Philomena Kwo on inclusivity: You're not diverse if you only have one plus-size white model.
According to Philomena Kwao, she has Lupita Nyong’o to thank for her career getting off the ground.
First scouted in London in 2012 as she was wrapping up her master’s degree in international health management and policy, Kwao says no one cared about her look as a dark-skinned, short-haired black woman.
“When I first came to New York [in 2013], I didn’t work at all,” Kwao said in an interview with Mic. “I came over as a dark-skinned woman, a plus-size woman and I had my head completely shaved. They weren’t quite sure what brands wanted to do with me. For the commercial plus-size industry, they always wanted a girl next door look, but then I remember Lupita [Nyong’o] became famous and she really, really changed how beauty was perceived. I was here for almost a year before I was booked. Then Lupita came and all of a sudden I was booked.”
10 Influencers on how they are redifining Sexy
"I don't really use the term sexy. I don't dress to be sexy; I dress to be confident and to be myself. And I feel like myself whenever I have some fishnets and boots on. Sexy isn't always about tight...
Diana Veras is more than just another model. Body positive pioneer and campaigner for racial diversity, the Dominica-born beauty is leading the youthful charge redefining outdated standards of beauty and using social media to open up new conversations about the industry. For i-D Beauty Week she shares her 10 step guide to feeling beautiful and loving yourself just the way you are.
This past weekend, Iskra Lawrence took the stage in Reno to give her first-ever TED talk as part of TEDxUNR. While it may seem like just another day in the life of a top model, we can assure you it's quite a big deal—Lawrence is now one of a select few models to give one of the talks (only Ashley Graham, Cameron Russell, and Geena Rocero preceded her). But let's be clear: Lawrence is no stranger to giving a motivational speech. She's wowed crowds at Glamour's Women of the Year Live Summit, Refinery29's Every Body Beautiful Symposium, and various National Eating Disorder Association gatherings. When TED caught wind of the latter, they reached out to get her on their stage ASAP.
Thanks to the likes of Iskra Lawrence, Jennie Runk, Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley—and a more self-aware society focused more on positive body image—plus-sized models becoming more of the norm, one name who has been turning heads is Bree Warren.
Warren, a native of the eastern Queensland coastal city of Brisbane, Australia, has appeared on the cover of Australian-based health and fitness magazine, Body + Soul and featured in others such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Marie Claire, modeled for brands such as Tigerlily Swimwear, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Saks and most recently Adore Me’s new fitness line, Adore Me Fitness, she is a game-changer in the ever-changing world of plus-size modeling.
Veteran spokeswoman Blake Lively appears, but so do plenty of newcomers, including models like Hari Nef, Xiao Wen Ju, and curve models Sabina Karlsson and Marquita Pring.
You may have already seen Helen Mirren’s ad, which starts with her saying “Washed up? Never.” Watch a snippet of Sabina Karlsson’s skin story commercial below.
MODEL PHILOMENA KWAO ON WHAT THE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS TO DO TO FINALLY ADDRESS ITS DIVERSITY PROBLEM
Whether using her platform as a model to advocate for greater diversity in the industry or assisting women in war-torn countries through her work with Women for Women International, Philomena Kwao hopes to empower women of all types and all backgrounds to succeed and feel good about themselves. Next month, you can see Kwao appear in a new documentary, Straight/Curve, that looks at the models and fashion industry insiders working to promote diversity in the field. Kwao talks more about this topic and how it relates to women's mental and physical health and well-being below.
Iskra Lawrence is refreshingly unfiltered. So much so that, 15 minutes into our lunch at Tavern on the Green in New York City’s Central Park, when she says, “I enjoy dancing around in my underwear,” it’s not the first personal detail she’s shared. The 26-year-old British model is referring, in part, to a recent Instagram video in which she turns a vacuuming session into a dance party, booty-dropping in short-shorts while serenading her Dyson to Tory Lanez’s “LUV.” Her mega-popular account is filled with charmingly candid posts like this one, showing Lawrence doing squats at the gym, goofing off on-set, and hanging out at the beach, all while flaunting her “tiger stripe stretch marks” and “cellulite lightning bolts,” as she calls them. In a landscape of imagery that can feel out of reach, Lawrence is the picture of authenticity. “My thighs are great!” she says with a smile. “You don’t always need to be this flawless female with amazing skin and done hair. Perfect doesn’t exist. We need to see real women’s bodies.”
Plus-size model Philomena Kwao, who recently appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and has modeled for brands like Torrid, is on a mission to make sure no one forgets just how hard it is to be a black woman and in need of some quality makeup.
In a recent video for i-D, Kwao speaks with the model Iman about the struggles of being a black model in a makeup chair, working with a makeup artist who is clearly clueless about how to deal with darker skin.
Aerie, the intimate apparel that sits under American Eagle Outfitters, has signed model Iskra Lawrence to an exclusive swim and intimate apparel campaign deal for 2017.
“Our models and values completely align,” said Lawrence of her new partnership with Aerie. “We both hope that we can work toward letting every young woman love herself inside and out. It’s become our mission. It’s the core of the brand and it’s the core of what I try to do with my career.”
Lawrence is no Aerie newbie. The 26-year-old plus-size model, who hails from England, has been a part of the company’s body inclusive, nonretouched campaigns for the past few years, but now she will dedicate more of her time to the brand. For example, she appeared at an in-store fitness event over the weekend at Aerie’s new concept shop in New York City.
Iskra Lawrence isn’t sample size, but the size-10 model isn’t shy about showing off her body. A billboard of her in a skimpy monokini for the lingerie brand Aerie is currently on display in Times Square. Last week, she hopped on a southbound A train, stripped down to her underwear and gave commuters an impromptu lecture about body diversity.
“I am passionate about body image, and it’s important to show I am confident about my body,” Lawrence told the Post of her subway exposure, which she did for the feminist Internet video series #Unmuted.
The Swedish curvy model Sabina Karlsson is making roads in the fashion world. She recently appeared in several advertising campaigns and marched during the fashion week in New York , but her modeling career can be said to be very first started, at the tender age of 4 years.
Can we talk about the ultimate dream life for a second? Dream life = being handed a whole collection of swimwear, and taking it to one of your favourite Sydney beaches for a day of fun in the sun. Travel blogger and plus-size model Bree Warren did just that. Warren has teamed up with Tigerlily (only one of our favourite Australian swimwear labels) to showcase the new collection as it drops into stores.
The new collection features bohemian prints and embellishments, but we want to know, is what Warren looks for when shopping for a new bikini. Shopping for a swimsuit is probably one of the most dreaded fashion tasks, so any advice we can get, we take.
“I didn’t want my first runway to be a plus-sized show,” Iskra Lawrence, walking for Chromat at New York Fashion Week, said backstage at the show while getting her makeup done. “So this really was the perfect show for me.” Lawrence has had a unique career trajectory. After being a competitive swimmer at a young age, her start in modeling got rocky when her body began to develop. Widening hips got her dropped by her agency, and as her body continued to develop — taking her out of fashion’s defined statistics for “straight” size models but not rising to the level of plus — possible agents began to discourage her, saying she’d never find work.
13 Curvy Models You Need To Know
Body positivity is at an all-time high right now, both in the world and in the fashion industry. But there's still a long way to go. There are a slew of beautiful, curvy models out there who are just as fierce and fabulous as those who are most frequently cast to strut down the catwalk during Fashion Weeks all over the world and ad campaigns.
My story is one of up and downs. It's made up of tastes of success, and a lot more rejection. And before I ultimately learned to grow confident and love myself from the inside out, I let the low points win. Like virtually all of the women I know, I spent my teenage years battling with my body and feeling I wasn’t good enough. A lot of that negativity is because I was pursuing a career in modeling and was told countless times that my body was too big. My hips and thighs were too wide. So, I went on extreme diets, obsessed over calorie counting, kept up excessive exercise, and dealt with body dysmorphia so badly I would Google surgeries that would make my calves smaller—all to try to change my body into something it wasn't meant to be. I may have been at my thinnest then, but I was the most unhealthy I've ever been.
Another major player in the body positive movement is English beauty Iskra Lawrence. She’s one of the ladies featured in the widely popular Aerie Real campaign and, moreover, she’s someone everyone should be following on Instagram. Like Tess, who started the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag, Iskra regularly posts inspirational and super real messages to her followers. Whether she’s talking about loving her belly rolls or embracing her curvy thighs, she serves as a constant (and often necessary) reminder that beauty is not defined by one body type.
Diana Veras, 20 — better known as @mynamesdiana — is killing the game right now with over 200,000 social media followers, and a contract with Jag Models.
We sat down with Diana to hear her thoughts on diversity in the modeling industry, what it’s been like for her starting out, why she thinks its important to wear a necklace with the word “feminist,” and why she thinks Instagram models should get more respect.
Curvy Women Are Not Featured Enough in the World of Beauty Modeling
Historically, models have rarely been representative of the average woman. More frequently than not, since the advertising industry began marketing products in the mid-20th century, models have often displayed the same uniform features: proportional faces and bodies, glowing skin, sharp cheekbones, and flowing locks of hair.
It's no surprise why models have looked a certain way: advertisers want models to appear perfect so that the consumer has a goal, a standard to aspire to. By preying on the customers' insecurities, advertisers suggest that one requires their product to be beautiful — or more latently, to look like the posing model. But more recently — particularly in the fashion industry — agencies have been hiring more diverse models, and brands have been booking more women who represent what we actually look like.
On July 5, 1946, French designer and engineer Louis Réard dove into the swimwear industry, fashioning a garment "smaller than the world’s smallest bathing suit." In a nod to the U.S. military’s nuclear tests at Marshall Islands' Bikini Atoll, Réard dubbed the explosive release the "bikini." The rest is, as they say, history.
