18 Curve and Plus-Size Models You Need to Know (2024)

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Models

By Hannah Jackson

18 Curve and Plus-Size Models You Need to Know (4)

Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

The runway has long catered to a waifish ideals. Across 219 shows in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, Vogue Business reported that only 17 brands featured plus-size models—a statistic that reflects the true lack of size diversity in fashion and the refusal of brands to consider the realities of women’s bodies. (According to a 2016 study from the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, the average American woman wears a size 16-18.) There is a similar, growing desire to represent people who fall into the “curve” or “mid-size” range, which is generally defined as sizes 6-10. While still considered “straight size,”—meaning, in part, that they can find their size at many retailers and brands—many curve models are unable to fit into sample sizes while not qualifying as plus.

But these days, in spite of the many obstacles, plus-size and curve models are some of the most recognizable faces in fashion. Ashley Graham has become a household name; British Vogue anointed Paloma Elsesser, Precious Lee, and curve model Jill Kortleve “the new supers;” Yumi Nu graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But even with this increase in visibility, there is still a long way to go.

“I urge fashion to never let this momentum seize until seeing bodies and experiences like mine and beyond are no longer radical, no longer different; no longer rare,” Elsesser wrote on Instagram after she appeared on the January 2021 cover of Vogue. “I want to see bigger bodied femmes, dark skin femmes, disabled people, and all the iterations of identity that have left so many alone in media.”

Below Vogue has rounded up some of the most game-changing curve and plus-size models in the industry. You may recognize them from the runways of New York Fashion Week to the covers of your favorite magazines. If you don’t know their names already, you will soon.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Paloma Elsesser

Agency: IMG

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

One of the most prolific models of her generation, the 2020 Model of the Year winner has already nabbed a handful of worldwide Vogue covers and has walked the runways for everybody from Fendi to Alexander McQueen.

Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images

Ashley Graham

Agency: IMG

Hometown: Lincoln, NE

Graham has become a household name thanks to her modeling chops and her growing status as a TV personality. She made history as the first plus-size model to cover Sports Illustrated, and that same year was a Forbes “30 Under 30” honoree.

Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Precious Lee

Agency: IMG

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Hometown: Atlanta, GA

One of the most prominent plus-size models working today, Lee can be found anywhere from the Met Gala to strutting down the runway in Jean Paul Gaultier couture to starring in a Marc Jacobs fragrance ad.

Victor VIRGILE/Getty Images

Jill Kortleve

Agencies: The Movement, IMG, Muse, Women, Milk

Hometown: Heerlen, The Netherlands

Kortleve first rose to fame when she made her runway debut for Alexander McQueen’s spring 2019 show. One year later, Kortleve was the first plus-size model to walk the runway for Chanel since 2010’s cruise show. “There’s a much needed change happening on the runway and I’m proud and feel grateful to be a part of it,” she wrote on Instagram.

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Tess McMillan

Agency: IMG

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Hometown: Beaumont, TX

With her bright red hair and milkmaid complexion, Tess McMillan automatically stands out. She’s walked the runway in Gucci’s Love Parade and has nabbed campaigns for Balmain, MAC, Carolina Herrera, and Jean Paul Gaultier.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: Celina Ralph attends an exclusive party hosted by designer Maximilian Raynor to celebrate bygone glamour at new members club 1 Warwick on June 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty Images)David M. Benett/Getty Images

Celina Ralph

Agency: The Society, Elite

Hometown: Hastings, United Kingdom

Ralph stays incredibly busy between walking for Emilio Pucci, Alexander McQueen and Max Mara’s most recent shows and shooting editorials for Vogue France, Harper’s Bazaar, and CR Fashion Book. The British model can also be spotted in Neiman Marcus’s Pre-Fall ad.

NNON, ROLO

Candice Huffine

Agencies: Next, Chic

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Hometown: Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

The American model has recently become a Victoria’s Secret go-to, starring in several of the rebooted brand’s ads. Huffine has credited Steven Miesel with helping kickstart her career: the famed photographer shot her for the cover of Vogue Italia and named her one of his “Calendar Girls” for the 2015 Pirelli Calendar.

