In our November issue (page 22), we tackle the weighty issue of curves on the runway. Plus-size women are making their mark on international covers and on the catwalk and models such as Crystal Renn went from skinny to size 12 and gained the respect of legendary Karl Lagerfeld who cast her in his 2011 Chanel Resort show. Other curvy women making a name for themselves are Mia Tyler, the daughter of Steven Tyler, and Toccara Jones who was featured in a 14-page spread in Vogue Italia.
Plus-size model Crystal Renn
We introduced two successful plus-size models, Lisa Snyman and Celia Ncalane, in our magazine article. Here, they share some more of their experiences.
Have you ever had a bad experience?
I once went to an open casting which was very nerve-racking. There were many ‘normal’ models and a few plus-size models. It felt as if people were staring at me and wondering why I was there. But I didn’t let it get to me; I just smiled and carried on.
Why do you think women are always complaining about their bodies?
I hate it when women talk badly about their bodies. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I don’t want someone else’s body issues to rub off on me. Either they’re fishing for compliments or they need to go and see someone who will help them improve their self-image.
Were you always considered big?
I’ve always been bigger than my siblings and my friends. It’s not because I wasn’t eating healthily – I was and I played hockey and swam – it was just the way I am built.
What do you do to stay in shape?
After becoming a vegetarian, I lost a lot of weight but I still eat full meals that contain a starch, protein and vegetables, and I indulge in snacks occasionally. I go to the gym at least three times a week.
1. Take care of your body. Plus-size models aren’t obese or unhealthy. Clients and modelling agencies require that you have a firm, toned body, a defined waist and no stretchmarks. You should exercise and eat healthily and, most importantly, exude confidence.
2. Measure up. To work as a plus-size model in South Africa you must be at least 1.68m tall and wear a size 38 to 44. Your body must be in proportion, which means not too busty; everything needs to be balanced.
3. Find the right agency. Don’t be discouraged if the first agency you approach turns you down. If you’re not what they are looking for in terms of their height and size requirements, keep looking. It’s important to have an agency, though. An agency will help you put together a portfolio, send you to castings, negotiate on your behalf and give you advice. They’ll also provide you with a Z-card. This is a model’s ‘business card’ and consists of pictures of you in different shoots and your agency’s contact details.
Do you have what it takes? If you’ve dreamt about becoming a plus-size model, take the first step and join a reputable modelling agency. Here is a list of some of the agencies that have curvier girls on their books:
Image from Vogue