reminding us that models aren’t as thin as they seem. What is one way to do that effectively? It’s by showcasing “normal” women on the cover of our favourite magazines, by showcasing these women in our favourite shops, and ultimately showing that women in all shapes and sizes can be successful in the fashion industry just like the typical skinny models. So who are a few of the fashion models who do not fit the standard size 4 but who are making it in the fashion world?
Who is one of the most popular plus-size models? It’s the beautiful Ashley Graham. She’s one of the models we look to for encouragement in the body positivity movement, and there are good reasons for that. She was the model who appeared in Vogue in un-retouched photos. She also was the first plus-size model to be featured in Sports Illustrated. She’s so beloved now that she’s sharing the catwalk with the likes of models like Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber. Speaking of Vogue again, Graham appeared on one of their covers beneath a title that said: “no norm is the new norm.” She’s made incredible strides in the body-positivity movement, and that helps all women. Ashley is a significant player in the plus-sized modelling world and has contributed to pushing it into mainstream culture.
A wonderful addition to the plus-size modelling world is Tess Holliday. In fact, she’s the catalyst for the “big is beautiful” movement and she’s also an advocate for plus-size women. Back in 2015, Tess became the world’s first plus-size model signed to a major modelling agency. From there we’ve seen her size 22 body in magazines and on TV ads. Tess, with her loud, bold, brash attitude, created the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards. Her approach has helped women of all sizes learn to love their bodies and feel beautiful. In our opinion, Tess is a beacon of hope, happiness and acceptance in a world where plus-size is often criticised. We wish there were more models like her around to bring plus-size into acceptance.
Let’s take a look at Amy Lemons. She’s interesting because, for a majority of her career, she was considered a “straight sized” model. In other words, she fit the industry’s standard protocol for model sizes. Amy got her first big break at 14 when she appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue. In the next few years following, she appeared on the covers of not only Vogue but also Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, and Elle. She also was featured in high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein. However, when she graduated from college, Amy began to speak out about the fashion industry’s “zero standard”, and she began to try and promote self-esteem in young women. It was this enlightenment that transformed Amy into becoming a plus-size model, and she’s been showing off her curves ever since. Amy Lemons has successfully promoted positive mental health and self-esteem for young women.
We find that Philomena Kwao is not only a model but a fantastic, all-around person. In fact, she’s the type of woman you’d want to befriend. Philomena is many things, including an amazingly beautiful plus-size model, a fierce role model for self-love and body positivity, and a strong supporter of diversity, women’s rights and maternal health. When the dark, natural haired Philomena is not on the runway or in front of the camera, you’ll find her running a charity called The Lily Project. Here is where she is outspoken on healthcare reform and diversity in the modelling world, not only for races but for sizes. We look forward to seeing more of this fascinating model.
Okay, that’s it for now. These are our favourite plus-size models. However, these are just some of the beautiful women out there. The body-positivity movement is gaining steam. So we hope to see more women of all shapes and sizes featured in significant places, such as magazines and on TV. We hope to see more and more plus-size models making a name for themselves.