In the 70 years since the bikini's debut, the garment has shed its association with scandal, becoming standard wear for beachgoers everywhere. In celebration of the two-piece, we decided to take a walk down memory lane and remember some of the most memorable shots of celebrities living their best lives in swimsuits.
Philomena Kwao is always dressed to kill, but the plus-sized model gave us LIFE when she debuted this coral, ripple-print two-piece. And as if she wasn’t already oozing #blackgirlmagic, the British Ghanaian beauty’s traditional African print head wrap left us spellbound.
A photo of Philomena Kwao elicits a guttural “oof,” as in she’s so pretty it kind of hurts. Her eyes are serene but lively, her cheekbones and forehead elevated and her round chin narrow. Her look is distinctive, but not so much so that it distracts. In other words, Ms. Kwao has a face made for makeup — to show off its transformative power and the skill of its artists.
But she and other “plus-size” models like her are largely ignored by the beauty industry.
SPOT ON: 4 MODELS DISH ON ACCEPTING (AND ACCENTING) THEIR FRECKLES
In a world where conformity is no longer a prerequisite for beauty, individual details are all the rage. The latest feature to steal the spotlight? Freckles. No longer considered an imperfection, women of all walks of life are choosing to embrace—not erase—their marks. For proof, we caught up with four major models who all agree: When it comes down to it, freckles can be yourbest accessory. Get ready to embrace (and admire) your hot spots!
Freckles are known as your signature look. At what point did you truly begin to embrace them?
Sabina Karlsson: Growing up, I never really paid too much attention to my freckles. It was more when I started working as a model full-time, people started liking them. Now, they’re a part of me.
While you may recognize Iskra Lawrence as the face of #AerieReal and for making headlines with her social media posts calling out body shamers, she is also the managing editor at RunwayRiot, an inclusive fashion and beauty blog. The site just debuted its first-ever editorial featuring Iskra and other models of all sizes completely unretouched. They're all pictured in athletic clothing, a particularly significant detail considering models who aren't straight-sized are often criticized for "promoting" an unhealthy lifestyle. As we've seen before, a "fit" person doesn't look one way.
In her teen years and early 20s, Fiona Falkiner was convinced her weight stood in the way of her living a happy life.
“There were so many things that I was just too scared or too embarrassed or didn’t think I was fit enough to do,” Falkiner recalls.
RunwayRiot’s Unretouched Body Positive Squad Fashion Editorial Featuring Universally Sized Clothes
Welcome to RunwayRiot’s first ever group editorial, featuring a powerhouse cast of gamechanging body positive megababes: RunwayRiot’s own Iskra Lawrence joins Chloé Véro, Laney Degrasse,Chloe Marshall, Victoria Gomez, Ash Walker, Fiona Falkiner, and Michelle Vawer.
Gary Darkin co-founder of JAG models put together the cast of characters to make for one inclusive girl gang. Suiting these women up in activewear makes sense — they are all actively working to raise awareness about body image. Watch them power walk, stretch, chill out, and just slay the game in general below, you know, if mega cool confident baes stunting and supporting each other are your thing.
Philomena Kwao holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a masters degree in global health management.
Oh, and she’s a super successful model. But for the humanitarian and human advocate, her career as a model came almost by accident.
She was finishing up her degree, when she entered a new face contest that her friend entered her in — and she won.
Jennie Runk certainly isn't afraid to put body positivity in the spotlight. In fact, she recently Instagrammed her unapologetically squishy belly. But for the 26-year-old model, pursuing a life in the fashion industry also means dealing with a similarly taboo, but less visible, subject — social anxiety.
The H&M and Vogue model talks beauty & gets real about the fashion industry’s problem with size.
We've heard plenty of ridiculous claims in the beauty industry. But the number-one assertion? Long-wear. Whether they're marketed as sweat-proof, waterproof, smudge-proof, or budge-proof, products are routinely stamped with the 24-hour-wear promise.
A COMMITMENT TO UNRETOUCHED IMAGES LANDED MODEL ISKRA LAWRENCE THE CAREER OF HER DREAMS
Even a blind person would be able to tell that Iskra Lawrence is gorgeous. Obviously, there's the looks — the beachy-blonde mermaid hair, the megawatt smile, the sparkling eyes — but there's also a lovely energy radiating off of her. Between an infectious giggle and an endlessly-positive attitude, she's like the walking embodiment of the expression "beautiful inside and out." And of course, there's that body.
"We're seeing a great acceptance of girls in all different sizes, which is really exciting," noted Gary Dakin, the former head of Ford's now-shuttered plus division who in 2013 co-founded modeling agency JAG, which represents women of all sizes. "It's not something that was happening in our day at Ford."
"My body is my home and it's all mine. I feel especially strong and badass when my body allows me to achieve something that I've worked hard for. I love challenging and pushing myself and seeing what my body is capable of. And I definitely feel sexy all the time—that's a state of mind when you are confident and comfortable with yourself and your body." - Iskra Lawrence, Model and Body Pos Activist
Kwao, who's from the U.K., earned a degree in economics and a master's in global health management (NBD) before getting her start as a model when a friend entered her into a competition back in 2012. Since signing with JAG Models in New York City and Models 1 in London, Kwao has become a face of Torrid, walked in the groundbreaking 2014 Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant runway show, and appeared in the "Swimsuits for All" spread in Sports Illustrated's 2016 swimsuit issue. Kwao, whose family is from Ghana, is also an activist, currently working with Women for Women International, an organization dedicated to helping women rebuild their lives after conflict and war.
Why I Use Humor to Deal with Body Shamers
As a model, I feel a responsibility to support young girls and boys who struggle with body image and self-esteem. Words and images deeply impact the way we view our bodies, and the consequences can be very damaging.
The problem starts early, with 40% to 60% of elementary school girls expressing concern about their weight. At an age when children should be imagining, playing and learning, it’s a sad reality that they feel pressure early in life to look a certain way. With the rise of social media and cyber bullying, this problem is becoming more and more serious—so much so that 65% of people with eating disorders say bullying contributed to their condition.
The model Philomena Kwao wears a mix of pastels and brights for an on-trend counterpoint to the no-makeup makeup look.
Some of the spring 2016 fashion shows suggested a colorful counterpoint to “no-makeup makeup.” Chanel models wore dusted-on masks of icy blue. Makeup at Roksanda and Alexis Mabille relied on a sea-foam palette. And at Giambattista Valli, the makeup artist Val Garland popped neon pink, green and blue onto the brow bone.
Iskra Lawrence, an Aerie model, had a powerful response to those body shaming her on her Instagram. She staged a photo shoot, inspired by comments that plus-size models promote obesity, that "everyone needs to stop eating McDonald's" and "people like her [eat] too many bags of crisps [the British word for chips]."
Thurday Thunder is back with a bangin’ babe! Meet Maria Merckens (24). She is a mix of a Dutch dad and a Surinamese mom, considers herself an island girl after living in the Carribean for years and has been modeling fulltime since last year. What is her view on body love and self acceptance?
Philomena Kwao joined the chorus of women calling out the cosmetic industry with her powerful blog - ‘Is My Black Not Beautiful‘.
The London-born, New York-based plus size model and campaigner is tired of dark skinned black women being “left behind” in the fashion and beauty world - and she’s here to help change things.
Speaking to The Huffington Post UK, 26-year-old Kwao lays out her plan for how “diversity needs to be addressed across every platform,” and shares the secrets to her bold new take on self-confidence.
Welcome to Talking Body, a series where we have honest conversations with women about their bodies. Up this week: Christine Johansen, a JAG model who just recently moved to New York and has been in campaigns for Benetton and Violeta by Mango. Here, the model sounds off on the importance of representing her body type in the fashion industry after being told for so long she had to be "straight" sized. Now, Johnansen is neither straight size (meaning the sample size 0-4s we tend to see on the runways) nor plus size, but her (natural!) size that's somewhere in between―and she's working more than ever.
The Natural Afro Hair Products Model Sabina Karlsson LOVES
When Sabina Karlsson talks afro haircare, we listen. The curve model (and Instagram sensation) has a mane to die for, and it turns out the upkeep is easier than you think.
We asked Sabina to spill on her go-to haircare products, and that one time she went blonde…
Our latest models and muses Diana Veras and Paige Elkington don’t go to the party–they are the party.
Say hello to Diana Veras and Paige Elkington, serious dancing queens and our current girl crushes. Diana is a NYC-based model breaking industry standards; Paige is an actor and political activist uprooting the system from L.A. And they’re both fire on the dance floor. Since spring is party kick-off season, we’re honoring your insane Google cal with pro tips from two heartthrobs whose idea of a good time is never selling out on who you are.
5 Plus-Size Models Transforming the Way We Look at Beauty
From the days of trailblazers like Kate Dillon and Sophie Dahl onward, plus-size models have occupied a unique position within fashion. Challenging expectations on the runways and broadening the industry’s view of beauty, these women do much more than sell clothes. Often enlisted to speak about body image, representation, and the politics of being in front of the camera, they inspire debate and change.
#IAmAMogul, Model and Activist, Philomena Kwao
talking body positivity, racial diversity and the problem with plus size labels with model diana veras
Growing up surrounded by images of blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauties, and yet none of women that resembled anything close to herself, Diana Veras always felt inadequate. Born in a small town in the Dominican Republic, she moved to New York City when she was seven years old, and has lived there and loved it ever since. After all, it was here where she was first scouted to be a model, after being cast by Douglas Perrett in the Chloé Sevigny x Opening Ceremony show. Since then the 20-year-old has modelled for Me + You and #mycalvins, and currently stars in Carly Rae Jepson's video for Boy Problems, directed by bff, Petra Collins. But it's Diana's views on body positivity and on loving yourself unconditionally that has made her the role model she is today.
