Plus-size fashion is a growing business. According to market research firm MINTEL, among women in their early 20s, 8 percent are a size 18 or above, but 19 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 44 require a size 18 or larger.
To sell plus-size fashions, the modeling industry needs beautiful, full-figured women. Just as the conventional modeling industry is centered in New York City, so is the plus-size segment. If you wish to become a plus-size model, get ready for one of the most exciting—and challenging—modeling industry markets in the world.
Things You'll Need
- Money to move or travel to New York
- Digital camera
- Photo printing services
- Well-fitting, stylish clothing
- Computer with Internet service
Move to New York or be available to travel there frequently. New York is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States, so try to live in an outer borough or across the river in New Jersey. The best way to break into the industry is to be present and ready for last-minute opportunities.
Have the right look. In New York, there is a lot of competition from all over the world for just a few top plus modeling jobs. Plus-size model requirements "generally [range in size] from 12-18 for print, 12-24 for runway and size 18 for fit modeling. Height [should be] 5'4" and under for petite, 5'8" and above for regular and 5'9" and above for high fashion," according to Venus Diva magazine. You should also be under 30 years of age, toned and healthy looking.
Take pictures of yourself to show to agencies and show producers. There should be at least one full-length shot and one headshot. New York-based Ford Models, one of the biggest names in plus modeling, also likes profile shots and a smile shot. Take these pictures against a white wall, wear simple clothing and stay bare-faced.
Have your photos professionally printed. You'll need several copies to post to various agencies. Many accept plus-size applications only through the mail. Keep digital copies in case an agency allows email applications. New York agencies like it when candidates keep things simple, so resist the urge to send a fancy package.
Attend open model calls. These provide an opportunity agents to see women and start the representation process off quickly for those selected. Open model calls are highly competitive, however, and crowded.
In New York, Wilhelmina, Click, Ford and IKON all hold open plus-size model calls. Arrive early, wear something flattering and keep makeup light. Don't be offended if you're passed up or told to leave; simply move on to the next agency.
Check New York online modeling communities for potential work and fashion shows. Model Mayhem has a lot of photographers that work out of New York, and Manhattan is full of young designers looking for plus-size models. However, it's important to vet everyone thoroughly. Ask for references, look at the artist's portfolio and work to ensure that the shoot will be professional.
- Photo Credit beauty model image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from Fotolia.com
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