Plus Size and Modeling

I want to preface this blog before you read:  I do not believe the term “plus size,” is actually plus size and I think it’s silly because the average plus size model is size 6.  I also do not feel I need to lose/gain any sort of weight nor do I really want too.  If talking about weight makes you uncomfortable or modeling makes you uncomfortable, I’ll ramble a different topic tomorrow.  I just wanted to create an open discussion about it. 


So yesterday when I was in line at the store and a lady approached me asked and if I was a plus size model.  Long story short I w as just like no I’m actually just a college athlete who happened to be wearing real girl clothes.  She then told me I should look into it.  So.random. Why is my life cray cray?  Not to stereotype but she was a middle aged woman with perfect hair and makeup, I almost wanted to ask if she would do mine all the time.

I wasn’t sure how I should respond to that question because honestly it was kinda awkward.  I’m 5’7 and I’m not overweight by any means but I’m also not underweight by any means either.  Oh and also because I forgot to say this-her asking me actually didn’t even really make me think oh my god fat day have I gained weight?

This is my baffled face because that exactly what I gave her.

I was just more puzzled then anything else.    What would you do in that situation?

I mean I was flattered that someone would think I was a model to begin with but I didn’t know how to approach the topic of “plus size.”   In fact, “normal size models” don’t even wear normal sized clothing and plus sized females wear clothing set at most normal sizes.  I never quite understood why it would be that glamorous to walk down a run way when you can barely walk because you are so damn starving. 

Oh and incase you wondered (because we all know my obsession with ANTM and I spend hours researching possible ways to meet Tyra)… Editorial (magazine) models are not normally underweight with bones showing.  They are in the (lower) but healthy range of their weight category. Runway  models and some high end fashion are the all skins and bones.  Think about it, a 5’8 female weighing less than 115 pounds?

While some people think that all models are underweight, that is actually false and it’s runway models that get all the attention for that. (So not even half the modeling industry is underweight, but it’s just the most advertised).


While doing a bit more digging around, I found some interesting statistics of the modeling world. 

Runway and editorial models:
Height: 5’8″-6’0″
Weight: 105-125 lbs
Measurements: 34-24-34 (bust, waist, hips)
Size: 0-4
Physical: naturally slim/slender, not very curvy, striking/unique/odd features, strong bone
Commercial/print models:
Height: 5’5″-5’7″
Weight: 105-125 lbs
Measurements: 34-24-34 (bust, waist, hips)
Sizes: varies
Physical: proportional, symmetrical, attractive face, great smile/teeth, good complexion

Petite models (on a side note-It’s harder to get a job if you are petite versus being plus size):
Height: 5’1″-5’5″
Weight: 100-125 lbs
Measurements: 34-24-34 (bust, waist, hips)
Sizes: 2-4 petite sizes
Physical: proportional, naturally slim/slender, strikingly attractive, good complexion, healthy hair

Plus size models:
Height: 5’8″-6’0″
Weight: varies
Measurements: varies, but must be proportionally 10 inches between measurements (example: 42-32-42).
Sizes: 10-18
Physical: proportional and toned, great skin, hair and teeth, nicely shaped legs.

Yes. This girl is "classified" as a plus size model. Do you know why she went on home ANTM a few seasons ago? She lost too much weight and wasn't plus sized anymore.

Glamour models:
Height: open
Weight: open
Measurements: varies but 36-24-36 is ideal (bust, waist, hips)
Sizes: open
Physical: glamour models can be short or tall, thin or thick. The curvier, the better. Should have a great, toned body, full bust and a nice butt.

Lets chat about the modeling world.  It all fascinates me as you probably know.  What do you think about it? 

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  1. WOW! Those stats are INSANE.
    Runway models are scarry skinny, it actually creeps me out. I feel like if they fell over, they might break a few bones :/
    I CANNOT believe that girl in the picture is considered (or rather was considered) a plus size model. WOW! She looks in FANTASTIC shape!
    I think the whole modeling industry is SO off! It’s so sad that so many girls try so hard to be a model, it makes me sick 🙁 They wonder why so many girls develop eating disorders…hmmmm.

  2. Working in fashion and being considered an “undesirable” body shape is hard… but also hearing sick thin models discuss dieting is hard.

