There’s a lot to be said for fashion shows. The runway is an amazing place to catch new seasonal designs, to make a mental wish list of everything you will be purchasing or pining over in the months to come and to celebrate the self-expression that fashion allows for. Because, let’s face it, fashion is one of the most immediate, day-to-day mediums for showcasing your individuality.
The thing is, plus-size fashion events have all this. But they also have something else. They have this beautiful ability to make you feel less alone. I know it sounds cheesy, but think back to pre-2010 and earlier – when the runway was a place reserved exclusively for women size-8 or smaller. Anyone over that size didn’t really get their voice heard in the fashion industry – let alone their curvy bods shown off on a catwalk. It’s taken a long time, and there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to size equality in fashion, but plus-size fashion shows are a beautiful reminder of how things are changing. Not to mention moments like plus-size model Denise Bidot walking the runway of Chromat at New York Fashion Week this season.
After all the morning’s activities, our twenty four gorgeous ladies walked for the judges, giving it their fiercest and most fabulous strut down the runway. Tyra Banks would have be proud! We know we were.
The judges thought long and hard about who should be in the final five, agonised in fact – there was seriously stiff competition for those coveted five places in the final. But they finally reached their decision… and they decided there should be seven!
The seven finalists are, from left to right (after our Wendy!): Sophie, Kay, Abi Hill, Sharlene, Stephanie, Grace and Ema Goudge.
The ladies then walked once more for the judges and were interviewed to make sure they’ve got that Simply Be spirit!
The judges deliberated once more – and they had found their winner!
And our winner is… Abi Hill!
Congrats to Abi and all our gorgeous finalists! We had such a wonderful day and would like to thank you all so much.
There is so much going on here at the Simply Be Model Competition Final I don’t quite know where to start!
We’re here in the fabulous Monastery venue in Gorton, Manchester. Everywhere is beautifully lit with candles and down the centre of the great hall is a crisp, white runway. And at the end of the runway… the judges table.
For the morning, the girls have been split into groups. They’re all having catwalk tips from our very own runway diva extraordinaire, Alix Walker to learn how to strut their stuff.
They’re having their hair and make-up done, to make them even more gorgeous (if that’s possible) and will be dressed and styled in the very latest Simply Be clothing by our team of stylists.
We’ve also got a suitably glamorous ‘Confession Room’ set up so that the girls can come and talk to the cameras about their experience so far.
The girls are all having their photos taken to start off their modelling portfolios, and Simply Be model Wendy is on hand to share some top modelling tips!
After lunch there’ll be a full catwalk starring all the girls – and then it will be a very tough time for the judges, as they’ll have to select just five finalists from our gorgeous 24.
The final five will be announced at 5pm so watch this space! Remember you can follow us on Twitter for live updates throughout the day.
We kept everybody waiting, and whole new Facebook friendships were formed during the tense wait for the announcement – but on Friday we finally revealed our 25 ladies who will participating in our plus size model competition final.
With 750 gorgeous entrants to choose from, picking our finalists was a near-impossible task, but after much careful consideration, we got there in the end. Our finalists are:
Abi Hill Abi Tweedle Amy Morris Anastacia Manning Becky Holmes Claire Bloomfield Donna Preston Ema Goudge Emma McGrath Gemma Duffy Grace McAlonan Janine Hillman Jo Copeland Kay Marsh Kayleigh Smith Keri Patterson Lizzie Watts Louise Singh Marie Fletcher Natasha Lawless Sharlene Denys Sophie U-Ming Stephanie Hogan Susan Norris Toni Jennings
The ladies will be heading to Manchester for the final, where they’ll strut their stuff for our panel of judges. And they don’t just have to walk the walk – they have to talk the talk too, because we want a woman who will embody the Simply Be spirit as well as look fab.
We’d like to sincerely thank all those that entered – we wish we could have chosen all of you.
And well done to the finalists – watch this space for coverage of the final event! Who knows who will be the next to model for Simply Be alongside the likes of Candice, Justine and Wendy?
If you’re lucky enough to get a face-to-face interview with a modelling agency or client firstly – well done! You’ve done fantastically to get that far in such a competitive industry. But for such an important meeting the big question is – what on earth do you wear? Follow our tips and we’ll help you to get it right.
Outfit Although you’re out to impress and you obviously want to show your fashion credentials, an interview is not the time to be showcasing the statement pieces from your wardrobe. Your interviewer will be trying to imagine how you will look in their collection so it’s better to keep it really simple – neat and contemporary, but fairly plain. Casting agents will want to see your figure so go for form-fitting clothing. Skinny jeans and a close-fitting vest or T-shirt is perfect.
Shoes Depending on the nature of the casting, you may be asked to walk for the client. This means you need to be able to show that you can walk in heels, so they’re the natural footwear choice. They’ll also make you look taller and more confident for that initial first impression. Plain black or nude court shoes are perfect.
Underwear You may be asked to try on any kind of garment, so make sure your underwear doesn’t let you down. A smooth nude bra and matching briefs are essential. We’d recommend wearing or taking with you a strapless or multiway bra so that you’re ready for any kind of outfit. Make sure you’re wearing the right size so that your bust is well supported and you have a lovely silhouette.
Hair & Make Up Much along the same lines as your clothing, you need to keep your hair and make-up simple. A casting agent will want to look at you as a blank canvas for whatever style they have in mind. Keep make up natural looking and not too heavy on the foundation so that they can see how good your skin is. Wear your hair down or scraped back neatly.
So there are our tips! It’s not about wowing them with what you wear – it’s about wowing them with your personality and modelling skills, so let that shine through.
