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Tue 4th Jul 2023

10 Plus Size Models That Are Killing The Game Right Now

 

They came and they slayed. Meet the plus size models who are changing what it means to be a model in 2018. These plus size pioneers are on top of their game right now and show no signs of slowing down. Breaking down barriers and speaking up for what they believe in, these history making models are a force to be reckoned with.

1. Ashley Graham

She's graced the covers of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Glamour and in 2016 she became the first plus size model to make the front cover of Sports Illustrated Swim (who could forget THAT cover?!) An advocate of body positivity and self-love, Ashley makes no apologies for her body and is often posting snaps of her lingerie and bikini clad bod on Instagram, speaking openly about cellulite and other body hang ups we all deal with day to day.

A passionate spokesperson for acceptance, Ashley has spoken to students at high schools in America about body image and is a positive role model to adolescents and adults alike. She started the hashtag #beautybeyondsize on Instagram to show everyone is beautiful, no matter your shape or size. With a massive 6.6 million followers on Instagram, it's good to see she is using her platform to spread positivity.

 

Ashley Graham on catwalk

2. Felicity Hayward

Scouted dancing to Diana Ross in an East London pub, blonde bombshell Felicity was soon snapped up by a modelling agency and has been recognised as one the first plus-size pioneers in the UK. Featured in Vogue, Glamour and appearing on the cover of I-D, in 2014 Felicity was appointed as the first ever Curve Ambassador & Stylist for fashion e-tail giant ASOS.

She has also created the digital campaign and body positive movement, with the hashtag #selflovebringsbeauty and spreads the word by making her own t-shirts and hoodies with the message on.

Felicity Hayward

3. Tess Holliday

Author, activist, feminist and model, Tess Holliday is living proof that dreams do come true, no matter how many obstacles are in the way. Overcoming a difficult childhood and being bullied at school, she is a role model and inspiration to the underdog.

Signed to top London model agency Milk Model Management in 2015, Tess became the largest plus size model to be signed to a mainstream modelling agency. Founder of the #effyourbeautystandards movement on social media, Tess always speaks her mind and always stands up for issues close to her heart, most recently attending the Women’s March in L.A earlier this year.

She's broken down barriers, spoken candidly about her views and has unashamedly been herself, paving the way for other plus size models with a voice.  She has recently written a book, entitled “The Not so Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl”, about loving the skin you’re in, no matter who you are or where you come from.

Tess Holliday

4. Charli Howard

 In 2015 Charli Howard wrote a Facebook post that would change her life for the better. In an open letter to her modelling agency, she slammed them for dropping her for being ‘too big’, even though at the time she was a size 6, 5’8” and weighed just 7 and a half stone, the post went viral and was picked up by US Vogue and news channels across the pond.

The post was seen by New York based agency Muse who quickly signed her up, and she hasn't looked back since. Although she may not be what most people would consider plus size, by industry standards she is a curve model.

The London native began modelling at 16 and now lives in New York. Surviving on just an apple and cotton wool soaked in orange juice (yes, really), she was miserable and never felt good enough. Now a healthy size 10-12, Charli is the model on everyone’s lips, has just released a book entitled “Misfit” about her struggles in the modelling industry, is a co-founder of the all woman project, and has worked with Vogue, Nike and Anne Klein to name just a few. We predict big things.

Charli Howard

5. Barbie Ferriera

At just 21 years old, Barbie Ferreria has already had a successful modelling career and has worked for H&M, Adidas, American Apparel and Benefit Cosmetics to name just a few. Signed to IMG models and born and raised in New York, Barbie is an aspiring actress, has a huge following across social media and is always posting candid snaps of her and her cat in their apartment. Gorgeous and down to earth, what’s not to love?

With her big doe eyes, tumbling dark hair and rosebud lips, it’s not hard to see why the model is in hot demand. Barbie has spoken out about how plus sized models are treated on set when she’s doing a shoot, and is proud to show off her stretch marks.  

Barbie Ferriera

6. Hunter McGrady

Hunter McGrady is a true transformation story. Starting her modelling career aged sixteen, the then size zero model was told by agencies to lose weight despite her near skeletal frame. Struggling to get work, disillusioned and frustrated by the industry, Hunter became aware of the plus size market and the now happy and healthy model is in demand more than ever.

Part of the Sports Illustrated Model Search in 2017, Hunter posed on a beach wearing a swimsuit that took 12 hours to paint on her body and it looks so real! A year later, she made the Rookie list in the same magazine. At a size 16 and standing at almost 6 feet tall, this is something Hunter is immensely proud of and continues to break down barriers in the modelling industry for diversity and inclusivity.


 

Hunter McGrady

7. Sonny Turner

Sonny Turner is fast becoming a role model, Instagram muse and body positive activist. Hailing from Birmingham but now living in London, her rant about high street bikini sizing went viral after she posted pictures of herself in a shop changing room, struggling to find bikinis that fit her body shape.

Her relatable and approachable manner makes her as likable as she is beautiful to her social media following, often talking about how important mental health is. Over on her YouTube channel, Sonny talks openly and honestly about everything from her breast reduction surgery to make up tutorials.

Signed to Milk Model Management in London and JAG Models NYC, she has modelled for Simply Be, one of the models featured in our #rulesrewritten march at London Fashion Week.

Sonny Turner

8. Bree Warren

An Australian native based in NYC, Bree is not just a pretty face. With a degree in both journalism and business management, she has her own website and a blog, The Wave Provocateur, which she runs with her partner, Mitch. The ultimate Aussie beach babe, she can be found on the beach when she isn’t working.

Bree Warren

9. La'Tecia Thomas

Another fellow Australian making waves in the modelling industry, La-Tecia Thomas is an Aussie living in L.A. One of the stars of the latest lingerie campaign for Simply Be, La-Tecia likes to make her social media followers aware of the power of airbrushing, often posting comparison pictures next to each other to show that social media isn’t real.

Before becoming a plus size model, La’Tecia was very into fitness and talks openly about how she struggled to maintain the perfect body when she was ‘straight size’. With 214,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and 814,000 followers on Instagram, La’Tecia is about to take over.

La'Tecia Thomas

10. Iskra Laurence

A veteran of the plus size modelling world, Iskra has been a model for 14 years and at just 27, she has already had a successful career. The English model is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association and she petitions for self-care classes in schools.

She doesn’t allow any of her Instagram photos to be retouched in any way and is always open and honest with her followers about how looks can be deceiving on social media, talking in depth and making videos about how a model’s pose can drastically alter an image.

Iskra was chosen by the BBC for their ‘100 Women’ series in 2016, which shines a light on 100 influential women from around the world. In February 2017, she presented a TED talk at the University of Nevada named "Ending the Pursuit of Perfection".

She walked in L'Oréal's first fashion show at Paris Fashion week in October 2017 and that same year, appeared in a documentary entitled “Straight Curve” about body image and the unrealistic and sometimes dangerous standards of beauty. Beautiful and inspirational, is there nothing this girl can’t do?!

Iskra Laurence