I want to start this off by making one thing abundantly clear. I have no problem with skinny women. This isn’t a “we hate skinny girls” post. It’s not even a “real women have curves” post. The truth is that your body type does not (or should not, at least) dictate your femininity and it shouldn’t dictate how you feel about who you are as a woman. As women, we should support each other, not put each other down to feel better about ourselves. Whether you’re big and beautiful or skinny and sexy, you should congratulate the ten stunning plus size models on this list for breaking through beauty barriers and proving curves are something to be proud of. Without any further ado, I present to you the ten most beautiful plus size models in the fashion industry today.
10. Whitney Thompson
Dress Size: 12-14 (US)
I was hesitant to include Whitney on this list because I’m not sure I’d really consider her a “plus size” model. She’s more full figured than many of the models working in the industry so I decided she counts. She’s a stunning woman, obviously, but she’s also an important symbol of the changing attitude toward bigger girls in the fashion world. As the winner of America’s Next Top Model in season 10, Whitney beat out all of the other, skinnier models in the competition and showed the world that big (or at least bigger) can be every bit as beautiful as thin.
09. Mia Tyler
Dress Size: 12-16 (US)
The sad thing about Mia Tyler is that she is never judged on her own merits. The daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and half sister of Liv Tyler, Mia is always compared to someone she isn’t. How does she respond to that? By improving herself, overcoming a rocky phase that included self-mutilation and drug addiction, and learning to love exactly who she is. She now has her own clothing line for plus sized women (gorgeous clothes, by the way) and a booming career as a plus size model. I adore this woman in ways I can’t describe.
08. Chloe Marshall
Dress Size: 16
Tall, big and beautiful, Chloe Marshall earned the distinction of being the very first plus size woman to compete for the Miss England crown after winning the Miss Surrey title in 2008. While she didn’t win the title of Miss England, she did far better than the naysayers expected, scoring second place. Of course the pageant process wasn’t easy. There were the vocal few who felt her inclusion in the pageant promoted poor health and obesity. So why go through what had to have been a painful process? She did it because she wanted to “break the stereotype that you have to be tall and skinny to be considered beautiful.” Despite what the critics said, I’d say she accomplished her mission.
07. Crystal Renn
Dress Size: 10-12 (US)
Crystal Renn may seem a little bit out of place on this list. She’s not really all that ‘plus sized’ as far as I can tell but I included her on this list for two reasons. First, she’s one of my favorite models. Second, she has such a tremendous story I couldn’t leave her off the list. Crystal was scouted by a modeling agent at the tender age of fourteen but was told she would need to lose a third of her body weight if she wanted to be successful. A series of eating disorders followed and eventually Crystal walked away from the industry. She decided to take better care of herself and embrace her natural, fuller figure. She returned to modeling with her healthier self image and became a successful and accomplished plus size model.
06. Kate Dillon
Dress Size: 10
Once upon a time, Kate had a booming career in modeling but the pressure to stay thin led her to unhealthy eating habits including, at one point, a diet that consisted of nothing but cigarettes and coffee. After losing even more weight when she was hospitalized as a result of her dangerous eating habits, Kate decided it was time for a change. The lesson wasn’t learned from her hospital stay though. She decided to change when a fellow model told her Kate looked ‘fabulous’ shortly after being released from the hospital when Kate was looking frail and gaunt. The result of her change? A beautiful, fuller figure and a successful plus size modeling career.
05. Toccara Jones
Dress Size: 12
While Toccara Jones didn’t win America’s Next Top Model when she was a contestant on the show in season three, she definitely made a lasting impression. She finished in 7th place but she also won “Covergirl of the Week” five times over the course of her run which is pretty impressive in and of itself. The show was really just a starting point for her. She signed with prestigious Wilhelmina Models and soon became an in demand plus sized model.
04. Tara Lynn
Dress Size: 14-16
There is nothing about Tara Lynn that isn’t absolutely gorgeous. It isn’t hard to see why she’s often sited as one of the most beautiful plus sized models working in the fashion industry today. It isn’t just about her curves, either. While her body is certainly beautiful, it’s those gorgeous eyes of hers that really steal the show. Tara’s story is the same of many of the other models on this list. She started off as a standard size model but soon found the pressure to stay thin was wreaking havoc on her health. She chose to embrace her natural body type and is now one of the most in demand plus size models working today.
03. Justine Legault
Dress Size: 14-16
I have to cop to a little home country pride with this one because Miss. Justine Legault hails from my country, Canada. That’s not why she landed so high on this list though. I chose her for number three because she’s just a natural in front of the camera. Her poses have a sort of effortless beauty about them and I appreciate that. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that she’s absolutely stunning. I clearly remember absolutely melting the first time I saw a photo of this beautiful woman and that love has never faded.
02. Ashley Graham
Dress Size: 16
It is hard to imagine a society in which Ashley Graham is not considered beautiful. I believe that is because no such society exists. She’s stunning – absolutely gorgeous. Back in 2010, Graham found herself at the center of a bit of controversy involving a commercial, cleavage and whether or not full figured women, or plus sized women, should be afforded the same right to strip down to the skivvies to hawk underwear as skinny women are. The fact that such a conversation even needed to be had makes me sad and offends me as a woman. Ashley handed it beautifully though and continues to be a successful model to this day.
01. Fluvia Lucerda
Dress Size: 18
It is absolutely impossible not to love this woman. Stunningly beautiful with confidence for says, there is nothing to be said about this woman that hasn’t been said before. Not only does she love her body the way it is and embrace it with both arms open, she isn’t shy about posting photos of herself on her blog (which is a must read, by the way – check it out by clicking here) wearing a bikini and not a bit of makeup. That is real confidence, my friends, and in my humble opinion, is real beauty. And that, darlings, is why Fluvia is number one on this list.
We still have a long way to go before plus size models are really and truly on the same level as their less curvy counterparts but the ten women we’ve just talked about are making great strides in changing that. The thinner models on this list prove that you also don’t have to be one or the other. In between is just fine too. We need to learn to love who we are and learn to treat our bodies with respect. Being unhealthy is not the goal and that applies to either end of the spectrum. We’ll give the skinny girls their day too because tearing each other down because of the shape of our body gets us nowhere. If you’re a big, beautiful woman, hating on the skinny girls doesn’t make you more beautiful. If you’re a skinny girl hating on the big girls, you are not more beautiful. Let’s love, respect and appreciate each other. Remember, beauty is only skin deep. What lies beneath will eventually come through.