    Working with the “glamour king” photograoher for my photoshoot last year was the biggest confidence boost ever, he is beyond against the stick thin look and WANTS the curves, the real bodies, the true woman… it was refreshing!

  3. Wow! You should be flattered to be asked if you were a model. However, plus size? What was she thinking?! You should be a model for Shape Mag, RunnerWorld mag, or Heath mag. I’m glad it didn’t make you feel bad about the plus size. If were me though, I know I would have thought I’m fat(even though I’m not). I think that lady was kinda rude. Why not just ask if you are a model. I think we (Americans) put too much pressure to be pretty, skinny, have the best, never enough…etc. We(myself included) need to realize that we are beautiful. When I was anorexic running collge xc I thought I was pretty just because I was skinny(too skinny). However, that’s so not true. Beauty is not a size! I think more parents need to emphasize this @ a very early age. I teach 1st grade and they already say “im skinny” or I’m fat…soo sad. Anyways, girl you are soooo pretty and an amazing, strong athelete (and skinny)…u are perfect. If you changed you wouldn’t b able to do all that swimming and running. 🙂

  4. I think that’s crazy that a woman asked if you were a plus-sizd model! At least in pics, you always look super tiny. if you’d be a plus size model, I would be a morbidly obese model 😛 I’m fine with the modelling world and think that to be in it you have to have a very thick skin, but it’s just something that would never appeal to me. I have all the wrong proportions and am only 5’6, so I would get ripped apart by absolutely everyone, and I’d rather not even go there 🙂

  5. I cannot believe that!!!! That is friggin nuts…you are so thin that I can’t believe someone would say that to you!!! I would not have known how respond either….awkward. But don’t let it get to you…you know what’s healthy for you and what you gotta do for you. Some people are just ignorant. Glad you’re approaching this in such a positive way 🙂

  6. I really hate how the term “plus size model” actually describes NORMAL sized women. Maybe the scary skinny and underweight models should be called “minus-sized.” Calling normal sized women “plus-sizes” makes normal people feel like crap that they aren’t the ideal.

    Despite my eating disorder I have never thought that being skeletal and having bones sticking out was attractive whatsoever. I think women in general look so much better with curves, muscles, and enough weight. I don’t understand why being stick-thin is what most people consider the ideal body.

    Still, that’s cool that she thought you should be a model! Hehe you and your fierce eyebrows. 😉 I actually think you’re thin (the good fit kind) and wouldn’t have thought to ever call you a plus-size!!?

  7. HA if YOU are a plus sized model with your hot slim bod, then what would the rest of us be?! That woman is INSANE!!

    I think it’s all ridiculous. Some models just look sick and gross me out a bit actually!! It’s weird that I used to look up to them, but I think now that the sports models have WAY better bodies!! And talking of that, that’s what YOU should be!! A sports model!! You’re so toned and gorgeous!! 😀

  8. Back when I was a skinny bitch (now, clearly, I’m just a bitch…) I really wanted to model. Because working for money sucks. But living in Eastern Washington + being 5’4″ I was stuck with being a promo model.
    Which honestly pays pretty well, if you don’t mind smiling at strangers. I cut that splendid career short because I was under 21 and the better gigs were at bars. I’m kinda sad I was never a booze promo model.

    (being a promo model is an awesome way to make an easy $100 when you’re in college btw. if you can find gigs near you, it’s super easy work)

  9. The woman in that picture looks like a track athlete or something. A sprinter. Holy strong, sexy legs batman.

    I guess you could tell the person who asked if you were a plus-size model “no, but are you a rude, thoughtless person?”

  10. Fabulous topic Holly! I don’t like the term plus size models either and I’m shocked anyone would put you in that category. Not that it’s bad, but you’re very lean so that just makes no sense. I could easily fall in the Commercial Model (if indeed I had model looks), but what else does that really mean. And the models that are so thin and gaunt, look crazy to me. I think the ones that have more meat are gorgeous

  11. Effin bananas!! Who asks that?! You are a friggin twig!! Seriously. What was that lady on?! Maybe she was schmokin the cheeba. You are far from Toccara. (she was pretty & “plus size”, you are pretty & lean)


  12. Someone asked you if you were a plus-sized model? First of all, who even feels the need to add “plus size” to that sentence? Second of all, you look so so tiny in all of your pictures! I don’t even like reading those modeling statistics, because truthfully, they make me feel kind of bad about myself. I don’t weigh myself, but I know my measurements, and I don’t fell into any of those categories. I would have to starve myself to give myself a 24″ waist- that’s just not how I’m built- and I don’t think it’s healthy for girls to think that they should be built that way!