‘I’m So Much Happier As A Curvy Model’: Sabina Karlsson On Why Milk Tastes Better Than Skinny
Sabina Karlsson is beautiful – the kind of pretty that makes you scroll 68 weeks deep into Sabina Karlsson's Instagram, double tapping every single selfie. And when you meet the 5ft 11in Swedish model IRL, all curly ginger hair and freckled face, it’s crazy to think that ten years ago she was being told she was ‘too heavy’ to be a model.
Back in 2007, Sabina was a willowy American size 2 (UK size 6), but struggled to stick to the strict diet she needed to maintain those ‘straight size’ measurements. Now? Sabina is back to her natural weight, and happier than ever. We caught up with Sabina to talk all things curvy, and her problem with the term plus-size.
Meet Game Changer Bree Warren
There a lot of perks to working at Lorna Jane (wearing activewear to work, taking squat breaks instead of coffee breaks and working alongside our fearless leader Lorna Jane Clarkson everyday), but spending the day hanging out with Bree Warren definitely took a ‘just another day in the office’ to the next level. Meeting this beguiling beauty was definitely one of those pinch yourself moments, but it wasn’t because of her fame. We’ve always been in awe of everything this fearless woman represents… strength, femininity, health, confidence, happiness, determination, hard work and kindness, and meeting her in the flesh definitely didn’t disappoint. She is the epitome of what it means to be a Lorna Jane girl, and we wanted to know more! So meet game changer, Bree Warren!
Bree Warren: Dropping the Term "Plus Size" Won't Fix the Problem
I never expected to be a model. It was not a career I ever thought would be possible! I was scouted quite a few times as a teenager because I was so tall and a lot thinner then, in school, when I was playing so many sports, but I thought if I wanted to model properly I would have to be on a strict diet and lose a lot of weight and my body was just never going to be that way. It wasn't until I was at university in Australia and I saw Robyn Lawley—Robyn's Australian, too—I saw her in a bit of press and that was when it also sort of snowballed for me. It wasn't until the whole idea of "plus-size" came up that modeling was something that I thought, "You know, I can do this."
Philomena Kwao: I Used to Think Being Beautiful Meant Being Lighter-Skinned
I grew up in London and I didn't really understand the big deal with Sports Illustrated. It's not a really big magazine in the UK, but there was a model that I really looked up to, her name is Damaris Lewis, and I found Sports Illustrated swimsuit pictures of hers. I remember she wasn't as thin as the other girls, and she had a beautiful rich skin tone like my own, and she became one of my role models. That's when I thought, This is something I'd like to be in in the future. Just to be in the pages for me is self-affirming because I didn't realize that I myself could be a swimsuit model. It's a magazine that has for so long set the standards of what it means to be 'beach ready' or what it means to look good in a bikini, and they're breaking down the definitions that they themselves set and they're becoming more attuned to body positivity.
Aerie's Newest Model Sends a Powerful Message About Self Confidence
Aerie's ad campaigns have been all about empowering women to embrace who they are — no retouching necessary! — and their latest #AerieREAL Role Model is the embodiment of that movement.
British-born Iskra Lawrence is more than just another unretouched model: She's a NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) activist. By choosing her as a campaign star, Aerie sends the message that they're more committed than ever to body positivity.
For Iskra, part of being an #AerieREAL Role Model will be touring the country, stopping at Aerie stores in college towns to share her message of positivity — like this one, in her first video with the brand.
MEET MODEL PHILOMENA KWAO: PROOF THAT BEAUTY AND BRAINS CAN COEXIST
Model/humanitarian Philomena Kwao is not only changing the way we view beauty, but is also slowly altering the way all young people view themselves via her charitable endeavor The Lily Project, which pairs mentors with young woman who can receive advice and ask questions via an online chat. In addition to modeling in campaigns for brands like Torrid and Nordstrom and killing it on all aspects of social media, the British-Ghanaian beauty also holds a Master's Degree in International Health Management. We chatted with Philomena about everything from industry labels to the modeling misconceptions.
Iskra Lawrence: "In My Head, My Body Was Holding Me Back From My Dreams"
I dreamt of being an Aerie model before I came to New York. That was one of the main reasons I came to New York and wanted to get signed. I had it on my vision board and thought, "Oh my goodness, that would be the coolest thing, to be part of #AerieReal." It's everything I believe in. The no-photoshop policy is incredible. Women want to see unretouched women. Any images that I've had retouched, I look at them, and I think, "Oh I actually don't want that." That's why I don't share them on Instagram. I ask the photographers to send me unretouched pictures, and a lot of the time they won't. They refuse to because they have that idea in their mind that beauty has to be perfect. It has to be flawless. That's not the case. I think unretouched images are even more beautiful.
Size 14 Model Iskra Lawrence Is the Newest Face of Aerie’s Unretouched Campaign
American Eagle announced in 2014 that, in an effort to present more realistic role models for teens, it would not be using Photoshop to retouch images for its new Aerie lingerie campaign, #AerieREAL. However, up until the brand’s recent decision to name curvy model Barbie Ferreira as the face of its upcoming swimwear collection, the campaign had yet to feature any models that fit the so-called “plus-size” label.
Who Are The Models For Beth Ditto's Clothing Line? You Might Recognize These Babes
The day has finally come. Beth Ditto's clothing line has officially dropped. And as I browse through the amazing lookbook, I just have to ask: Who are the models for Beth Ditto's fashion collection? Well, it seems that Ditto has chosen two vocal members of the plus size modeling and body positive communities. If you have an Instagram account, there's a chance you might've come across the pair in the last couple of months. Maybe that's how Ditto found these two babes, considering she often uses her own Instagram page to celebrate those in the plus size fashion industry.
New Aerie face Iskra Lawrence leads plus-sized models throwing fashion a curve
While big babes have made leaps and bounds in the business, there’s been plenty of bumps along the way.
Before being named Aerie’s newest model, Lawrence says she was constantly criticized about her size. A stylist at her first fashion show snapped, “Why do we have this fat model here? What are we going to do with her?”
She was 15 years old.
“Those moments are soul-destroying,” says Lawrence, now 25.
She tried extreme diets like Beyonce’s lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup cleanse to slim down, which led to disordered eating. Her career turned around once she accepted that her body is a shape and size that will never fit a certain idealized standard of beauty that’s been sent down runways for decades.
Iskra Lawrence Is Aerie’s Gorgeous New Plus-Size Spokesmodel
Iskra Lawrence is an absolutely stunning plus-size model. The 25-year-old British model, who wears a size 14, is an amazing advocate for body confidence. Her Instagram account is full of body positive messages and self-love, which over 1 million followers adore about her. She constantly posts unretouched pictures of herself in a bikini online to help show other women out there that all bodies are beautiful. She helped create the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Inspires Seal of Approval campaign, which aims to “recognize those companies and individuals who are striving to make a difference.” And she’s the managing editor for Runway Riot, a fashion, style, and beauty site for women of all sizes.
A Lingerie Brand Offers Real Women as (Role) Models
Attempts to move away from airbrushing in advertising have ebbed and flowed over the last decade, but at a time when even Barbie now comes in petite, tall and curvy, more retailers are turning to authentic-looking women to market their products.
One of them is Aerie, the intimate-apparel brand owned by American Eagle Outfitters, which features women of varying body types in its marketing campaigns to promote a positive body image. To underscore the point, the company will begin a social media campaign this week to support the National Eating Disorders Association.
Size 14 Model Iskra Lawrence Gets Super Emotional In New Aerie Campaign Video
Aerie is on a roll. First, the lingerie brand tapped curve model Barbie Ferreira to star in its upcoming swimwear collection campaign, and now it's just been announced that size-14 model Iskra Lawrence is the brand's newest spokesmodel. YAY!
Sabina Karlsson: I'm So Much Happier as a Size 14 Than As a Size 2
I started off as a "straight-size" model, as the industry calls it. I started modeling when I was four, and obviously the industry didn't require me to be skinny at the time, but when I turned 17 that's when it started for me. I had to lose weight, and one of my goals was to keep my measurements down, even going down to a size 2, just to fit in the world of skinnier models. I was constantly just fighting against my body. It wasn't natural for me to be that skinny. It was even hard for me socially. I couldn't hang out with my friends if I wanted. Even if we went out to dinner, I had to bring my own food to make sure that I'm staying on my diet.
Iskra Lawrence Named AerieReal Role Model
Intimates and loungewear brand Aerie wants young women to love who they are.
The brand has named Iskra Lawrence, an #AerieReal girl, its new #AerieReal Role Model. The British-born Lawrence, a National Eating Disorder Association advocate, has appeared in unretouched Aerie Real intimates, loungewear and swim campaigns since 2014. Lawrence is an advocate for young women to love their real selves, including acceptance of their bodies.
Plus-size model Philomena Kwao laments the lack of black women in fashion, as she reveals she used whitening soap because she thought 'beauty meant lighter skin'
It truly seems like the plus-size industry is making major strides in the media — but according to Philomena Kwao, it still has a long way to go.
The 26-year-old Ghanaian-British model says that in spite of the growing acceptance of curvy women in the fashion and modeling worlds, curvy women with her deep, dark skin tone are still largely left out of the picture. 'I think that the plus-size industry has been great with size diversity, but it hasn't really been great for skin tone diversity,' she told Elle.com 'I still feel segregation along skin tone.'
Philomena Kwao on diversity in fashion: 'There isn’t one kind of beauty'
Dressed to kill in a jumpsuit and hip-rolling to Teknomile’s Duros on the L train, plus-size model Philomena Kwao, 26, is the ultimate carefree black girl. And at a statuesque 5’10, with cheekbones crafted by the deities of West Africa and the meanest TWA this side of the Atlantic, the British Ghanaian beauty is also the perfect canvas — a canvas that is finally getting its golden debut in Sports Illustrated.
