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How to Become a Plus-Size Model: Tips & Advice

Entering the world of modeling is no easy deal, however starting as a plus-size model is a whole new turf – our editors compile a list of tips for fresh faces working to get in the industry:

Photo ©Stéphane Coutelle for DESIGN SCENE with Charlie Howard

Do you ever look through pages of your favorite magazine or scroll through social media, see plus-size models, and think, “This could be me?” Well, chances are that it could be! The fashion industry has become more inclusive than it’s ever been, thanks to the body positivity movement. Instead of advertisements and brands catering to an unattainable fantasy or unrealistic beauty ideals, the industry is becoming more reflective of its consumers.

If you have always wanted to be a model, but you’re worried that you don’t fit the height and weight requirements, it’s time to abandon that thought and get started on your very own modeling career. Today, anyone can become a plus-size model, as there aren’t as many barriers since social media has become a modeling agency of its own. So, whether you fit the model standard or not, this article will show you how to create a portfolio and start your journey as a plus-size model. Get ready to take notes!

Step 1: Research

As you start your modeling career, there are a few things you’ll want to consider and research. First, ask yourself what kind of model you want to be. There are many different kinds of models for example, there’s editorial work, runway, and fit modeling, or you could become a blogger or influencer, which could lead to all kinds of modeling opportunities.

Also this is a great moment for plus-size models, 2020 while a difficult year has finally brought equality to the runways as well. And we are also talking shape and sizes, Paloma Elsesser a plus size model has walked this season for the likes of Fendi and Ferragamo and was one of the busiest fashion models of the year. 

Photo ©Stéphane Coutelle for DESIGN SCENE with Charlie Howard

Most of these modeling gigs require you to be in front of the camera, but if you’re someone who’d rather be a model behind the scenes, a gig like being a fit model would be an awesome job for you. It would also be helpful to research what might be available in your region. If you’re located in a rural area that doesn’t necessarily have a modeling agency nearby, no worries. Today, most models don’t need an agency to represent them—while it might be nice. With a little bit of research, you might be surprised at what aspects of modeling you’re interested in, as well as the opportunities available to you.

Step 2: Attend an Open Casting

As you do your research, you may come across a local talent agency in your area. Check out its website to learn about its open casting calls and its height requirements for models. If you meet the requirements and you’d like to go in for an open casting call, this could potentially kick off your modeling career quickly.

While the fashion industry has definitely evolved, and models of all shapes, sizes, and types are being booked, you may find that modeling agencies still have a strict set of requirements for a person’s height, weight, and looks. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t meet the qualifications.

Photo ©Stéphane Coutelle for DESIGN SCENE with Charlie Howard

You can always show up to a casting call—whether you meet the requirements or not—for some experience. And, who knows? The agency might love your look and book you. If you’re eager to get on set and gain some experience, look for local modeling opportunities in your area. You can also star in student-produced films or photography projects. Opportunities are everywhere! When showing up to casting calls, make sure to wear cute plus-size clothes that are minimalistic and contours your figure.

Step 3: Create a Presence

If you want to become a plus-size model, you’ll need to be on social media. Instagram and TikTok are great places to be present if you want to book modeling gigs or get noticed by scouting agents or brands.

Clean Up Your Profile – If you already have an Instagram profile and you plan on using it to launch your modeling career, you will want to clean it up so that it looks professional, by archiving old images. You want your social media profile to represent you like a traditional portfolio would.

Create an Informative Bio – We’ll talk about taking images and videos for your profile in just a second, but another critical thing that potential models miss out on is making sure that your social media profile has all the information you need to get booked or recognized. Your bio should reflect that you are a model or an aspiring model and include important things on your bio like your height, any notable experience, and your location, as well as other descriptors.

Photo ©Stéphane Coutelle for DESIGN SCENE with Charlie Howard

Get a Simple Username – Make sure your username is simple but represents you well. Use your first and last name or your “stage” or blog name and make sure you have minimal characters. When you meet people in person, they will usually ask you what your Instagram handle is, and the last thing you want to do is give them a username with a bunch of underscores or periods, which can be hard to remember.

Step 4: Study and Emulate Other Models

Are there any other models that you currently look up to? If so, take time to study their social media pages and their portfolios. You will want to check out their instagram pages, the photos they post, the hashtags they use, and the kinds of content they share so that you can emulate them as you create your online presence.

Photo ©Stéphane Coutelle for DESIGN SCENE with Charlie Howard

Emulating models who are already doing a great job allows you to look more professional. It can also provide you with some guidance and structure as you prepare to launch into modeling. It’s also helpful to look at other modeling agencies and their social media presence just to see what their models look like. You will want to learn as much as possible and be able to replicate that in order to look like a professional model.

Step 5: Get in Front of the Camera

Now that you have done your research and you know what kind of content works in the modeling world, it’s time to get in front of the camera! If you aren’t quite comfortable with posing or posting photos on your profile, carve out time every week to get in front of the camera and just have fun.

After you get used to taking photos of yourself, you’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t, which will make you feel more confident. You don’t need a fancy camera—although higher-quality images always get noticed more. You can use your iPhone and the self-timer to snap photos of yourself. If you want the full model experience, book a photographer to shoot you. It will be helpful to get in the routine of shooting with someone so that you gain some experience for when you actually get booked!

Post Content Regularly

If you’re going to forgo going to an open casting call at an agency, and you want to start your modeling career by yourself on social media, the key to getting recognized is creating content that catches everyone’s eye. Make it a goal to post photos of yourself every single day for a month and see how much your following grows!

You’ll start to gain followers and, if your photo quality is great and you’re feeling confident in your content, you can even tag modeling agencies to get their attention. Building a presence on social media can get you into rooms where there are so many opportunities. So, get started today!

We know the modeling industry can be cutthroat and brutal, but never doubt yourself! As the fashion industry becomes so much more inclusive, agencies and brands will be looking for fresh new faces like yours.

All images feature plus size top model Charlie Howard who was photographed for DESIGN SCENE exclusively – to find out more on the world of plus size modeling read our exclusive interview with Charlie. The stunning images are work of photographer Stéphane Coutelle. 


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