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12 Secrets Plus-Size Models Want You To Know

BuzzFeed spoke to Tess Holliday, Hayley Hasselhoff, Louise O'Reilly, and Nicolette Mason at The Curve Fashion Festival.

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1. The plus-size industry is growing around the world.

Louise O'Reilly: "The number of [plus-size] retailers here is incredible, but when you compare it with the likes of Australia, where magazines use a variety of body types for editorials and don't make an issue of it, then the UK and Ireland definitely need to catch up. I think we're maybe about a year off."

Hayley Hasselhoff: "It's really interesting that some magazines use a plus-size model in every single issue but don't label them as plus-size."

2. But it could stand to be more diverse.

Tess Holliday: "There's been a lot of focus on the term 'plus-size', but we need to talk about diversity within the plus-size industry. When you look at the plus-size department, [all the models] tend to look the same. [When I did the H&M campaign,] the overall message [was] that they were trying to include people of all different body types, genders, and ethnicities. That's what was important."

3. The British high street is a really positive place for plus-size women.

HH: "I think the high street here in the UK is stronger than anywhere else in the world. You've got SimplyBe and Evans, and [you see their clothes advertised in] magazines, which is what girls need."

4. But people are less accepting towards plus-size women in the UK in general.

TH: "In the States, we are much more embracing of plus-size women. We talk about it a lot more. Even though you still get the trolls and people who say [negative] stuff in the comments section, there's much more of a presence of plus-size models. There's such a stigma [in the UK] that I'm not used to. People just talk shit. I've been stared at since I got here. I mean, people just look at me like I'm the scum of the earth."


5. Being plus-size does not mean you're unhealthy.

TH: "I don't like to talk about health, because I feel people make assumptions based on my size that I'm not healthy. They do the same thing to models that are smaller, and I feel like health is such a personal thing for people; you can't look at anyone and tell that they're healthy or not."

HH: "At the end of the day, I know that I'm healthy: I've had my doctor's check-ups, I work out regularly, I eat healthy because I want to, and that's where the body confidence comes from, because I know that this is my figure for what it is."

6. And, believe it or not, plus-size models do take care of themselves.

LO: "We still have to go to the gym and eat healthily, because the same principles of modelling apply to us. You have to drink loads of water to make your skin look healthy, you need to be eating your fruit and veg, and when you're on a shoot, your legs have to look toned and you have to look lean. So those are things you take care of no matter what size you are."

Nicolette Mason: "For me, if you feel good about yourself, you're more likely to take care of yourself."

7. People pick on plus-size women because they're an easy target.

NM: "People do it because it's really easy to pick on someone and say, 'You're fat.' When someone says it to me, I'm like, 'OK, and…what else?!' It's a cheap shot, and beyond that I think it's a projection of their own insecurities. Everyone has an insecurity. I don't believe that there's anyone in the world that's completely devoid of self-consciousness. Whatever it is they're uncomfortable with, I think often they seek it out in others and try to pull them down in order to lift themselves up a little."

8. But surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a really positive step.

NM: "The best way to feel good about yourself is to find people who have the same insecurities and find what makes them amazing. I think that's what's so beautiful about the whole body-positive movement: It's really all about people lifting up others and saying, 'You are worthwhile, you are important, and you are valuable.'"

TH: "I think, as plus-size women, we're so used to having to fight for everything. We've had to fight for good clothing, for representation in the media, and for people to give a shit about us. It's constantly a fight, so I feel like our instinct is to be defensive and guarded. It's unfortunate, but that's how it is."


9. Fashion is just as important as size.

Richard Manning / BuzzFeed

TH: "I know for a fact that [my] photos are going to go online, and instead of people talking about the amazing outfit I have on, they're going to talk about the fact that I'm unhealthy. Instead of them saying, 'God, I LOVE that!', they're going to focus on my size and that's infuriating."

HH: "I think we're focusing too much on body image and not enough on fashion. We need [plus-size clothes to be] more available, and we need high-fashion retailers to understand that we deserve quality. The fact is, I'm not going into a store to buy body confidence; I'm going into a store to buy clothing that makes me feel confident."

10. In fact, there's a real need for high-quality plus-size clothing.

NM: "Whenever there's an editorial in a high-fashion magazine using plus-size models, they're never wearing any clothes. I think there's a real lack of beautiful clothes, and there's only a handful of designers that are doing high-end fashion for plus."

11. The industry is evolving though.

NM: "There were all of these really amazing plus-size moments during New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs had Beth Ditto walking the catwalk, Chromat had Denise Bidot walking the catwalk, and Lane Bryant had their own show. There were all of these moments that were part of the NYFW vibe, and it's been really fun to see a bit of an evolution."

HH: "I think we really have to appreciate where we've come to. It's not like we just came out of the blue, and people are realising that. We're now doing catwalks, we're now doing festivals. There's a lot more going on."

12. But we need to see more changes in the future.

TH: "I've got far in my career for being very vocal and standing up against things that I didn't think were right. I think if we want to see change in the industry, then we have to make that change."

LO: "New York Fashion Week was just incredible. But but we had London Fashion Week last week, and there was no diversity there whatsoever. In order for real change to happen, we need to see it coming from designers."