  13. I agree with Jamie that you could def pass for a fitness model. Plus sized? Hell no. That woman was either confussed in what she was saying or very rude. But so glad you took her comment with a grain of salt. Go you!

    I actaually know a girl who is modeling and doing really well in the industry. She was always a very naturally thin/pretty girl but I also know that she eats very healthily and worksout. It is nice to see that she has not fallen in to the eating disorder tap of runway modeling.

    I think it is stupid that “plus sized” models are the size that most people are these days and they do look very healthy and regular models make it so hard not to compare yourself to them and that sorta thing.

  14. I can’t believe someone asked you that! Wow. You look so small in all your photos. Maybe they just wanted to feel better about themselves.

    The only thing that bothers me about the modeling world is how you don’t see very many petite models. By petite, I mean just short. I couldn’t be a model even if I was the most gorgeous person on Earth and Tyra and I were bffs. I’m 5’2. Apparently the modeling world doesn’t like midgets like me. Hah.

    I just started watching ANTM actually. The girls are usually tall and thin. Whatever. I can handle that. I can understand that, that girl is a model and wants to look like that for her job. If she enjoys it, why should I care? Maybe she is too skinny and the modeling industry should change the sizes, but I don’t care that much. People need to be able to distinguish between models and the real world. If that even makes any sense.

  15. That’s interesting that the majority of the models we focus on are the ones who are underweight. I feel like that happens in a lot of different areas, because people tend to focus on the extremes rather than looking at what is “normal.” I kind of have an obsession with ANTM and have always thought that the “plus size” models were sometimes more beautiful than the other girls. Maybe it’s because they stood out more, but they also always seem so confident! I would love to feel that! Kudos to you for taking the comment in stride!

  16. I do not understand why or how people have the nerve to ask such questions — same with asking if a woman is pregnant — you just don’t do it!

    I think it is crazy what constitutes a plus size model — and if you are bigger than that, what are you? Super plus size? I just hate labeling like that — it makes you look at your own body and think “am I plus size?” “am I extra large?” — I seriously just hate those terms.

  17. I’m SHOCKED. I feel like when I saw you, you were super skinny!

    I’m a little obsessed with the modeling world (and dabble in it as a side job), and honestly, it varies SO much. I don’t even think its possible to gather stats for it. That’s probably just for “super”models slash the ones who are REALLY in the biz (aka, not me).

  18. This sounds ridiculous. You look pretty dang thin in your pics anyway. I had something similar happen just the other week. I went in to a store and the associate asked if she could help me and told me where all of the clothes in a certain size were and I was just like…. um…. that’s a bigger size than I wear…..

    I think you should get some kind of award for being approached awkwardly lolll

    I like watching ANTM but it is a little ridiculous. I don’t like that there is no in between. If the plus size girls lose a little weight, they are immediately sent home because they don’t fit either category… and vice versa.I don’t appreciate the distorted world of advertising. :/

  19. I dislike the fact that “plus size” models are really “normal” in size and are what women and girls should strive to look for.

    If you’re plus size then I would be severly overweight. That lady needs glasses or something! Good for you though to not take it offensively. I know I would have, but I also know I could afford to lose a few pounds so it’s a different situation in a way.

    Great topic, and great discussion!

  20. Honestly, the fact that someone asked YOU if you were a PLUS SIZE model, really says a lot about society in general Because based on your photos you are thin but healthy. You are kinda tall but still, nowhere near plus size! I think all the dimensions you listed are pretty scary, even the petite ones… I don’t even think 5’4″ is really petite. I’m just under 5’0″ so I guess I can never model, but I don’t think my life will be any worse without it, lol.

  21. well first of all you are a pretty lady so I can understand. but plus size! no way- youre in awesome shape!
    I would be insulted if someone said are you a plus size model but thats because I have a few lbs to lose
    I have to say, the modeling business has some issues. Isnt the average women’s size 12? anyway, it doesnt make me stop wanting to look like them haha

    And as soon as I read that that lady said that, I thought “HOllie should do ANTM!!!!” haha

  22. Those stats surprised me! I think America has come a long way (in the wrong direction) at looking at what’s healthy in a woman. It’s kind of sad. I tyr not to get caught up in it, but I do sometimes, I’m only human.