If you want to make it in the modelling industry, having good skin is something that will definitely stand you in good stead. Clients ideally look for models that won’t require excessive make-up or re-touching so having great skin makes things easier for them. Some people seem naturally blessed with fab skin, and unfortunately it’s not the kind of thing you can just change overnight. But there are lots of things you can do to help. Here are our top tips:
Project your skin from sun damage One of the most aging things you can do is go on a sun bed so make sure you steer clear. A good sunscreen used on a daily basis or a moisturiser with SPF will help protect your skin from day to day exposure to the sun.
Eat well Getting the right nutrients will work wonders for your skin. Healthy skin needs vitamins A, C, E, B2 and K. If you have a good mix of fruit and vegetables in your diet (try and get your 5 a day) plus proteins like lean meat and eggs you will no doubt have all the bases covered. Dark, leafy greens are particularly good for you. Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and make great snacks if you get peckish during the day.
It’s not just for vitamins that you need your fruit and veg – they’re also full of fibre. Eating more fibre will speed up your digestive system, which will get toxins out of your body more quickly. Other ways to increase your fibre intake include brown rice and whole grain or high bran cereals – try switching your usual bread/rice/pasta for the brown or wholegrain alternative.
Your diet will also need plenty of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) such as omega 3. Oily fish and flaxseed is great for omega 3; alternatively you could try taking a supplement such as like cod liver oil.
Drink lots of water Drinking plenty of water aids digestion and will leave you feeling less sluggish. Herbal tea and fruit juice is also good for you in moderation but try and avoid tea and coffee, alcohol and sugary drinks. Where possible of course – nobody’s perfect!
Exercise Doing a little bit of exercise as often as you can is a great way to boost your metabolism and digestion. Keep at it and it will soon start showing in your skin. The best exercise to do is cardiovascular activity that gets your heart pumping a little faster. Simply doing more walking is a great place to start.
Good skincare regime The secret to a good skincare routine is to first identify what type of skin you have; dry, oily, combination or sensitive, and then stick to the kind of products that suit it best. Don’t use harsh toners if you have dry or sensitive skin. Try not to overload your skin with too many products, keep a simple repertoire of products. Always moisturise after you shower, always take your make-up off before you go to bed and exfoliate about once a week.
Remember, it can take up to 6 weeks for the benefits to start showing on your skin, so keep at it. The better your skin looks, the less make-up you’ll need to wear, which in turn will make your skin even better!
The winners of our model competition will receive some invaluable tuition on how to perfect their runway strut. But what if you want to get a head start? Simply follow our tips…
Get your posture right
Before you even take a step, you need to get your posture right. When you’re a catwalk model you need to exude confidence, so that means shoulders back and head held high! Imagine you’ve got a piece of string running up out of the top of your head holding you upright.
Walk the walk
Pay attention to those toes! You should walk with your toes pointed straight forward, and aim to place your feet in a straight line in front of each other – this will give your hips a sexy sway. Don’t bring your feet too far in with each step or you’ll end up walking a wobbly, drunken looking line instead of a straight one! Don’t flap your feet down – take a measured heel to toe approach. Longer strides look more elegant and confident than baby steps – you may need to lift your knees higher to achieve this. Try and let your arms and hands do what they would do naturally, with relaxed hands. Your upper body should remain as still as possible whilst your legs and hips do the work.
Pause for thought
When you hit the end of the catwalk, turn your body to the side but face forward, dropping your weight onto one leg. Pause and hold your pose for just a beat then turn and strut back down again, turning your head at the very last moment.
The eyes have it
Regardless of what you do with your body, you can’t look confident and sexy unless your face says so too. Look confidently straight ahead – and don’t watch your feet. The client will know what sort of look they are going for so follow the brief, be it smiley, sultry or tough. Practice different looks in the mirror.
Practice makes perfect
Even with all the best advice in the world, there is no substitute for practice. Get a close friend or family member to give you some tips, or ask them to film you so that you can watch your walk back again and see what can be improved. Once you’ve got the basics right you can add a subtle twist to really make your walk your own – your ‘signature walk’. Watch videos of some of the most successful models and see what they do to add character to your walk.
It’s time to get practising ladies!
Here are some of the finalists from last year’s model competition strutting their stuff!
We’re sure you’ve heard about our plus size model search by now – we’re on the look out for the new face of Simply Be! For full info on how to enter our model competition, visit Simply Be.
So you’ve got until the end of August to send your model comp entry photos to simplybefashion(at)hotmail.co.uk. We’ve asked for 3 photos from you, including a full-length shot, a headshot and side profile. The photos need to be either 6″x4″ or 7″x5″ in size but don’t worry too much about the size – as long as they are large enough for us to see you clearly you’ll be fine!
But where do you start with taking your photos? Firstly, think about the Simply Be brand. We’re about confidence and loving your curves! So let’s see that confidence shine through in your pics.
Now this may sound like a strange one, but make sure your photos look like you. We want the essence of your personality to come through; so don’t feel like you have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Plus if you get through to the final, we’ll be expecting to see someone that looks like your photos!
By all means do your hair and make-up – of course you want to look your best! But please don’t use Photoshop or anything similar to alter your appearance in any way. We want to see the real you.
Lighting is very important. Try to find a room with as much natural light as possible and make sure the light is to the front or side of you rather than behind you, or you’ll look really dark. And if you can pose in front of a plain background, all the better – it’s all about you!
Do you have any top tips for taking a good photo that you’d like to share? If so – post them below!