6 Most Famous Plus-Size Models in the World
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Looking for the best plus-size models to follow on Instagram? Look no further! This list includes the world’s top plus-size models to help inspire you – plus, keep reading for advice on how to break into the industry as a plus-size model.
1. Ashley Graham
Perhaps the most well-known plus-size model out there is American Ashley Graham. After starting her career in 2001, Ashley has appeared on the cover of magazines including Vogue and Elle. She has been incredibly outspoken about the need for more diversity in the modelling industry and has become a spokesperson for plus-size people around the globe.
Ashley’s impressive resume also includes campaigns for the likes of Lane Bryant and Swimsuits For All. She’s also the first plus-size model to walk in a Michael Kors fashion show, and to be featured on the cover of the famous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Ashley has previously said she wants people to stop asking about her body as she wants to be judged on her work and not her weight. She has also claimed she has to “fight through and break down barriers every day” in order to succeed, and she urges all other women to do the same, regardless of their shape or size.
2. Tess Holliday
American Tess Holliday started modelling full-time in 2014 and has made quite the name for herself. Originally from LA, Holliday has featured in campaigns for Benefit Cosmetics and has featured in magazines including Vogue Italia and Nylon Magazine.
Holliday was the first model over UK size 18 to model Monif Clarke’s clothing line. In 2015, Holliday confirmed she was creating her own clothing line, and later that year she was involved in Marie Claire’s December 2015 fashion shoot.
Holliday self-describes as a “body positive activist”. She embraces the word ‘fat’. In 2013, she started her #effyourbeautystandards movement on Instagram, which quickly picked up traction.
3. Barbie Ferreira
Barbie is another famous American model (of Brazilian descent). She is also an actress who is well-known for her character on the TV show Euphoria.
Ferreira began her career by sending modelling photos to an American Apparel open casting call when she was just a teenager. Her career went from strength to strength and she has worked with the likes of lingerie brand Aerie, Adidas, Asos, Forever 21, H&M, Missguided and Target. In 2016, Time named her among the top 30 most influential teens. She has also featured in a Teen Vogue web series called ‘Body Party’ about body positivity.
4. Hayley Hasselhoff
The daughter of actor David Hasselhoff (of Baywatch fame), Hayley has made a name for herself in her own right.
After starting out in acting, Hayley branched out into modelling at the age of 14 in 2007. She is considered a plus-size model despite being a size 14 – the UK’s average dress size for women. In 2014, she was signed to modelling agency Ford Models and has walked in shows such as British Plus Size Fashion Week.
Hayley was named an ambassador for Pulp Fashion Week in Paris, and she became the first plus-size model to pose on the cover of the German edition of Playboy. Unfortunately, she had to wear her own clothes for the ground-breaking shoot, proving diversity still has a long way to go.
5. Iskra Lawrence
Iskra is a British model with a great line of work under her belt. She was the Global Role Model for the lingerie brand Aerie between 2014 and 2021. She’s also worked with brands including Adore Me and American Eagle Outfitters.
In 2016, after 13 years of modelling, Iskra completed her catwalk debut at New York Fashion Week for Chromat.
Iskra is a brand ambassador for Marina Rinaldi’s Persona collection campaign.
6. Precious Lee
Precious Lee is considered a trailblazer. Realising there weren’t many plus-size black female models, she’s worked hard to get to where she is and is now considered something of a trailblazer. She appeared at Milan Fashion Week back in 2020 and has since become one of the first curvy models to walk the Versace runway. She was also the only plus-size model in the Versace Spring 2021 campaign, and she’s graced the covers of Vogue, British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Lee continues to work hard in order to move people’s perceptions of what they believe a model is supposed to look like.
How to Become a Plus-Size Model
There is no set formula to becoming a plus-size model; as with any other type of modelling, some of it does rely on luck. The best way is to be proactive and put yourself out there; don’t be afraid to apply to modelling agencies. Go to as many casting calls as you can, and send your photos to as many modelling agencies as possible.
It’s also a good idea to work on your self-confidence. Modelling is difficult at the best of times, but plus-size models face a different kind of negativity and critique. You’ll need thick skin and lots of self-worth to succeed.
You don’t need any experience to get started; get some high-quality photos taken showing you in your best light, and send them out to as many agencies as possible (most have an online application form that can be found with a quick internet search).
What Are Plus-Size Model Requirements?
Requirements for plus-size models depend on the agency; often they are looking for models who are fairly tall and in proportion with good, photogenic faces. It’s really important to have a good attitude and strong work ethic, and you’ll need to be comfortable in your own skin. You’ll need to be good in front of the camera and understand lighting/your best angles.