Philadelphia could be the city of opportunity for women seeking a career in plus size modeling. Whether you prefer runway modeling or posing for ads, catalogs and fashion spreads, today’s larger woman can find representation in Philadelphia.
Select a Philadelphia photographer proficient in shooting model composites who also understands how to capture the essence of a plus size woman. Narrow your search by contacting the American Society of Media Photographers. The ASMP’s Philadelphia network (see Resources) is considered the “most active” of the group’s 40 chapters and you’ll have your choice of professionals. Bring a variety of outfits to the studio so your full-body poses and headshots capture your personality and physical assets.
Design a model’s composite (also known as a comp card) once your photos are shot. If you’re better walking a runway than steering a computer design program, a Philadelphia-based graphic designer or advanced graphics design student at a Philadelphia community college or technical school closest to you can handle the job. Find comp card examples on Philadelphia modeling agency websites (see Resources). Print at least 100 color copies.
Return to the list of Philadelphia-based modeling agencies once your composite is printed. Call the agencies closest to your residence, particularly if you live in a Philadelphia suburb. Start booking introductory interviews with agents specializing in plus size clients. Schedule several on the same day for efficiency. Bring along a supply of comp cards and a modeling portfolio filled with photos. Mention your geographic proximity so agents know you're available for assignments throughout Philadelphia.
Check with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Ask if there have been complaints registered by area plus size models about agents on your short list to avoid scammers requesting up-front money for bookings or requiring you to sign up for their modeling classes as a condition of getting a contract. Once you choose an agent, have the contract vetted by a Philadelphia attorney before you sign it.
Anticipate rejection -- even Benjamin Franklin, perhaps Philadelphia's most beloved son, got plenty. There are lots of beautiful Philadelphia-based plus size models who fill out a size 16 dress as well as you. Competition can be tough and some agencies may turn you down simply because you don’t have the “look” they need. Still, opportunities exist if you're optimistic and tenacious.