Introducing ELLE.com's New Series: "Talking Body" - Body Positive Movement
Today we introduce "Talking Body," a new series on ELLE.com where we have honest conversations with women at the forefront of the industry's body image shift. We're kicking it off with JAG, a revolutionary modeling agency that represents models of all sizes. The models on its roster are walking examples of the change the industry needs. To that end, the agency is launching a new promo that will showcase the models' personalities and giving us a sneak peek of their photos in this series. We'll be tackling the big questions up front: How do they feel about the term "plus size"? What kinds of insecurities does someone with the job title "model" have? What are the misconceptions about non-straight-size models? Tune in each week to see a new face get candid.
Talking Body: Georgina Burke Interview
I started [modeling] in London, but my career really only kicked off when I moved to New York. I've been in New York for the last five years—people were more accepting of my size in the States.
I would say my body is definitely 'curvy,' obviously, but I don't really use words exactly to describe it. It's more…it is what it is. It is curvy. It's got its lumps and its bumps but that's what gives it character. Honestly, I don't feel anything towards the word 'plus-size.' It doesn't affect me. All I worry about is that it affects other people that look to me as inspiration and they're like, she's called 'plus,' so what does that make me? When, really, it's just an industry term. Any label's not a good label.
5 Questions For: Philomena Kwao, Plus-Size Model And Activist
If you are a plus-size woman who has ever done any online shopping at all, there’s a very good chance that you are well acquainted with Philomena Kwao’s stunning face. The London-born, New York-based model is the face of Torrid, and she’s done work for UK retailer Evans and US staple Old Navy, to name but a few. Philomena has also appeared on the pages of Cosmopolitan UK, Essence, and Pride magazines. In addition to her successful modeling career, Philomena holds a master’s degree in International Health Management, and she regularly advocates for global healthcare access. (Click here to read a blog post Philomena wrote for the Huffington Post about her recent work with Women for Women International, an organization that aims to socially and economically empower women in war-torn countries.)
Is My Black Not Beautiful? by Philomena Kwao
I still remember the disappointment to this very day. Before I went to boarding school I had never read a fashion magazine. I grew up on a council estate in London and fashion magazines were a luxury item that weren't even on my mind. The closest I got to a fashion magazine was my cousin's Top of the Pops magazines, where we would learn the lyrics to every song and put posters on our walls. Then I went to boarding school and I was exposed to a very different crowd - one of affluence.
Model Iskra Lawrence's Guide to Loving Your Body
Iskra Lawrence is a model and the Managing Editor of RunwayRiot, a new fashion-focused website that is “dedicated to serving an underrepresented and often overlooked community of curvier women who deserve to have just as many stylish choices as everyone else.”
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
My teenage years were a battle with my body. I didn’t understand why it was changing, or why I couldn’t control it so that it looked like the models I so badly yearned to work alongside.
As soon as I started aspiring to model and absorbing images in glossy magazines, I started comparing my body to others’. This meant I was never happy and, in my eyes, never good enough to be a model. It didn’t help that I was being told by the industry I was too fat, that I couldn’t fit into the samples on shoots or catwalk shows, and that I was subjected to humiliation in front of my peers.
Why This Model Doesn't Want to Be Called an Instagram Model and Won't Retouch Her Photos
Despite the rise in popularity of becoming an "Instagram model" – i.e., someone who makes a living off posting mostly retouched images of themselves plugging products – model Iskra Lawrence, who has 700,000 followers on the app, wants nothing to do with that life.
According to Runway Riot, a fashion and beauty site for women of all sizes that Iskra helps run, the size-14 model was formerly told she was too big to be a straight-size model and not big enough to be plus-size. She's now signed to JAG Models and uses her large Instagram following as a platform to challenge beauty ideals and spread body positive messages.
F*ck The Haters, We Love Iskra Lawrence from Every Angle
Aerie model and Maxim favorite Iskra Lawrence has a New Year's resolution: to be true to herself — especially on Instagram.
"I will keep putting out images that have no retouching [and] no filter," the plus-size beauty wrote in a photo posted to Instagram on New Year's Day. "It's not up to society or the media to tell you that your so called 'flaws' or 'imperfections' aren't beautiful — you are all perfectly imperfect because you are you!"
Why Model Iskra Lawrence Won't Retouch Any Of Her Photos On Instagram
As the world of modeling begins to become more diverse than the usual "straight size versus plus size" industry of the past, models getting involved in social issues are becoming less surprising but no less impactful. Model Iskra Lawrence refusing to retouch her Instagram photos is an example of a bold, body positive move forward against the Photoshopping culture of our mainstream media and society. With all the celebrities called out for poorly Photoshopping Instagram pics, it's a wonder to me that anyone even bothers with the photo editing tool at all anymore.
Congrats on your MAXIM cover, Fiona. Do you feel good?
Thanks! I’m feeling amazing. I never imagined I would ever do anything like this, but I’m feeling really proud and excited to be the first curvy/plus-size woman to feature on a MAXIM cover. Being my first men’s mag shoot, I was pretty excited, and a little nervous, but the team were incredible and made me feel really comfortable.
Did you do any special preparation in the lead up to the shoot?
I did a few extra training sessions per week and also attempted to not drink alcohol for six weeks prior to the shoot. Let’s just say this was a little bit of a fail, but at least I tried!
Are you happy with the results?
I love the shots! The person I am now is happy, healthy and strong and I think this comes through in these photos. I believe it does not matter what size you are and that sexy is a state of mind — I was feeling pretty sexy at this shoot.
And rightly so — you are SEXY and you look extremely fit, too.
Thanks. I feel sexy all the time, be it on a night out with the girls, on a date or even at the gym. I normally train five times a week — I bounce around with the sort of training I do, but at the moment I do a group session of high-intensity training and a few weight sessions per week. I go a little crazy if I don’t train — it is a release for me now.
iskra lawrence defines what it means to be a body image activist
Iskra Lawrence is what you might call a body image activist. But not the kind you're thinking of; unlike the rest of them, Iskra isn't just in it for the likes, nor is she in it for Daily Online column inches. Having being in the industry for over 12 years, having been rejected by her agency when she started developing natural womanly curves (you know the kind we all get when we hit puberty), having suffered from an eating disorder, having been rejected by plus size modelling agencies for being too thin, Iskra knows a thing or two about body shaming. Which is why she's trying to do something about it. Not just calling out individual agencies for their one off mishaps, Iskra has teamed up with the National Eating Disorders Association, of which she is now an ambassador, to create NEDA Inspires Seal of Approval, a globally recognised symbol awarded to companies, brands and individuals who promote a healthy body image and who are striving for change. This year she also helped Stylelite's Dan Abrams set up RunwayRiot, the first online fashion, beauty and shopping site to stock current designer collections for all shapes and sizes, as well as regularly teaching classes on self care and body confidence. In other words she's a hero.
Size Matters - Sabina Karlsson
Size Matters week continues with Sabina Karlsson, the one time Swedish high fashion model who said no to pressure to fight her natural size. One of the many differing and the divine body types to have been showcased in the pages of i-D, we meet Sabina in her adopted New York to talk diversity, her successful return to modelling and the need for fashion to treat models as what they are - human beings.
A New Generation of Body Positive Pioneers
Diana Veras is a role model to hundreds of thousands of young girls. Diana -- who at 19 has already modeled for #mycalvins and Opening Ceremony -- is living proof that size and shape have nothing to do with beauty. What's more, she actively encourages girls to accept who they are no matter what they look like.
How Freckled Black Women Are Rewriting the Pippi Longstocking Mystique
Take the Afro-Swedish model Sabina Karlsson, whose otherworldly freckles left me speechless when we met during New York Fashion Week. Complemented by a tousle of natural red curls and a charming gap-tooth smile, Karlsson is easily rewriting what she calls the “Pippi Longstocking cultural myth” in 2015. Growing up, she couldn’t necessarily pinpoint a freckled beauty icon, but her years spent working as a model eventually helped her to develop a strong appreciation for her own beauty marks. “I love my freckles; they’re a part of me,” she says. “When I see pictures where they’re a bit covered, I don’t recognize myself.”
Meet Iskra Lawrence, the British Model With a Crush on Angela Merkel
Iskra Lawrence already had enough to manage (her modeling career, over a quarter-million loyal Instagram followers, a campaign with Aerie) before signing up to be the managing editor of the new website Runway Riot, which caters to women of size. "For too long, the majority of women have been made to feel inferior by the fashion industry," she wrote in an Instagram post announcing the launch of the site. She vowed that each of her readers "will have a place to go that celebrates you because #everyBODYisbeautiful."
Lawrence talked with Details about everything from her favorite first date to what she'd grab if her house were on fire. Get to know her better here.
Meet Model Iskra Lawrence, Plus-Size Fashion's Newest It Girl-Turned-Fashion Editor
As the spotlight on plus-size fashion gets bigger and brighter, influencers seem to be coming out of the woodwork every day. (Insert clapping hands emoji!)
