From Ashley Graham making waves in the fashion industry to designers such as Christian Siriano celebrating the beauty and body shapes of full-figured women, it has been predicted by The Hollywood Reporter that size diversity in the world of modeling will become the new normal. Such an observation, may (and should) stir up inspiration within any plus-size woman who has dreamed of modeling.
Reputable Plus Size Modeling Agencies
If you are ready to break into the world of modeling, below is a list of agencies you should consider exploring. Before setting out to accomplish your dream of becoming a model, determine whether you are interested in print, runway, commercial or all. Next, explore which agencies provide work for models who are interested in the direction you wish to take your modeling career.
Since 2013, JAG models has been representing women of all sizes and placing models on the pages of top magazines such as Bazaar, Vogue, and Elle.
- To apply and get an appointment, aspiring models should forward three images for review in effort to have an introductory appointment scheduled with JAG models. Co-founder of JAG explains on Backstage.com that models should "send digitals of just your face, without makeup, and one full-body in a bathing suit, preferably, and your hair pulled back."
- After you submit your images you can expect to hear from JAG only if they are interested. A representative shared that they receive thousands of submissions from interested models and only if they like a girl do they call her in for an appointment. However, when they do call her in, she should make sure to adhere to all parts of their requirements and requests for the initial meeting.
Dorothy Combs Models
Founded in 2005, Dorthy Combs Models has been representing full-size models for placements with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle clients internationally. The Florida-based agency represents and nurtures the careers of models nationally.
- Models who are interested in meeting with Dorthy Combs should be at least 5'9 and taller, sizes 10-18, and submit their photos via email or mail.
If the agents of Dorthy Combs agency love your look, they will call you in for an appointment. Plus Size model Kristen Madison shared with Essence Magazine that she got a reply to come into the office after she submitted images and was signed on the same day of her meeting. If they love your look, you might be just as lucky.
TRUE Model Management
Founded by Dale Noelle, TRUE Model Management is a full-service agency representing models of all sizes and categories for fitting, showroom, trade show, print, runway, and production.
Areas of Opportunity
Curves is the plus size arm of TRUE with more specific areas or distinctions for modeling, such as Mainboard, Lifestyle, Fitting, and Development.
- The Mainboard features the most developed and experienced print models.
- The Lifestyle board highlights models who can be booked for commercial print work.
- The Fitting board is where production fit models who must have well-proportioned, balanced figures and maintain their size while working with fashion designers and/or clothing manufacturers.
- Fit models are also expected to wear the creations of designers they work with to assess and help perfect the fit, drape, and visual appearance of clothing designs that are shipped to retailers and consumers.
- The last board area listed is Development, which includes models who are often new to the business and are in the process of building their portfolios.
Obtaining an Appointment
When evaluating whether TRUE Model Management may work for you, you'll want to consider the following:
- When submitting online to get an appointment with model managers at TRUE Model Management, aspiring models must send natural digital photos with little or no makeup in form-fitting clothing that accurately shows the current shape of your body.
- During your initial meeting, TRUE measures each model's height, body circumferences such as bust, waist, hip, etc. Models should also wear clothing that is simple, stylish and well-fitting that shows their shape. Good hygiene and a supportive bra and undies are advised for body measuring.
Additionally, the manager/agent may take digitals so that they can share the images with the rest of the team later for consideration.
At your initial meeting, it is a good idea to bring a portfolio, if you have professional images. Images help an agent to see how you photograph, even if they want to build a portfolio from scratch with you.
Following your meeting with TRUE Model Management, Dale explains "The time it takes from an initial meeting to a signed contract differs from model to model. A contract may be offered to a model, for appropriate categories, after discussion among the TRUE team. We usually approve new models the same week we meet them. TRUE Model Management encourages each model to review the contract closely and to seek any advice needed to gain clarity before signing. So, the overall time for this process is usually dependent on the model."
Wilhelmina Models Curve Division
Known as one of the most prestigious modeling and talent agencies, Wilhelmina represents entertainers, musicians, children, men, and women. The full-figured division of Wilhelmina is called Curve. A rep from Curve/Wilhelmina says, "There is now a full-figure market with endless opportunities for women of all sizes. Breaking into this market opens the door for all women without limitations."
- To apply and get an appointment, submit your body images and measurements and images of your face, side profile, a quarter body image, and a full body shot to the agency's website. Aspiring models can also submit their images via Instagram.
- During an initial meeting with Wilhelmina, a plus size model should expect to have her measurements taken and updated on an information sheet.
- The team then meets with the model and gets to know a bit more about her, her goals/dreams, background, etc.
- To end the meeting digital photos are taken of the aspiring model. While it is not always necessary for an aspiring model to have a portfolio of photographs present, it is helpful.
Natural Models LA
Established in 2011 by top full-figure model Katie H. Willcox, Natural Models LA represents the beauty and health of the average woman.
- To apply and get an appointment, interested models should submit their body measurements, sizes, and upload a headshot, full body image, and resume.
- During an initial meeting, it is advised that plus size models expect for it to be like a first date. They will find out a little about the model, who she is, and about her goals.
- Aspiring models who have started taking photos for their portfolios should bring those images to the initial appointment with the agency. If not, that's okay too. As an agency, Natural Models LA wants to help aspiring models develop and build their portfolios. It is advised that aspiring models not bring printed-out selfies or Instagram photos, as it is not what the agents at this agency are interested in seeing.
- The model should also be prepared to have her measurements and digital photos taken.
- Measurements are taken during the appointment because 99% of potential models do not give accurate measurements when they submit their information.
- Digital photos are taken to see how the model acts in front of the camera, if she is comfortable, and moves well.
Following an appointment with Natural Models LA, if the model meets the agency's requirements and needs, she can sign a contract at the end of the meeting (as long as agents and models are on the same page). Once the team discusses the aspiring model's potential, a contract is sent over to the model later that day.
Models represented by Natural Models LA include Alessandra Garcia-Lorido (who has been in Vogue and Glamour magazine, as well as representing a huge campaign for Wet 'N' Wild). Bree Kish is another well-known name the agency represents, who has been recognized for being on the Forever 21 website. Kristina Yeo is an international model who has modeled for many plus size brands.
Your Next Step
When it comes to taking a big step towards your modeling dream, you should know that this area is bustling. Bring an optimistic attitude and get ready to work hard because your talent and hard work could propel you to open doors of this continually growing part of the modeling industry. Becoming a successful plus size model will not happen overnight. However, now that you have a comprehensive list of agencies that may be interested in your talent, make sure that you are prepared with a go-getter mindset, photogenic skills, and a great personality. With those tools, you are ready to face the competitive world of plus size modeling.