Fashion industry standards vs Realities perceptions.
When I became a model I always expected to and consistently did put the word ‘plus’ in front of the word model. This was due to the fact that I would get looked up and down and be judged on my appearance, I wasn’t small enough, and had tits and ass for days compared to the ‘normal’ stereotypical model that the industry is used to. I felt it was easier to call myself a ‘plus model’ to relieve any feelings of confusion on the bearers end. I never felt any animosity toward the word, it is actually what I am, a plus size model, and I was proud of my size and the positive message I was relaying to the world. I never thought I would have to defend myself for not being ‘plus’ enough, which is something that seems to be occurring more frequently.
I am a size 12-14 US, 14 AU, 14-16 UK, well and truly a plus size model by industry standards. Although, what I have come to learn of in the last few years modeling is that industry standards and reality do not equate. My measurements as a ‘plus size’ are actually realities average and it can cause a hell of a lot of confusion within the public forum when someone of my size is considered ‘plus’.
When compared to an industry standard (clothes horse, heroin chic, cocaine chic, whatever word you would like to use, I don’t approve of any of them) model, my measurements are significantly larger.
- Bust 33 inches: 41 inches (30a-b: 36 DD-E)
- Waist 24 inches: 30 inches
- Hips 34 inches: 43 inches (Dang girl, that’s a sweet boot-ay)
Left: Victoria's Secret Model, Right: Laura Wells (me) 18th November 2013
My thighs are around the size of both a straight size models thighs joined together, and I definitely do not have a thigh gap, I could probably start a fire between my thighs if we were desperate!
Yes I have a waist and a relatively flat stomach; it is something I have always had. I don’t sit at home constantly working out my abs (thanks for the enquiries), my weight is distributed mainly around my bum and thighs.
I work out, eat healthily but don’t stop myself from indulging (I just ate a delicious chocolate brownie) or being happy. I have muscle; I have normal sized calves, yet I still have issues buying winter boots that will do up. I have home grown boobs and struggle to find shirts that do up without looking like the buttons will fly off and stab somebody in the eye; I have a butt that has on a few occasions bust the seam of a skirt or pants at the most inappropriate of times. I find it hard to wear certain styles of clothing without looking like a block and have only in the last few years started wearing jeans again because I used to feel to ‘big’ to wear them.
I choose my swimsuits wisely, 1. So my boobs don’t go flying out when I go swimming and 2 so I don’t get a muffin top that makes everyone at the beach hungry for pastries.
I, like majority of others have body insecurities, I have overcome a lot of them but most of all I don’t let them rule my life or stop me from doing what I want. I refuse to let a trashy gossip magazine tell me ‘what’s hot’ because if I did next week I’ll be the shamed Miley Cyrus of the local area and licking the local wrecking ball will no longer be cool.
The disparities between the modeling industry and reality are profound yet we need to consider them for what they actually are not how they are expected to be perceived. When the fashion industry labels something as ‘normal’ or ‘beautiful’ it should not be taken literally nor be the essence of our culture. Beauty is perceived differently by each individual and comes in all shapes, sizes, colours and textures. It is not airbrushed, and rarely has straight pearly whites; it often has cellulite (god forbid) and doesn’t need to be adorned in thousand dollar designer garments for the benefit of someone else’s approval.
Just because someone is a ‘plus size’ doesn’t automatically make them less beautiful, just as if someone is skinny does not necessarily make them less attractive, on drugs or extreme diets. A woman is a woman no matter how curvy or straight she is and it is about time that that is recognized instead of the ideals we are forced to believe.
If we judged people on the size of their smile, the fullness of their heart, the width of their generosity and their breadth of compassion, beauty would be a much larger cross section of reality and negative body image an issue from the dark ages.
I am a plus size model, in reality I am average size person with a healthy BMI and a goal to be as happy and healthy as possible. I understand the confusion, the strain and the negative connotations that has to society. But we need to stand up and be our own judge of beauty, ignore the media hype and be the best people we can be for the sake of our own happiness, our children’s future and the legacy we want to leave behind. If I wasn’t labeled a plus size model I would have no platform to deliver my message of positive, healthy body image.