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Yumi Nu

Agencies: The Society, Elite

Hometown: Englewood, NJ

Nu broke through then she was the first-ever Asian-American plus-size model to cover the legendary Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But the 2021 Breakout Star nominee has plenty of other impressive accolades under her belt. At just 24, she was featured on the September 2021 cover of Vogue alongside Bella Hadid, Precious Lee, and Kaia Gerber.

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22: Devyn Garcia walks the runway during the Max Mara Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2023 fashion show as part of the Milan Fashion Week on September 22, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)Victor VIRGILE/Getty Images

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Devyn Garcia

Agency: DNA

Hometown: Miami, FL

From walking Jacquemus’s Versailles runway to booking covers of Harper's Bazaar, i-D, and Porter all in a year, we can’t wait to see what Garcia does next.

Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

Holly Rose Emery

Agencies: Next, Milk, pavé, Priscilla’s, Red Eleven

Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand

Emery has found success in both print and runway. She’s walked for Valentino haute couture and shared a cover of Harper’s Bazaar Australia with Gemma Ward. Emery has also shown up in high profile campaigns including a 2022 Calvin Klein underwear ad.

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Alva Claire

Agency: IMG

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Hometown: London, UK

The 2020 Breakout Star nominee has kept busy over the last few years. She has featured in multiple British Vogue issues this year alone, and can also be found in this summer’s Marc Jacobs Daisy Drops perfume ad. She, along with Kortleve and Lee, also made history as the first plus-size models to walk for Versace.

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Lauren Chan

Agencies: JAG, IMM, LaDrew

Hometown: Brantford, Ontario, Canada

While today you may find her walking for Christian Siriano and Peter Do, Chan was formerly the fashion features editor at Glamour, where she won an American Society of Magazine Editors Award. Her return to modeling coincided with the creation of her plus-size fashion brand, Henning, which was acquired by Universal Standard earlier this year. Chan has also racked up an impressive reputation for advocacy as an ambassador for National Eating Disordera Association and a member of the Model Alliance.

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Ava Hariri-Kia

Agency: Next

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Hometown: New York, NY

Hariri-Kia has been involved at fashion on every level. As a student at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, she organized the school’s famous fashion show Don’t Walk. Since then she’s modeled for Gen-Z underwear brand Parade and landed an editorial in the summer 2023 issue of i-D.

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Georgia Pratt Holiber

Agency: IMG

Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand

Having posed for the likes of Vogue Italia and walked the runway for Christian Siriano, Pratt made her own foray into fashion, starting the brand Hilda Ereaut.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Ajok Daing walks the runway at the Tommy Factory New York Fall 2022 fashion show at Skyline Drive-In during New York Fashion Week on September 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Ajok Daing

Agency: The Industry, Oui, Milk, Fabbricia, Uno

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Hometown: Milan, Italy

This curve model shows no signs of slowing down. With recent runway stints for Chanel, Nina Ricci, and Max Mara, and a fresh Vogue France cover under her belt, Daing is poving herself a rising star in the industry.

Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

Jocelyn Corona

Agency: Muse, Milk, Mad

Hometown: Guadalajara, Mexico

The Mexican model has both a successful runway and editorial career. Shes strutted down the catwalk for Christian Siriano and Peter Do, and recently debuted a Fenty Beauty campaign.

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Leslie Sidora

Agencies: Ford, Milk, Natural

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Hometown: Paris, France

Lawrence has graced international covers from Elle Sweden to Harper’s Bazaar Brazil. Earlier this year she featured in an Elle editorial. She may be best recognized, however, from walking in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show.

Jerritt Clark/Getty Images

Denise Bidot

Agency: Muse, TESS, CAA

Hometown: Miami, FL

Bidot broke through when she walked for Chromat’s spring 2015 and has been a regular presence on the brand’s runways ever since. The model has also landed campaigns for Levi’s, Olay, and Savage X Fenty.

Listen to models Paloma Elsesser and Jill Kortleve talk to Vogue on this episode of The Run-Through here.

