Plus Size and Curvy Models

Plus and Curvy ModelsHourglass shaped, curvy, full-figured women are often what we think of when someone mentions a plus model. Making it in the plus size modeling industry is not about being bigger or “letting yourself go”. But with the right look, just about any size can be used as a model (with certain limitations).

Plus sized models can make over $200,000 per year and are becoming the new trend in modeling. As our society becomes more accepting of “healthier” weights, so does the media and advertising. Thus, a plus size model can definitely make it in the industry. Here, we discuss what it takes to be this type of model.

What Size is Plus Size?

curvy-model According to the CDC, the average American woman is a size 14, and yet the most common sizes in the modeling industry are sizes 0-4. In the fashion industry, “plus size” is a term for models who are size 8 and up. But in the real world, most people would never think of a size 8 as plus size — most plus-size clothing consists of 16 and above.

In the past, fashion models were considered plus size if they were sizes 10-18. Today, size 8 is often considered to be plus size. There is some debate on the actual sizing and it changes as society decides what is attractive and acceptable for modeling. In general, the people that decide what is considered plus size are the ones that run the magazines, ads, clothing and fashion. Hollywood seems to have a stricter view on plus sizes and will often claim it to be as small as a size 6. But as an actual model, up to a size 18 is used for both print and showroom work.

However, size 18 is not used so much for print; it is more often used for showroom work. This size does make the most money, though, being it is the typical size in plus-size samples. There is work for sizes all the way up to 26. Different agencies have different requirements. It all depends on what kind of work, and with who, they are basing the need for specific sizes.

What it Takes to be a Curvy Model

There will always be a demand for plus-size models because there are always going to be plus-sized people. Over half of Americans are over size 14. So, in reality, plus size is the more common size. Although plus-size models are in high demand, there are still standards that need to be met in order to be a model.

For modeling open calls, pictures don’t need to be professional. In fact, it is preferred that prospective models bring photos that show them in their natural appearances. The pictures can be taken by family members or whomever. Bring in about 5 or 6 pictures – a headshot, some profile shots, and a body shot, preferably something in a bathing suit. For plus-sized women it can be one piece, but they need to see what the body looks like.

When going to see an agency for an interview, they do not like prospective models to wear a lot of makeup and get all “done up”. They want to see them with no product in the hair or on the face. Coming in as natural as possible is best.

When posing for the camera, be ready to change your angles without direction. And especially when it comes to the bigger sizes, angles can make a difference. Practicing in front of a mirror can give you an idea of how to present yourself. Seeing how you look in front of a mirror at different angles will get you ready to make those poses that work best for you.

There’s More to It Than Meets the Eye

plus-curvy-modelTo be a model, there must be more than physical appearance. Personality is very important too. The models that make it big are the ones that understand there is more to helping sell clothing or a product than to just stand there and look pretty. A model must be multi-faceted in how she presents herself. Posture is important. So is the way a model speaks and walks. Agencies can help steer models in the right direction, but it all comes down to the model being able to perform the work.

To make the most out of a modeling career, especially when it comes to plus-sized modeling, the talent needs to be able to do print as well as fit and showroom. Print modeling is a hard area unless you reach the higher end of it. On the contrary, fit and showroom models can make a salary of over $200,000. It is necessary to be able to work in different areas of modeling. The more talented a model is, the higher chance she will succeed.

Making It in the Curvy Modeling Industry

For print and for runway, a model has to be a minimum of 5’7 – 5’8 up to 6 foot, even in plus-sized modeling. There are exceptions to the rule, but what it comes down to is being proportioned. An hourglass shape is the most preferred. And being a bigger size doesn’t mean the model shouldn’t be fit. It is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This by no means is in the vicinity of dieting. But a general intake of nutritious foods and being active are lifestyles that everyone needs to incorporate. And no matter how big the size, the key element is a clean appearance. That means having good skin, beautiful hair and healthy teeth. Above all, they don’t want a sloppy appearance.

Models do those print jobs that come up once in a while, but the daily grind is going designer to designer and showroom to showroom. In the plus-sized industry, there is still a lot of competition, but there is a lot less competition than the typical fashion models.

As you can see, plus-sized models are in high demand and can make a great career if the talent is there. Also, presentation is important and hard work is still needed. If you have what it takes, though, a plus model can find a lot of work in the industry.


  1. LOVE yourself at any age. I’m 60 years old; dancer, writer, an actress with Dorothy Palmer talent agency, and have become popular in New York City through a photo shoot ad I did and I’m loving life.

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