If You’re Interested in Modeling…Read This First!
If you are serious about becoming a Plus Model read this!
I have not been in the industry long enough to be an expert on the subject of plus size modeling yet every day I get a numerous emails asking me for advice. I decided to write this as an overall answer to all the women who contact me because they’re interested in pursuing their dreams of modeling. The following is just my opinion based on observations I have made about the industry. I am still learning as my fulfilling dreams is an ongoing process. I love speaking with all of you but because of my schedule I am not always able to get right back to you so I am hoping that this will be sufficient in answering some of your questions in the meantime.
Never give up on yourself. Never give up on your dreams. Keep dreaming –it’s free and freeing!
Rule #1: Do Your Homework! Read up on everything you can get your hands on regarding plus modeling. Study the industry. Follow the careers of successful plus models and models that have a similar look to yours. Take a look at the photos working models use to promote themselves and the clothing they wear.
Plus models are usually 5’8 or taller and range in size from 8-18/20. If you are larger than that then you may want to take a good look at your priorities. I am NOT saying you have to lose weight. In my personal journey, at a size 26 I had a realization that I was not going to be taken seriously as a plus size fashion model and I started taking better care of my body and corrected some of my eating habits.
Also, just because you want to be a plus model it doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want and not work out. Plus models still work out and maintain their weight so that they can stay the size that they are—especially if you are getting work at that size. Being toned is very important.
Stop getting Tattoos and body piercings. Stay away from anything that will mark your body and make it harder for you to get work. If you already have tattoos it may not be an issue because airbrushing is always an option but clients want to spend the least amount of money possible on photo shoots and airbrushing is an extra cost for them.
Go to open calls at agencies that represent Plus Models: Study up on the agencies in your hometown and neighboring cities. Find out when they have open calls for plus models and visit them at those times. If they only accept photos by mail then mail in a photo.
DO NOT send a nude photo of yourself or a picture of you with a friend, pet or family member. The photos you submit should represent you in your best light. They don’t have to be professional. A Polaroid photo will do just fine as long as it is taken in a good light.
If you decide to go to an open call wear as little make up as possible. They like it when you go with a “clean face” but that does not mean to go bare faced unless you are camera ready without make up (generally speaking, if you are over age 18 you need a little help!) Concealer, light powder, lip-gloss and light mascara can create a clean look. Basically you want to look as young and fresh as possible not like you’re heading to the club after the casting.
Getting representation from an agency is FREE. DO NOT give anyone any money to represent you. If an agency wants up front payment for repping you RUN away!
Also, please don’t spend a lot of money on your first few photo shoots. If you’re new to the industry and not really comfortable yet in front of the camera, investing in a photo shoot could be a waste of your money. Try to do trade outs with photographers. In exchange for your being his/her model they get to use the pictures of you in their portfolios and you get pictures to use in your own “book.”
As you begin your career as a model DO NOT quit your day job: Find a way to model when you can as often as you can but modeling is generally not very lucrative in the beginning. I encourage you to do as many local fashion shows as possible to get yourself familiar with the runway.
Learn your best angles: Stay in the mirror practicing your poses and facial expressions. Take a look at the models in the major fashion magazines and learn from them. You MUST learn to make their poses adapt to your body type. As plus size women we can’t always mimic the poses of our size 2 counterparts. For instance, a lot of straight sized models like to slouch and cave in their abs. As plus models that isn’t a good look for us. Generally we should stand up straight to create longer, leaner looking lines. Booty shoots, and other playboy/smooth magazine type inspired poses are not favorably looked upon unless you are trying model in those types of publications. If that is the case you should research those fields before you blindly submit to fashion agencies.
The bottom line: Modeling is not easy and it’s not for everyone. If you want to be a model more than anything, don’t give up. If you are told “no” by agencies, keep striving. However, if you keep getting negative feedback from professionals and it’s similar criticism again and again you may want to listen to what they are all saying and adapt. If fashion modeling doesn’t work out for you but you still long to be in front of the camera then you may want to seek out casting agencies or Ad agencies in your community who cast commercials. Casting directors are always looking for “real people” and that generally includes plus sized women.
I hope this helps!