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Breaking into the Plus Size Modeling Scene

Straight from a Model’s Mouth

I have a secret. I am not a model. I have done the high school fashion show, but that has been the jist of it. I am more a behind the scenes person, organizing, orchestrating, and assisting- not a model.

However, I have had a few of you ask me about modeling, and rather than me try to pretend to give you some advice, I thought it would be better to introduce you to a model and let her reflect on her journey into becoming a model and what it means for her.

So for those who want to know about plus size modeling, please read on as I introduce to you, plus size model Vanessa Reece!


Begin your plus model journey.
by Vanessa Reece
As I sat next to Gok Wan (top UK fashion Guru, author and TV presenter) having my make-up done for one of his promo shoots I wondered to myself, how did I get here
So just recently I sat down to write about my journey in an eBook and I was surprised, when I read it back, just how much of it is luck and networking, but also the belief that you can do it  no matter what your size.What defines a model?

It is my belief that models, no matter what their shape and size, ooze confidence – without taking away from the project they are expected to showcase. Its almost like acting without the lines to learn. But there are rules of posture and presence; however these things can be perfected with test shooting and practice.

Before you even consider being a professional model ask yourself these questions:
Are you truly comfortable in your own skin?
Are you comfortable with getting up at ridiculous times in the morning looking fresh, excited and ready to go and sometimes working until late, still looking just as fresh, excited and ready?
Are you prepared to shoot in uncomfortable surroundings since not all shoots are set in comfy studios
Are you ready to network almost 24 seven.
Are you ready for knock backs and disappointments
Are you ready for jealousy toward you from other models or so called friends?
Are you ready to work without pay for some of your model journey just to work with excellent photographers, make-up artists and stylists?

Everything I’ve listed above is something I’ve experienced in modeling.
It’s also those things that will make you feel like a million dollars when you get your first model pay check and you’ve actually worked through those negatives. So the first thing you need is good attitude.

Get your game on!
Get on your facebook, MySpace, twitter and model mayhem and start adding people you admire as models, photographers, stylists, fashion bloggers and make-up artists.

Don’t be shy to reach out and say hello!

Test Shooting

Test shooting is more valuable than you may realize, for so many reasons I can’t list for fear this may turn into a novel. All models should do it and keep doing it

It needn’t be expensive – not if you network with the right people who are happy to do TFP/TFCD (Time for Prints / Time for CD) – everyone gains for their portfolios.
You may occasionally want to pay for a photographer to do shoot with you. So be prepared to cough up a little cash if there is someone who will really boost your portfolio with a killer picture.
Always think safety first when doing test shoots with people you don’t know. Make sure they have a good track record and even references if you want to research them further.
Don’t try and be anyone else in your shots. Get the poses down you feel comfortable with. The more you test shoot the more you will see your growth.

Look at companies such as Torrid, SKORCH Magazine and Model Mayhem to showcase your portfolio pictures to. Don’t be heartbroken if you get no response just keep trying.

Check for local designers, make-up artists, photographers, who want to work with plus-models for their paid projects. Even if they don’t specifically ask for plus models I would still go for it.

Reach out to your local boutique stores. My very first job was for local florists who wanted to showcase their bridal headdresses. It was a small shoot, but it gave me some great pictures and wonderful experience.

The secret
This is something not many people know when it comes to getting yourself on an agency’s books. If an agency is too specific with their size and height, even in plus-size terms, then look for a good character modeling agency.

My agency in London is called Ugly and although that’s a bizarre name they are probably the biggest character agency in Europe. They specialize in every different look, shape, size and height.

They’ve gotten me work on magazine covers, fashion shoots, films and TV.
Look for agencies that are well established and have a good track record with other models. Either apply to agencies direct or wait for their casting calls to come up.

And I’ll say it again, network! Make friends and offer to help people with their projects, even if it means not modeling. It never hurts to learn skills such as photo editing, make-up application and hair styling. These talents and skills will help you network further and also give you an idea of the value of each person on a professional shoot.
If you’d like to know even more, in greater detail my eBook covers a lot of ground. But remember, each successful plus-model has her own story to tell, of how she got where she is.
Watch, learn, embrace and be ready with your game when the spotlight comes to you.

Good Luck!

Vanessa Reece

What do you think? Helpful? Informational? Your thoughts! Do you want to get your hands on her modeling e-book? Click here to find out more!

Keep it Curvy.Confident.Chic.


As The Curvy Fashionista editors, we write about stuff we love and we think you'll like too. The Curvy Fashionista often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Written by Marie Denee

I am the Editor in Chic of The Curvy Fashionista. Often goofy. Forever emo. Always a Virgo. You can find me somewhere grooving to 90s R&B.

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  1. I certainly will forward this to my niece who is trying to get herself started…Yes, so far modeling just for exposure and no pay !!!

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