Let's recap: To kick off November, Rebel Wilson launched her first collection with Torrid. Just last week, Ashley Nell-Tipton became the first plus-size designer to win Project Runway. This week, the December issue of Glamour hits newsstands and celebrates emerging brands making waves like Universal Standard and Mei Smith, which cater to chic women of all sizes. Now, we're is calling the next major news in the field, model Iskra Lawrence.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Size and Love My Body: A Plus-Size Superstar Weighs In
Sabina Karlsson has been turning heads since childhood. Discovered at around the age of 4 in a Swedish hair salon, the vividly red-haired and freckled Karlsson was a successful child model who transitioned into the world of high fashion. And for Karlsson, posing has always been more than just a job. “Modeling has become a part of me. It’s almost like playing a sport: You have people who have been playing soccer their whole lives and they just live and breathe it—that’s how I feel about modeling,” says Karlsson. And though she quickly found success slinking down the runway for designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Betsey Johnson, behind the scenes, her career had become a constant source of stress. Used to embodying the healthy, upbeat aesthetic found in teen magazines, Karlsson found the rigorous physical expectations placed on her as a runway model to be demoralizing, and ultimately dangerous. “My first season when I wanted to go to Milan, they told me that I would have to lose weight,” says Karlsson, who says that she had never been asked to change her physique during her teen modeling years. “It was difficult. Still, I wanted to be able to go to Milan and do shows because I knew that I could do it, and I wanted to prove myself.”
ROOKIE x NYLON
Being the editor of Rookie often means just screaming from the rooftops about the people and things that I love, so I was stoked to choose a handful of people to feature in NYLON’s It-Girl issue. The “It-Girl” has long been associated with trendiness, but that implies some kind of expiration date on her influence. The coolest It-Girls not only capture a cultural moment, but transcend it in time. The It-People you see here—and let’s go with “It-People,” since we have some agender folk here, and “It-People” sounds like a cool science-fiction film—are stylish and rad, but nothing about them is disposable or just a look. What stands out to me in these interviews is how often the topic of confidence comes up, and how these artists of all kinds inspire people just by being themselves and being visible. Rookie Yearbook Four, our latest print compendium, comes out on October 20, featuring many of the babes who contributed here as writers, photographers, and interview subjects. Rashida Jones even wrote a life advice comic for it, and there’s a preview of that here. We hope you enjoy, and glean as much “It” inspiration from these killer queens as possible.
The Body-Inclusive Fashion Site That Doesn't Want To Be Labeled "Plus-Size"
With existing brands expanding their size offerings, and new plus-specific and size-inclusive clothing lines popping up faster than comments on a Kardashian article, it’s a little surprising that it’s taken mass media so long to jump on the body-positive bandwagon. Yes, there have been plus-focused magazines and websites for years now, not to mention the proliferation of plus-size style blogs that seem to sprout up left and right, but when you compare the publications that focus on those who wear a size 14 or above versus publications that focus on the smaller set, the lack of content is painfully obvious. But one website is changing the game (and its own name, too): Fashion site Styleite plans to transform to Runway Riot, a website dedicated to the underrepresented and oft marginalized women of America who just happen to wear bigger sizes.
Meet the Two Curvy Models Redefining Fashion Industry Standards
If you've checked out social media lately, you may have noticed that hashtags like #droptheplus are trending. Body positivity is finally having its moment. and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Lena Dunham are unapologetically owning their curvy figures. For models Toby Cole and Sabina Karlsson (the beauties sporting fall's coolest knits for this story), the conversation couldn't come soon enough.
Sabina, an industry vet at age 27, spent years as a "straight size" model (the term given to girls who generally range in size from 0 to 4) before shifting to the plus division in 2010. "I had been struggling the whole time, because it wasn't natural for me to be that skinny," she recalls. Even then, a casting agent once poked her thighs, deeming them "too thick."
Plus-Size Beauty Iskra Lawrence is Both Gorgeous and Hilarious
The fashion industry can be incredibly picky about model sizes. Industry watchers often call out models when they don't fit certain notions of the ideal body type, and even casting directors tell the beautiful girls to slim down.
But we have to say, we love them all. One of the latest models to make her mark on the industry with good humor and stunning curves is the incredible British bombshell Iskra Lawrence.
Levi's: 5 Different Styles, 30 Spot-On Denim Looks
If we had to choose one item of clothing to live in for the rest of our lives, it would be jeans — and the great thing is, we actually could. They’re the perfect foundation for infinite outfits, and in the right ones, we’ve been known to check ourselves out whenever we pass anything remotely reflective. What makes a pair worthy of committing to ’til death do us part? A fit that makes us feel really, really good about what we’re putting in there.
8 Curvy Models You Need to Know
Sure, these models are drop-dead gorgeous and great at what they do. But they've also got some words of wisdom worth paying attention to.
6 Inspiring Women Redefine Typical Body Types
Since seemingly the dawn of time, women have found their bodies neatly filed away into the same five or six types: apple, pear, hourglass, ruler, even banana (who is a banana? No one is shaped that way). Fashion magazines tell us how to dress for our body types — god forbid you wear a crop top if you don't have a flat stomach. But most people never stop to think about the fact that categorizing the bodies of all 3.5 billion women on this Earth into a few groups is not only reductive, but also potentially insulting.
Meet Iskra Lawrence, the Aerie Model with a Cult Following
Aerie has been taking the lingerie world by storm.
Teen retailer American Eagle's lingerie brand appeals to young women with its curvy models and unretouched images.
As a result of the successful ad campaign, Aerie's sales growth is outpacing that of Victoria's Secret.
Iskra Lawrence is perhaps the most-recognizable Aerie model. She chatted with Business Insider about her experience as a model.
Taking a Dip with Iskra Lawrence
Iskra Lawrence is a total babe, but she struggled to land a spot in fashion editorials. Her body didn’t fit the industry mold for a typical high fashion model. Agents told her she was “too fat to be a model, too short to be a plus size model…” She didn’t back down, and now Iskra is landing huge campaigns.
Friend and photographer Bailey Roberts, alongside stylist Coco Cassibba, took a trip to the watering holes of Woodstock, Upstate New York for a sensual, girly afternoon. Read below as Iskra and Bailey chat about the shifts in the fashion industry, and how that reflects their stance on diversity.
Bree Warren by Ola Ajani for C-Heads
Bree Warren shows off her natural beauty in this C-Heads Exlusive story photographed by Ola Ajani. The Australian born model changing the face of fashion and poses for companies like Asos or Running Bare. She also started a HIS and HERS travel blog called the The Wave Provocateur which is all about tropical destinations.
Georgina Burke Makes the Case for Sexy Whites After Labor Day
Now that the New York Fashion Week circus is in session, it can seem like ugly Christmas sweaters are just around the bend.
But before you mothball your summer whites, look at this Georgina Burke photo and just try and tell us you don’t faint from attraction. Before it gets too nipply, you might consider losing your bra and wearing an open crisp white boss jacket with a window to your chest and soul, a hat suited for a Johnny Depp wedding, and a high-waisted skirt with a slit. Incidentally, it looks like the skirt could also serve as a blanket in case you need to take a nap during a body shaming YouTube video. Seriously, this look is white hot and majorly accessible.
Thank you Georgina Burke for reminding us that there are endless possibilities to look attractive in neutrals after Labor Day.
10 Things to Know About Philomena Kwao
Philomena Kwao is proof that beauty and brains aren't mutually exclusive. After picking her brain on how both the Taj Mahal and Venice are sinking, the history of Easter Island and the Cuban Thaw, we get down to business discussing the state of the modelling industry and how she's challenging society's beauty ideals. You see, Philomena may have a face that could launch a thousand ships, but - as is drummed into everyone in the industry time and again - even if you're beautiful, it's not easy being a model. Especially if you aren't a skinny, blonde bombshell. But times are a-changing.
One Hot Wonder Wednesday: Michelle Vawer
IT'S NO secret that from time-to-time I girl-crush out on one of our models. Like Lucia Dvorska in Turkey. Likewise, this is not the first post I've done on Michelle Vawer who was featured in the 2012 SI Swimsuit Issue and whose time with us was fleeting, but made an impression not only on me but on several others who have asked about her.
Daily Duo: Maria
Intelligent and funny, Dutch girl Maria was scouted by model agent Lanny Zenga on the Caribbean island of St Maarten, where he was as bowled over by her personality as he was with her beauty. From Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Maria, who is signed with JAG Models, has recently spent 3 weeks test shooting in NYC, and is currently back in Europe waiting for her American work visa. With gorgeous eyes, wavy hair and lush curves, Maria can thank her exotically mixed heritage for her look, which combines both romantic softness and serious sensuality. An inventive cook who loves Surinamese cuisine and likes it hot, Maria names dessert as her favourite food, but Hunger by Steve McQueen (and starring Michael Fassbender) as one of her favourite movies. Due back in the US ASAP, Maria will soon be serving up bold babeliness all day, every day.
ISKRA LAWRENCE ON WHY THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT BODY IN THE MODELING INDUSTRY
Iskra Lawrence was only 13 when she was picked as a finalist in Elle Girl’s “Search For A Supermodel”. As a self-called chunky child, she grew into her hourglass figure as a teen. “I realized boys at school actually liked curves, and I was lucky to have a naturally hourglass figure,” she said. But as a model, it was a different story.
“I was in the straight size (as opposed to plus size) industry. I was comparing myself to other models who had totally different body shapes.”
Iskra had a larger frame and curvier body than the girls she was modeling alongside. “At that age, I was letting other people’s opinions of my body shape how I felt about it,” she said. After months of attempting to fit into fashion industry norms, she took back her personal power.
ISKRA LAWRENCE‘S POST JUNKFOOD BINGE SKIN SAVERS
Ever check out curve-licious Aerie model Iskra Lawrence‘s Instagram? It’s all about food, food, food. Just a few days ago, she gave us a food-gasm by posting a frosting and strawberry covered 4th of July cake. A little scroll down reveals her obsession with donuts and pizza. When we asked her what the deal was, she revealed “I actually cook at home everyday and rarely eat out (not very NYC) so I treat myself to a burger or pizza every week. My guilty pleasures are definitely Nutella, European chocolate (not Hershey) and milkshakes!”