  23. Wow, very interesting info!! It’s so weird that someone would even say that to you.. I can imagine saying “Oh, are you a model?” but sticking in the plus size is weird. I never thought twice about a regular model vs. a plus size model, because really they’re all beautiful. Runway models are just sickening though. I see those pictures and it seriously makes me want to throw up. I knew this girl who was obsessed with fashion, and she told me she thought anyone above a size 4 was ugly.
    To tell you the truth I’ve always secretly wanted to be a model for nike advertisements. Actually I just want free swag.

  24. I’m in shock over that persons comment to u…are they blind/drunk/slow??? I’m confused. Either way- you would be a great model (normal sized) and I’ve never heard of a petite model is that like when antm had the 5’6 girls???

  25. You could totally model and be biffers with Tyra, but you are totally not plus sized from your photos. Although there is nothing wrong with “plus sized” you are totally not, but you do have a rockin body that I am sure anyone would happily trade you for 🙂

  26. I’m not into the whole modeling thing (unless I would be doing it… ; ) haha right!) but I find it realllllly weird that you would get asked that. Like, it does’t even make sense because we hang out and you’re like the skinniest person I know. Again, that woman’s comment was just… weird?

  27. Ok…I’m feeling like that lady that asked you if you were a plus sized model was feeling a little insecure or something. You look really fit, and even if plus sized models are “normal sized”, I would not say you look like “plus-sized”. You look healthy, so don’t worry about it (even though you’re not 🙂

  28. What a totally random woman. What about fitness model category descriptors? You look cute in everything, I’d buy whatever you were modeling, you have great style!

  29. Wow, this is such a crazy story. Flattering to ask if you are model, but a plus sized one!? Is she fooo serioussss?!?! From your pictures, you look quite tiny to me, I would be gigantour next to you 😉
    Those stats are so startling… so much of the modeling world has negative impacts on countless people…both men and women! Thank you for providing this information, maybe it can help open people’s eyes tho this whole situation

  30. Great post. Have to say I’d definitely think of you as more of a fitness/athletic model type (Real Girl attire be darned!), but regardless, people’s perceptions are really interesting. Being runway-model height with a defined bone structure and a low bodyweight, I’ve been asked if I was a model and/or encouraged to model fairly often, and was even scouted a few years ago. My parents refused to let me because guess what? I was severely anorexic, with an emaciated BMI, and in outpatient treatment. Normal people were grossed out by my appearance, I’d been forced out of ballet (where “you can never be too thin”) for being too thin, and…fashion “experts” thought I looked fabulous. There’s something disturbing about that.

  31. I dislike how people tend to refer to plus sized models as normal sized, since I feel that it implies that being in the weight category of the standard size model is abnormal. I’m not underweight, but I am in the lower end of the healthy weight range for my height (I’m a shorty 5’0”). Whenever I hear someone say something like “Normal women are size 8-14” I always feel like I’m being called unusual or weird for being a size 0. Can’t everyone accept their size and the models, plus size or standard, just be called models?

  32. I think it’s ridiculous real women/models are classified as “plus size…” and I dont like that all runway models are skin and bones.
    At the same time, I think she is kind of crazy for thinking of you as plus size!

  33. What people have to understand is that modeling “labels,” (plus size, runway, print…etc.) are NOT supposed to act reality as labels for the average person. The modeling/fashion world sets standards COMPLETELY different from those in our world, and we can’t let ourselves get offended by the whole “plus size” label. Are these women fat? Absolutely not! Are they perhaps a better depiction of the average woman? Yes. But in the fashion world, they are still plus size because designers prefer their clothes to be presented on slight, frail figures that flatter the clothing. Whether we like it or not, most designers will most likely opt for the thinner model because it will display their creations better. Their first priority is making their clothes look the best. That’s it. Also, since the term, “plus size” in modeling is relatively new, its somewhat logical that it would be given a different label than your average model. We just need to take it with a grain of salt, and understand that its not meant to be personal.

    I still agree with most of these comments, but I think sometimes our own feelings and insecurities can blind us from really taking a step back and examining the matter from a logical perspective.

    Great convo, guys! I love reading about everyone’s opinion 🙂

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