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Hannah Jackson is a fashion writer at Vogue, where she covers celebrity style, trends, and occasionally culture. Her work has also appeared in Elle, The Cut, Architectural Digest, Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone, W, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn. You can email her at hannahrose_jackson@condenast.com.

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18 Curve and Plus-Size Models You Need to Know (2024)

FAQs

What are the requirements for plus-size models? ›

Plus-size modeling is generally a size 12 and up. Plus-size models are typically evaluated and cast based on dress size rather than body measurements. As a general rule, plus-size models are defined by the fashion industry as anyone larger than a size 6.

What is the minimum weight for plus-size model? ›

Plus-size models

Female measurements: Plus-size women working in modeling are usually a size 12 and above. Their weight should typically be between 161 and 205 pounds, with a chest size of 41” to 45”.

What do agencies look for in plus-size models? ›

A strong portfolio: In addition to having the right body type, those hoping to break into plus-size modeling should also have a strong portfolio of professional photos that showcases their unique look and style. Confidence: Models must be comfortable in front of the camera and have a confident and engaging personality.

How many plus-size models are there? ›

With an average of 40 looks each, that means around 2,400 models were cast to walk the runway. Milan had 15 curve models last season and 14 for the autumn/winter 2023 collections. So, to recap, just 14 out of 2,400 models were considered curve or plus.

What do you need to be a curve model? ›

What size do I need to be? At Sandra Reynolds we are looking for both male and female curve and mid-sized models. Female curve models should be a dress size 12 or above. Men (sometimes known as 'brawn' or 'big & tall' models), should be chest size 46" and above, or a height of 6'4" and over.

How much does plus size models get paid? ›

Plus Size Models Salary
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$70,000$34
75th Percentile$70,000$34
Average$60,000$29
25th Percentile$50,000$24

What do modeling agencies not want? ›

Learn what modeling agencies are not looking for and why. Understand the importance of features like small eyes and a soft jawline. Discover how to increase your chances of landing modeling opportunities.

How hard is it to be a plus size model? ›

Is it hard to be a plus-size model? The difficulty in being a plus-size model is that there is a lot of competition in this area. However, if you put in the effort to improve yourself, keep fit, and develop certain skills, you can get into a good agency and become a professional model.

Is there a demand for plus size models? ›

The plus size fashion market is experiencing notable growth, which is reflected in a greater presence of plus size models in the campaigns and catwalks of many brands. However, a clear tendency prevails to exclusively represent plus-size women.

Who is the heaviest plus-size model? ›

Plus-size model Tess Holliday (previously known as Tess Munster) made history on Thursday when she signed to MiLK Model Management in the U.K., officially becoming the largest woman of her size ever signed to a major modeling agency [via Daily News].

What do plus-size models start at? ›

A plus-size model is an individual size 12 and above who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing.

What is the average plus-size? ›

When it comes to the fashion industry, "plus size" generally refers to clothing labeled size 14 and up in the United States, although this varies by brand and may start anywhere from size 12 to 18. In the UK, it's typically size 16 and up, and in Europe, the sizes usually begin at 44 and up.

What qualifies as a plus size model? ›

A plus-size model is an individual size 12 and above who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size clothing worn by plus-size models is typically catering for and marketed to either big, tall or overweight men and women.

What size do you have to be to be considered plus-size? ›

According to PLUS Model magazine, "In the fashion industry, plus size is identified as sizes 18 and over, or sizes 1X-6X and extended size as 7X and up". The article continues "Susan Barone [...] shared, 'Plus sizes are sizes 14W – 24W. Super sizes and extended sizes are used interchangeably for sizes 26W and above.

How much do you have to weigh to be a model? ›

Average: average doesn't mean much but you should weigh about 5 to 7 pounds for every inch over five foot plus 100 lbs. A 5'6″ average model should weigh 128 to 135 lbs. Plus size fit models should weigh about 7 to 9 lbs for every inch over five foot plus 100 lbs. A 5'8″ plus size fit model should weigh 155 to 170 lbs.

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