Inspiration July 5, 2018
These models are changing the game one photo at a time.
You’ve probably heard of Ashley Graham, the first plus size model to make the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition, designer of her own swimsuit line and model extraordinaire. This supermodel blazed the path for other plus size models, of which there are many! Below are twelve curve and plus size models who shoe through their work—in and out of the studio—that being plus size is not a detriment and that every body is beautiful.
You may remember seeing British model Iskra Lawrence in Aerie’s unretouched campaign. Since then she has become Aerie’s #AerieREAL Role Model, and is a brand ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association. BBC also included her in their Top 100 Most Influential Women for 2016.
Tabria Majors is a model changing the game. From being featured in Sports Illustrated’s 2018 Swimsuit Edition, to having worked for numerous large retailers (think Forever 21 and FashionNova), Tabria is taking the model world by storm. If you follow her on social media, you may remember her from an explosive photographic critique on Victoria Secret and their lack of plus size representation. She also spoke out about sex positivity, and the need for women to feel comfortable with their sexuality.
Body positivity activist Hunter McGrady was also featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition, this time in 2017. Shortly after shooting for SI, Hunter felt inspired to create a curvy swimsuit line. The line focuses on giving plus size ladies the same range of swimsuit options as straight sized women.
Hayley Hasselhoff is the daughter of famous Baywatch actor and producer David Hasselhoff. Hayley began her modeling career at 14, and has since worked with multiple plus size clothing brands. She was on the cover of SLiNK, a U.K.-based magazine. At the moment she is a columnist for the Curve column in Marie Claire UK.
Denise Bidot is a Puerto Rican-Kuwaiti model based in the United States. She has worked with many major fashion brands including Forever 21, Levi’s Jeans, Nordstrom, Macy’s and more. In 2014 Denise broke barriers in the fashion world by walking in multiple runways at New York Fashion Week. Since then she has walked in shows in the United States and Europe. Denise is a vocal beauty activist, and is a mother to her 8-year-old daughter, Joselyn.
Jessica Leahy is an Australian-based curve model who, as her celebrity rose, noticed a need to have an honest conversation about being comfortable in your own skin. In response, she and five other models directed and edited a YouTube series entitled Project WomanKIND. The series aims to “highlight and celebrate the lives, journeys and achievements of women. We are here to encourage women to be KIND to themselves and each other.”
Precious Victoria Lee is a classic example of a model who was pressured to change herself at the start of her career. In a Time article, Precious discusses how her first agency pressured her to use the name “Victoria” in her professional life, and she struggled with trying to represent someone she didn’t identify with. Precious has since signed with a different agency. She was also featured as part of Lane Bryant’s #I’mNoAngel campaign.
Danika Brysha is not only a plus-size model, but she also focuses on her various entrepreneurial pursuits. After constantly struggling with bulimia and a food addiction, Danika began creating healthy, body-positive meals. After seeing the success her meals had on her own mental and physical wellbeing, Danika launched Model Meals—pre-made delivered meals that are meant to allow customers to become their model selves. Danika has since returned to modeling, and models for brands such as Old Navy, Macy’s, Benefits Cosmetics and more. She continues to advocate for healthy eating and appears in the media promoting this mission.
This L.A native was the first model of her size to be signed for a major modeling agency. Tessa Holliday has been modeling since 2010 and in 2013 she began the beauty positivity movement #effyourbeautystandards. She is also the author of The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin Your In. She recently had her second child, and is using her platform as a plus model to combat stereotypes of plus size mothers.
Barbie Ferreira is a Brazilian-American model born and raised in New York City. She was spotted while working at American Apparel as a sales associate. IMG Models quickly signed her and now she has appearances in multiple magazines and media outlets. She has modeled for brands like Lane Bryant and Aerie. In the past, she has spoken up about the role that labels (plus size, fat, curvy) have on women’s self-image.
It’s not often that you find a professional model that designs her own clothes as well! Nadia Aboulhosn does just that. This designer/model/blogger is avid on social media, having her own website as well as her own fashion brand, by Nadia Aboulhosn.
This U.K.-based model of Ghanaian descent isn’t just any regular model. Interestingly, before starting her career she completed both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. As one of the few black U.K. plus-size models, Philomena has spoken about how she would like to use her platform to educate people about health care discrepancies in Ghana and West Africa.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about each of these models, don’t forget to follow them on Instagram! You can get the pop of body positivity that you need to start your day by following the fierce women on this list. You will also support a part of the modeling industry that is extremely underrepresented.
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