Thursday Trends: Plus-Size Models in Mainstream Media

Tess Munster (Bustle)

Tess Munster (Bustle)

It’s safe to say that plus-size models are having a moment in the spotlight right now. The fashion industry has finally cottoned on to the fact that most women are not a size -2 (which is rarely found in nature), but that more “normal”-sized women representative of the American public might want to see themselves depicted (and desired!). And the inclusion will also sell more for said fashion companies, so it’s a win-win all around.

We can trace this development to late last year, when the Pirelli calendar unveiled its 2015 edition. Candice Huffine made history as the first plus-size model to grace the legendary calendar’s pages. She broke a tradition stemming from 1964 of using the usual thin models to usher in a new year and a new outlook on beauty standards.

Speaking of beauty standards (more like #effyourbeautystandards), plus-size model/retro bombshell Tess Munster (now Tess Holliday) recently became the first plus-size model to sign with the U.K.’s MiLK Model Management. She’s now the first plus-size model signed to a mainstream agency, in the Curves division, and the first one within Curves above a size 20 (she’s a 22 and stands at 5 ft. 5 in.). Munster cuts a distinctive figure, with bright red wavy hair, alabaster skin and lots of tattoos. She’s been around for awhile, and was named a top plus-size model in the world by “Vogue Italia” in 2013. That same year, the “body positive activist” began the aforementioned hashtag to encourage women to love their bodies at any and every size. She also participated a video in which she and other plus-size models recreated Beyoncé’s music video for “***Flawless,” called “#everyBODYisflawless.”

Fashion blogger/model Nadia Aboulhosn was one of these models. She’s gained attention and press for her fashion prowess that’s all about the street style. The half-Lebanese stunner first drew notice when she won American Apparel’s XL Model Search in 2011.

Perhaps the most mainstream seal of approval, “Sports Illustrated” selected a plus-size model for this year’s Swimsuit Issue: Model Robin Lawley is a size 12. Lawley had previously been on the cover of Australian “Vogue,” as the first plus-size model, and was the first plus-size face of Ralph Lauren in 2012. But even though she’s plus-size by fashion industry standards, she still looks…well, like a normal tall, curvy girl. Like a model.

Let’s hope that plus-size women gaining visibility in the fashion world isn’t a one-time trend, and eventually becomes an unremarkable norm encompassing diverse shapes and sizes.

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