Models Who Are Redefining The Beauty Standard: Sabina Karlsson
When 26-year-old Sabina Karlsson walks into a room, the effect is dizzying. She already towers at 5'11'', but her broad frame and fiery mane of natural red curls make her beauty feel even more expansive. Like a Chuck Close painting, she captivates from afar, but the closer you get the more enraptured you become. Her face is peppered with auburn freckles that gather intensely around her lips and the bridge of her nose. And there’s a gap between her front teeth. Though that feature is reminiscent of Lauren Hutton, Karlsson truly looks like no other model.
From Brisbane to New York: what’s it like as an up-and-coming plus-size model
Get used to this face. The Brisbane-born Bree Warren has modelled for ASOS, Free People and more. Here she chats to Vogue about her career.
10 Veterans of Plus-Size Modeling Reflect on The Industry—and Themselves
With all the attention paid these days to the newest, hottest plus-size models, it's easy to forget about the trailblazers who came before them. Over the past few decades, there have been hundreds of models hard at work bridging plus-size, high-fashion, and mainstream culture. What's more, these models are still working, proving their staying power and banking expert knowledge day by day. We spoke to 10 models with decades of experience (each!) to tell you what they think of the current industry—from fetishes and tasteful nudes to social media and self-love—and, perhaps more important, what they've learned along the way.
#DROPTHEPLUS Models Sound off on Fashion’s Size Standards
Size is an ongoing debate within the modeling industry. From France’s recent attempt to regulate models’ BMI to the continued infighting over aesthetic sensibilities, the conversation about size seems never-ending. One of the most recent developments is the #DropthePlus movement, an online campaign designed to remove the label plus from discussions about models over the standard sample size. The hashtag first gained traction in Australia after model Stefania Ferrario took to Instagram to express her frustration about being pigeonholed as a model over size 4. The issue soon went viral with think pieces sprouting up all over the Web and an online army of commenters chiming in with their opinions.
Body Electric: Summer's Best Accessories Are All About Celebrating Skin
Look around: Body jewelry has become a full-blown, head-to-toe obsession. From shimmy-worthy belly chains to delicate anklets, there are tons of chic new ways to adorn every inch of skin. Here, check out spring and summer's most coveted pieces—and pick up a few cool-girl styling tricks along the way.
American Eagle Wins Award for Realistic Underwear Ads
American Eagle Outfitters's undergarment line Aerie just scored a major win for ditching photoshop and celebrating women who don't fit into the supermodel mold. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) honored the underwear line's #AerieReal campaign with its first-ever NEDA Inspires Seal of Approval, the organization announced Monday.
Elly Mayday, Model, Takes Part in Lane Bryant's #ImNoAngel Campaign
The plus-size lingerie company Lane Bryant has created an international stir with its new campaign #ImNoAngel. Some are lauding the company for its efforts to showcase models of different sizes. Others worry the U.S. company is shaming women who are thin. Elly Mayday, 27, who is originally from a farm near Craik, Saskatchewan is now modeling in Vancouver. She was featured in the campaign and took questions from CBC.
Models Sound off on Fashion’s Size Standards
Size is an ongoing debate within the modeling industry. From France’s recent attempt to regulate models’ BMI to the continued infighting over aesthetic sensibilities, the conversation about size seems never-ending. One of the most recent developments is the #DropthePlus movement, an online campaign designed to remove the label plus from discussions about models over the standard sample size. The hashtag first gained traction in Australia after model Stefania Ferrario took to Instagram to express her frustration about being pigeonholed as a model over size 4. The issue soon went viral with think pieces sprouting up all over the Web and an online army of commenters chiming in with their opinions.
MEET THE WOMAN SHAKING UP THE LINGERIE LANDSCAPE
Whether you're curvy or have a small bust, finding the perfect lingerie is a process to say the least. Not only does the fit have to be right, but the look does, too, and all the lace, ruffles, and bows that adorn most bras and panties aren't for everyone. That's why Mckenzie Raley, a plus-size model-turned-designer, started Land of Women, a new lingerie brand that goes back to basics with its pared-down, six-piece collection. Simple elegance (black fabric, no frills, and no wire, even for the D-cup bras) is the name of the game, and women are responding really well. Here, we spoke to Raley about the brand's minimalist approach to lingerie, how she went from modeling to designing, and the women who inspire her.
GIRL ON GIRL: MY ART'S EROTIC, BUT I'M NOT 'EASY' (NSFW)
Below is the second entry in the column that Myla Dalbesio, the size-10 model who became a media sensation upon starring in a Calvin Klein ad alongside size-0 models, is writing for ELLE.com. We loved Myla's realness when speaking out about body image, ambition, and confidence following the Calvin Klein campaign, so we gave her carte blanche to write about whatever she wants. Here, in the latest installment of Girl on Girl, she opens up about her work as an artist exploring erotic content, and the challenges that's brought her way.
GIRL ON GIRL: INTRODUCING MODEL MYLA DALBESIO'S COLUMN FOR ELLE.COM
Becoming a media sensation is weird, no matter how brief your moment is. One minute you're no one, and the next minute you're still no one, except a bunch of people talked about you on television for a whole day. Sometimes it's much longer than a day, sometimes it's your whole life (here's looking at you Britney Spears), but even one day is mind-bogglingly strange. It's easy to get confused. Remember, you're still no one, but all of a sudden people want to hear what you have to say. Who are you and what do you stand for? That's the basis of every interview, so you better figure it out really quickly.
A Day in the Life of Model Geo Burke
Plus-size model Georgina Burke is one badass blond from Brisbane—though you couldn’t tell from her willingness to make friends out of total strangers on the mean streets of Manhattan. In her exclusive diary for Style.com, she reveals that she often approaches people with cute pups and asks to “borrow” them for a quick walk. (After all, being a fearless workout warrior is free—Equinox is not.) In an interview with Vogue Italia, Burke said that she was bullied in primary school for being big and tall, which she put a stop to by “punching the girl out.” Though the teasing started up again in high school, she noted that it was “good in some respects, because modeling is a tough industry.” Looks like this Aussie and face of Torrid is having the last laugh. Here, how she stays in shape no matter where she is in the world.
A Day in the Life of Calvin Klein Model Myla Dalbesio
Kate Moss in her Calvins will forever be an iconic image, but so will Myla Dalbesio’s Perfectly Fit underwear campaign. With gorgeous curves, this model and artist is no waif, but rather a woman—neither plus nor straight size—who makes a black bra look anything but basic. And when you look that gorgeous, who needs a label? “I am more than a measurement, and I want people to know that,” she said in an interview with Elle.com regarding the fact that the tag on her jeans sports a one in front of the zero. “I want all women to know, regardless of size, shape, color, whatever, that they are powerful beings. You own your beauty; your body is what you make of it.” Here, Dalbesio reveals how she makes the most of her day.
Model of the Minute: Myla's Momentum
At the end of last year Myla Dalbesio found herself at the center of a heated debate about size within the fashion industry. As the first size 10 model to be featured in Calvin Klein’s underwear ads, she inadvertently challenged fashion’s narrow definition of beauty and started a firestorm over who qualifies as “plus size” – a widely used distinction within the modeling business, but a term Myla and many other models have expressed disdain for. The ads became a talking point everywhere from the New York Times, to the Today Show, drumming up an unprecedented amount of discussion for a campaign launched with little fanfare. Where others may have faltered in the face of such scrutiny Myla turned the situation on its head, sharing her own struggles with body image and working to inspire and impact young girls. With her refreshingly honest demeanor and decade spanning career as both a model and an artist, Myla is one of the most interesting women in modeling today – we caught up with her to talk her sensational year and what the future holds.
15 Models Share Their 2015 New Year’s Resolutions
‘Tis the season! As December ends and January begins, everyone has the New Year on the brain. With that, comes time to reflect on the past year and how we can improve ourselves and our lives for the next. As 2015 fast approaches, we caught up with 15 models who shared their brilliant New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration to follow their leads.
Myla Dalbesio on Life After Love, Diets, and Going Viral
"It’s so surreal."
I'm checking in with model Myla Dalbesio a month after I interviewed her about her Calvin Klein underwear campaign. In the interview, she told me how thrilled she was with the campaign, particularly because as a model who happens to be a size 10, Calvin Klein didn’t say "'Whoa, look, there's this plus size girl in our campaign.' They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there's no distinction," she says. If you had never heard Dalbesio’s name before that interview, you may know it now: the story went viral as outrage over the industry's treatment of size (and categorization of "plus size") surged. Soon, Dalbesio was trending on Facebook and appearing live on TODAY.
Model Geo Shows Us Holiday Looks With A Touch of Luxury
'Tis the season for countless holiday parties. Instead of investing in several pricey holiday dresses, why not splurge on one luxe fur (faux or real!) or a shiny bauble to dress up your favorite high street pieces. Here, some holiday inspiration courtesy of JAG model Georgina (known as Geo) Burke, the current face of Torrid and Addition Elle.
The Next Big Plus Model Is Also A Master's Grad, Philanthropist & All-Around Badass
Though it seems like the punchline to a bad joke, the truth remains: It's not easy to be a model. Most don't ink seven-figure deals, get flown to set via private jet, or lounge around in bed all day (demanding at least $10k to get up). Many cat-walkers work their asses off in the face of fierce competition, body scrutinization, low pay, and a lack of stability, all on the hope of hitting it big, ticking off whatever career milestones they manage to achieve. Landing a magazine cover. Opening a Fashion Week show. Being hired to represent a brand. The new face of plus brand Torrid, Philomena Kwao, has just sealed that last one, and she tells us she's dreaming way bigger.
