How Do I Become a Plus Size Model?

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Plus Size Model

Recently, we’re seeing a stream of emails from individuals interested in becoming a plus size model. They write that they don’t know what to do to become a plus size model, or they’ve been rejected by one agency. This will be, hopefully, a guiding post for you, the aspiring plus model.

What to do First

Connect with an agency near you. You have to get noticed, and the best way to get noticed is to go see an agency. All of the agencies that we’ve listed on the interactive map on our Agency Directory page represent plus models, and that’s the best source we know of. Don’t connect with just any modeling agency, however. Agencies that represent only toothpick size girls don’t know the plus market. Connect with an agency that actually represents plus models. Agencies that do so know the market, the business, the trends, and the clients who actually have paying work for plus size models.

As a corollary to this first piece of advice, connect with an agency that’s near you. Agencies do not generally prefer to work with new faces that they can’t physically connect with and help in person. If you live in Minneapolis, don’t snail-mail your snapshots to New York City.

What to do Second

The best route to take is to go to a plus size modeling agency’s open call. Open calls are usually held for a few hours, one day per week, at the agency. The lesser preferred option is to physically send a snapshot of yourself to the agency.

Do not expect to be whisked away on a jet to a Paris photo shoot on your open call. That has never happened, even with the lovely Barbara Brickner or Tara Lynn.

Do not spend money on fancy professional shots for this agency submittal. They want to see you naturally – believe me, natural shots can tell an agent a lot more than you think, and a lot more than a professional’s work. And do not send in solely a facial shot; agencies will need to see a full body shot. Skin tone, proportion, smile, and overall appearance are what matter for the agency submittal. Besides, the professional shot could reflect more on the photographer than the model, and you want to be the feature of the photo, not the photographer’s interpretation of you. At least, not now, not yet.

If the well-seasoned, experienced agents see something in you, then they will take it from there. Your next important thing to know is all about modeling contracts.

If the well-seasoned, experienced agents do not see something in you, then it’s time for the third step.

What to do Thirdly

Now, this third point is to be taken as tough love. Not every girl can be a model, at any size. Not every plus size girl can be a plus size model. Who decides this? Who makes the requirements? Don’t blame the agencies! The ones who make the physical requirements for plus models are the clients, the people who pay for the models to model, or promote, or represent them. The clients who actually pay for models to, well,

  • model their fashions or
  • promote their products or
  • represent their brand

woman looking upAnd, generally, women who aren’t at least 5’7″ tall unfortunately will not be selected as model material. It’s not an agency’s decision to make arbitrarily. If an agency chooses not to represent you because of Characteristic X, it’s because their business history, their client list that requests models who have Characteristic X actually getting a booking, is slim to none. And since modeling agencies are businesses with the same time and financial constraints you and I have, if they don’t decide to pick you up, it’s because they don’t believe that there’s a likelihood they’ll be able to get you work (and themselves a commission.) Is there a reason you don’t see 5’2″ models? Well, the reason is that clients don’t gravitate towards women of that stature. It’s not a reflection on your loveliness or your worth. It’s simply business.

This is where modeling schools sometimes interject themselves. ‘Schools’, ‘academies’ prey on women who want to model so badly that they’ll take their money and appear to help them get closer to their goal. 99.9% of the time, the reason you aren’t picked as a model is pure genetics. You can’t buy or learn to be taller, or have wider/narrower hips or thinner/thicker legs, for example. Yet, ‘schools’ will take your money and offer some unimportant related skill training that they will make you think will override the fact that you’re not tall enough to be a working professional model. You could have the catwalk runway walk down cold. You could have a repertoire of a thousand expressions. The time to learn to do all this is after you’ve been signed, and you will be provided with coaching. You will never be able to talk your way into being a model, or reason your way to a contract. It’s 99% genetics. And that stinks, but that’s this business. There are no reasoned arguments to be seen in a Kiyonna advertisement. There are simply models using their genetics.

Generally speaking, if you connect with three modeling agencies that represent plus size models, and they don’t accept you for whatever reason, and if you’ve still got it in you, connect with three different agencies. If you’re not accepted by any of these three agencies, then perhaps the universe is telling you that you’re simply not model material.

There is so much more to life… there is so much more to the fashion and advertising industry than just modeling. Photography, acting, commercial modeling, fashion design, working at an agency, make-up artistry, styling, and writing are all vocations that will place you within the sphere of modeling or related activity.

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