Meet Calvin Klein Model & Internet Sensation Myla Dalbesio
Model Myla Dalbesio is a pro at pretending she’s larger than she is. A size 8 to 10, she’s never belonged with show-your-bones high-fashion models or big-and-beautiful plus-size ones. She’s an “in-betweener,” an awkward fashion industry term meant to make it clear that she’s bigger than sample size (0 to 2) but smaller than plus size (14 and up). In the real world, the in-betweener sizes are more standard — they’re probably what you and most of your friends wear — but the fashion industry has no place for them.
Size Doesn't Matter for Calvin Klein Model Myla Dalbesio
As a model and one time teen beauty pageant queen, Myla Dalbesio is pretty used to being judged on the way she looks. Scouted by Model Mother Management's Jeff and Mary Clarke at just 16, Myla spent the next nine years posing for commercial catalogues and being pigeon holed on the basis of her body. At size 14, Myla was always too 'big' to be a standard model and yet too skinny to be labelled 'plus', which has left her sitting uncomfortably in the ridiculously named 'in betweenie' category. However, fast-forward to today, and Myla is currently one of the most talked about names in fashion, given that she's just landed a highly coveted Calvin Klein campaign. To celebrate her shining success, we caught up with the Wisconsin belle to talk about what makes her feel beautiful and why, when it comes to modelling, size shouldn't matter.
Labeling Fashion Models "Plus-Size" Is Officially Over
"Plus-size" is easily one of the most contentious terms in the fashion industry. But, following the controversy that erupted when Elle.com used it to describe size 10 Calvin Klein lingerie model Myla Dalbesio as "plus-size," models and their agents say it may finally be out of style.
The Elle.com piece praised Dalbesio's work in Calvin Klein's new "Perfectly Fit" lingerie campaign alongside skinnier supermodels like Jourdan Dunn and Lara Stone. "Booking an underwear campaign for such an iconic brand would be a coup for any model," wrote Leah Chernikoff, "But it's especially notable for Dalbesio, who, at a size 10, is what the fashion industry would — still, surprisingly — call 'plus-size.'"
5 Models: A Candid Conversation About Size
Plus size. That phrase has been thrown around the Internet a lot over the past few days, fueled largely by an ELLE.com interview with model Myla Dalbesio. Dalbesio spoke to ELLE.com about her latest gig, modeling for Calvin Klein's "Perfectly Fit" campaign alongside big names such as Lara Stone, Jourdan Dunn, and Ji Hye Park. She told us "what a great feeling" it was to book that job, when, at a size 10, Dalbesio said that she is "not skinny enough to be with the skinny girls and I’m not large enough to be with the large girls." She added: "I haven’t been able to find my place."
Calvin Klein’s Controversial Model Myla Dalbesio on Art, Envy, and Body Image
On Monday, Calvin Klein unveiled its newest lingerie campaign, featuring Myla Dalbesio, a size-10 model, alongside straight-size models like Jourdan Dunn and Lara Stone. Though the company never termed Dalbesio "plus-size" or commented on her size at all, she was identified as such in enough media reports to spark a controversy over the use of the term. (A sample tweet: "That's not a plus-size! You need to re-think what a plus size is.") Yesterday, Dalbesio went on the Today show to discuss the reactions to the campaign, saying, "I think that Calvin Klein has done something that's really groundbreaking, which is they released this campaign with what some would say is a normal-size model, a size 10. And size-10 girls, there's not a lot of spots for us to fit in in the fashion industry."
Size-10 model defends Calvin Klein in 'plus size' controversy
A size-10 Calvin Klein underwear model said Tuesday on TODAY that it's "unfortunate" the company has received any criticism for its "groundbreaking" ad campaign, which never referred to her as "plus size."
Myla Dalbesio is the new face (and body) of the "Perfectly Fit" underwear campaign released a month ago by Calvin Klein. Though the company has never described Dalbesio as "plus size," Twitter users recently criticized them for doing just that on the basis of an Elle magazine article in which Dalbesio was referred to as "what the fashion industry would—still, surprisingly—call 'plus size.'"
In the wake of a controversial Victoria's Secret campaign involving the phrase "Perfect Body," an online debate erupted over just what constitutes "plus size."
The Rise of the 'Inbetweenies'
Back in September, Calvin Klein launched their new Perfectly Fit line with a campaign that featured thin supermodels like Jourdan Dunn and Ji Hye Park as well as size-10 stunner Myla Dalbesio. The campaign initially launched without incident and despite being a size 10, Dalbesio does not look much larger than any of the other girls in the campaign.
What Makes a Great Catalog Model?
Money girls, as the industry likes to call them, have always been a big part of the fashion business, thanks to catalogs and campaigns. But e-commerce has increased their exposure. Now, instead of seeing Ouellet in a monthly magazine or a bimonthly catalog, frequent shoppers might see her face once or twice a day on various websites. (And that's not counting her popular Instagram account.) The advent of online shopping has made commercial models more valuable than ever for brands. "If the girl is selling [product], then they'll book her again and again," says Gary Dakin, co-founder of all-size modeling agency JAG, whose clients include Calvin Klein underwear campaign star Myla Dalbesio and Torrid-favorite Philomena Kwao. (Who "sells like crazy," according to the agent.)
Calvin Klein's New Model Opens Up About Battling Her Weight Obsession
Model Myla Dalbesio's figure would be considered enviable for most women, but within a fashion industry chock full of size zero frames she's considered "not skinny enough." The industry's unreasonable standards eventually led her down a drug addled path, which she opened up about during a sit-down with ET.
"I was taking these pills, not sleeping, not eating," Dalbesio said, describing her darkest days. "It becomes like you're rewarding yourself in your brain -- if you can go through a whole day without eating and still go to a gym for an hour or two hours, then it's like you did such a good job."
How A Plus-Size Girl Navigates
the Pin-Thin World of Fashion
Recently Georgina Burke, a 24-year-old plus-size model who regularly wears Céline, Helmut Lang, Lanvin, and Givenchy, went into a designer shop to try on some jeans. When she asked for the pair she wanted, the salesperson said, “What? No, those aren’t going to fit you.”
Project Gravitas Featured Woman
JAG Models was featured as Project Gravitas Featured Women for September 2014.
These Companies Are Giving The Fashion Industry A Body-Positive Makeover
New York Fashion Week is officially in full swing, but some of the biggest industry innovations are happening off the runway.
Socially-conscious dress company Project Gravitas and JAG Models, an agency devoted to embracing women of all sizes, are teaming up to promote body-positive change within the fashion industry.
In an interview with HuffPost Live, Project Gravitas founder and CEO Lisa Sun explained that her fashion company is all about fostering confidence among women. Since most of our perceptions are shaped by the media we consume, she said, it’s crucial to show more than one type of body image in fashion.
NYFW Spring 2015: Project Gravitas And JAG Models Celebrate Women Of All Sizes, Raise Awareness For Eating Disorders
On Sep 5, JAG Models and Project Gravitas hosted a very special New York Fashion Week party at entertainment mogul Amy Sacco's exclusive venue No.8 to raise awareness for positive body image in the fashion industry.
Each month, Project Gravitas celebrates inspiring women in their monthly "Women of Gravitas" campaign where proceeds of a selected dress benefit that month's charity of choice. For September, the socially-conscious brand celebrates the women of JAG Models and the National Eating Disorders Association(NEDA).
The What's Underneath Project: Myla Dalbesio
We asked model and artist Myla Dalbesio to be a part of the What’s Underneath Project because, in a torn jean jacket and a who-gives-a-shit off-the-shoulder sweater, she is a force for body image positivity after landing at rock bottom. With honesty as rocking as her Metallica tee, Myla tells about how she became addicted to Adderall as she tried to lose weight for the modeling agency standards. We love how Myla finds it absurd that she is labeled an “in-betweenie” because she is neither big enough to be “plus size” nor thin enough to be “straight-size.” Can’t a woman just be a woman? After all, here she is, a goddess, who, because of how denigrated she is due to her size, still needs reminders from the 300-pound female at the beach in a lime green thong to feel comfortable in her own skin.
#RePictureStyle with Curve Models Philomena Kwao
We chat with Philomena Kwao, a 'curve' model living in New York City.
During Fashion Week, a Call to Do Away With Size Labels Altogether
If putting models of varying sizes on the catwalk is indeed on its way to becoming the norm, then that's certainly something to celebrate—and on Friday night, a crowd descended on NYC hotspot No. 8 to do just that. Gary Dakin of JAG Models—an agency catering to all sizes—teamed up with Project Gravitas founder Lisa Sun to put on the party, which, in addition to bringing people together to promote a positive image in the midst of NYFW, also marked a greater collaboration between the two companies.
How to Break into
Every month we spotlight one model in our “Curvy Model of The Month” feature. This began as way, not only to promote models of color, but to celebrate beautiful women with curves of all sizes, not just what you see on the runway. Gary Dakin, co-founder of JAG Models has made this his mission. After a 15-year tenure spearheading FORD’s plus division he ventured out and started his own agency servicing models from sizes 6-20 and booking them for countless editorials and campaigns. Here, the plus-size pioneer lends his expertise on how you can get in on the action.
Curvy Model of the Month:
Brittnee Blair was featured as Essence.com's Curvy Model of the Month! Read her interview and beauty tips here.
Myla Dalbesio was featured in a beauty story for Models.com "Of The Minute."
How To Take Your Best Selfie
Our social media obsessed Curvy Model of The Month, Kamie Crawford, teaches you how to serve it in your next selfie.
Curvy Model of the Month:
Kamie Crawford as featured in Essence as the Curvy Model of the Month! See how our amazingly beautiful pageant queen turned model made it happen and is realizing her dreams.
After appearing in two shoots for H&M, Jennie Runk has made buzz by serving as the first plus size model for the fashion brand. The Georgia-born, American model is quite the stunner with her dark hair and crystal blue eyes. At the age of 13, Jennie was discovered byMother Model Management’s Mary Clarke at a Petsmart in Missouri. Runk later made the decision to gain weight to enter the plus size modeling field, and is now quite the inspiration with her body positive message. We recently got the chance to ask the model about her thoughts on all the media attention from the H&M images, being a feminist in fashion and her beauty routine. Jennie is currently signed with JAG Models in New York.
The First Real Modeling Agency
A modeling agency where can mingle models sizes 34, 36, 38,40 , 42 or 48, sounds utopic? Not anymore! For the first time , in an industry that categorize women as “straight size” (0-2) or “plus size” (12-16) a modeling agency that gather under its management models of all sizes it sounds revolutionary . Who are they ?Jag Models
“Launched on July 1, 2013 JAG Models is an agency catering to women of all sizes. Co-founders Jaclyn Sarka and Gary Dakin have been in the industry for a combined 25 years and represent some of the industry’s top talent. Never ones to take no for an answer, or stick to conventional representation, they have placed girls in editorials and covers of such esteemed publications as Vogue, Elle, V, French and Bazaar” -JagModels.com
After working for Ford models that opened a plus size division back in 1998 ,Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka decide to start their own modeling agency : Jag . But what makes it different from others? It is an agency of any size models .
If I could stand up and Top Gun high-five a brand right now, it would definitely be Aerie and its new Aerie Real campaign.
The sister brand of American Eagle markets bras, panties and sleepwear to girls 15-21—girls in high school and college who are notoriously bombarded with the message "You need to be hot." Lest you think I exaggerate, surf Tumblr or the hashtag #thinspiration on Instagram, and you'll see what I mean.
Aerie's new ads are unretouched. The girls you see in the ads are what they look like in real life, which is, sadly, groundbreaking. The models are wearing makeup, they look healthy, the poses are flattering, and the lighting is perfect. But theres's been no Photoshop-surgery removal of skin folds or digital slimming of thighs and stomachs. The copy on the print ads declares, "The girl in this photo has not been retouched. The real you is sexy."
At 5-feet- 10 inches and a size 12 to 14, Jennie Runk is an in-demand bikini model for H&M, but don’t call her a plus-size model.
“I don’t really think of myself as skinny or fat, like, at all,” Runk told ABC News. “I just kind of think of myself as me and it’s just where I’m at and who I am.”
Runk, who doesn’t weigh herself or track her size, has signed on with the hot new agency in the modeling industry, Jag Model Agency, that bills itself as an agency for “real women” of all different body types.
“It seems to be getting more and more positive and less of the negative,” Runk said of the public and the fashion industry’s acceptance of curvier figures. “Ultimately it should just be an acceptance of everybody because nobody looks the same at all.”
Jag Model Agency was founded last month by Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka who ran the plus-sized division at Ford Models until it was shut down.
Founded just this year, JAG Models is a modeling agency that’s challenging industry standards by having a board that caters to women of all sizes. With over two decades of experience between them, founders Jaclyn Sarka and Gary Dakin represent some of the top girls in the game, having placed them in everywhere from Vogue to V. We got to sit down with the duo and discuss the changing fashion industry and where they see it going.
Jennie Runk is the star of a May 2013 H&M swimwear campaign that gained widespread media attention for not relegating the gorgeous size 12 model to the "plus-size" pages of their website. In an interview with activist group SPARK, Runk told a young blogger: "I remember often feeling like I should be unhappy with my body, but it was confusing, because I never thought there was anything wrong with it until people started talking about it."
In a piece for the BBC, Runk wrote of her newfound media attention: "This is exactly the kind of thing I've always wanted to accomplish, showing women that it's OK to be confident even if you're not the popular notion of 'perfect.'... There's no need to glamorise one body type and slam another.
2013 was a big year for body image in the fashion world: plus-size models like Robin Lawley and Jennie Runk made major headlines in high-end fashion campaigns. But can we really consider a size 8 or 10 plus-size?
We know that real women have curves. We have wrinkles. We have stretch marks.
Noul you'll be able to see those imperfectness new ads from american eagle. They're launching the campaign for the popular teen brand called aerie an juju chang is giving us a first look. I'll be kind and all due respect to those buxom models nice enough to show off lingerie they bear little resemblance to the women in this country.
What impact would more realistic women have when we're shopping? Real women, real curves and real blemishes front and center in american eagle's real move many. The intimates linic canning off their spring collection showing real women of all sizes.
Looks like aerie is ready for its closeup -- its unretouched closeup.
aerie, American Eagle's sister store for lingerie, has launched aerie Real, a Spring 2014 ad campaign featuring all unairbrushed models. In a release on Friday, aerie announced that the ads are "challenging supermodel standards by featuring unretouched models in their latest collection of bras, undies and apparel."
It's another wonderful day in the world of plus-size modeling.
Women's Wear Daily reported Monday that plus-size retailer Torrid has named Australian model Georgina Burke as the first-ever face of their brand, featuring her on the cover of their swimsuit catalogue as well as on their website and in stores.
The partnership will be the first major plus-size ad campaign the world has seen in a long time, and it's easy to see why the Torrid chose 23-year-old Burke to represent their brand. She is gorgeous, fresh, and most of all, real. Her message is clear -- there is no reason why she shouldn't be featured in a major fashion campaign.
It may have been slow coming and way overdue, but the fashion industry is changing. At last year’s New York Fall Fashion Week, the first plus-size collection strutted down the runway, breaking 60 years of the industry’s love for all things skinny. And today’s start of Fashion Week’s spring collection is proving that curvy is getting more coverage and respect. Case in point: IMG Models just announced it’ll be show packaging its plus-size models right along with its traditional top models.
With this refreshing shift beginning to take place at Fashion Week, we decided to talk to one of the most sought-after curvy models in the industry, Jennie Runk.
Solare, come la stagione in arrivo, la nuova campagna Marina Rinaldi con protagonista Katy Hansz di questi giorni.
La modella e attrice, già protagonista delle ultime due campagne, continua ad essere l'incarnazione perfetta del motto "Women are back!" adottato dal marchio e sempre più forte di stagione in stagione.
Beauty has a new face and there's no retouching or photo-shop. It's not the filtered, airbrushed image of perfection. Aerie by American Eagle is the latest brand to go with a so-called real woman campaign. The photos feature Chicagoan Amber Tolliver. "To see these massive pictures of myself up and to say wow, I really like these photos and I think I'm beautiful, it's great," said Tolliver in an interview via Skype with FOX 32's Tisha Lewis.
In fashion, plus sizes come with rules that have long emphasized hiding your size over highlighting your beauty. Despite the average woman being closer to a size 14 than a size 2, clothing brands still seem to struggle with providing options that don’t insult customers. It’s rare when designers show a diverse group of women on the runway, instead of that being the norm. A growing “fatshion” blogging community has tried to change the conversation surrounding being plus size, and while petitions sometimes surface asking for better representation of plus-size women in media. But, sadly, body shaming and the traditional size-0 standard of beauty remain as prevalent as ever in the industry.
Last month I had the pleasure of shooting the 'Curves Ahead' editorial for ESSENCE. It was such an incredible day, working with a familiar team," shared model Philomena Kwao. "It's refreshing when plus-size styling is exciting and pushes boundaries rather than safe and boring. Its encouraging that ESSENCE is including plus size models in its editorials and I hope there is more of it to come." Get to know more about the model below, and how Lupita Nyong'o's win has affected her.
Lupita's OSCAR win was like a breath of fresh air. I was nervous watching the awards ceremony. And as someone who shares a similar look to her it was refreshing to see that a women of colour, more specifically a darker woman of colour is being fully accepted as beautiful, elegant and graceful. I love that Lupita is changing the conventional standards of black beauty, breaking down barriers and creating a conversation within our communities about what is beautiful, encouraging us to be happy in our own skin, no matter what shade you are.
She is also much more than just a beautiful woman and an incredibly talented actress; she's also highly educated. I love it. I have a masters degree myself and I'm further inspired by her achievements and the positive message she represents.
Model Georgina Burke walks into New York's Ace Hotel looking every bit the part. Just under six feet, the 23-year-old Australian stunner is clad in head-to-toe black and carrying a Céline mini. Her blonde hair is in a messy-in-a-good-way bun, and she walks around the lobby in dangerously high heels like a pro. She's effortlessly cool and enviably confident—and why shouldn't she be? The Brisbane native just landed her first contract with a major brand, but what makes that sucha big deal is that she's the first plus-size model to do so in years.
She started as a straight-size model at fifteen-years-old. Now, at twenty-eight, plus-size model Amber Tolliver is about to have a huge breakthrough in the world of mainstream fashion. After all, that’s what being the face of a lingerie campaign does—especially when you’re unretouched and able to dance around in your underwear à la Aerie.
After appearing in AnOther magazine’s ode to Rick Owens, Tolliver is proving her versatility and staying power—not to mention that she makes a pretty good witch. We sat down with the model at SoHo House in New York to discuss where she’s been, where she is, and where she’s going.
“It’s all about proportion. Proportion is the thing—it’s everything!” says fashion designer Isabel Toledo backstage, minutes before the Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant runway show. All around her, gorgeous young women with astonishingly lovely, voluptuous physiques are putting the finishing touches on their ensembles. “Dressing women with curves is such a treat! When I was working, I forgot that it was plus-size. I didn’t want just sexy tight jersey—I wanted tailoring, not just stretchy things,” Toledo adds, admitting that she jumped at the chance to work with Lane Bryant. “I was thrilled—I haven’t been on the runway for a long time.” She explains that, design-wise, she didn’t do anything differently than she usually does. “After all, designers have always dressed clients of all sizes in their showrooms,” she says slyly. “Just not on their runways.”