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7 Plus-size Models Who Advocate Body Positivity

Posted by on October 17, 2013

Trying to challenge societal beauty norms ain’t easy. It’s a challenge that any plus-size woman has definitely faced at one point or another, however, these seven plus-size models use their visibility as a stage for positive change in the fashion industry and increased size acceptance. These plus-size models exude confidence and beauty, even on Twitter!

1. Robyn Lawley

Lawley, 24, became really well-known after announcing that she was going to be the very first plus-sized model to star in a high-end designer’s campaign. Thus, Lawley became the face of Ralph Lauren. She has also been the cover model for Marie Claire, Vogue Italia, Australian Vogue, and Elle France.  She also has a passion for food and healthy living and her food blog, Robyn Lawley Eats, earned her a book deal with Random House.

2. Crystal Renn:

Renn, 27, struggled with anorexia nervosa in her teen years and spoke out about her struggles in her book Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.” She received some backlash for losing weight in recent years – reportedly her current dress size is around a US 8 – but Renn does not let criticisms about her appearance bother her. According to Renn her size has fluctuated from a 00 to a 16, but she is healthy, confident, and beautiful – a true model for body positivity.

3. Jennie Runk:

Runk, 24, became a household name when she took center stage for H&M’s summer 2013 beachwear campaign. Runk then used this popularity and went on to write an op-ed for BBC about the importance of size diversity in fashion and her experiences as a plus-size model.

4. Ashley Graham:

Graham, 25, came into the public eye when the Lane Bryant ad she starred in was banned from FOX and ABC airwaves for being too graphic. The ad in question showed Graham in lingerie and was not any more revealing or scandalous than any Victoria Secret ad – a fact that Graham pointed out in an interview: “The Victoria’s Secret girls can flaunt around their panties all day long. But when there’s a bigger woman with a little bit extra, they snipped it out immediately.”

5. Velvet d’Amour:

D’Amour, 45, shown here in a gorgeous IGIGI dress, is known for her strut down Jean Paul Gaultier’s Paris runway in his 2007 Spring/Summer show, but the model is also a successful photographer and the editor-in-chief of her own plus-size oriented fashion magazine - VOL•UP•2.

6. Fluvia Lacerda:

Lacerda, sometimes referred to as the “plus-size” Gisele Bündchen, is a plus-size model and a clothes designer. She’s been featured in Vogue Italia and Bust. In an interview with Refinery 29, Lacerda spoke about her experiences in the fashion industry and about the “stigma” of being a plus-size model: ”Yes, I am a model. That’s how I pay my bills. But, I model clothes for women who have a hard time finding clothes in the average shop, and they usually go to the plus-size section or label. It’s simple; and to me, really no big deal. If you look at me obviously you will know I am plus-size. I don’t wear 10, 12, or 14. I wear 18, sometimes 20. So, that’s my body shape and the industry I work with, and the women who keep me employed are plus-size. I have zero problems with being called a plus-size model.”

7. Rosie Mercado:

Rosie Mercado, 33, is a U.S. size 22 and proud of it. She is potentially one of the most groundbreaking and revolutionary plus-size models in the world right now because of her size, since so many plus-size models run between a U.S. size 8-14. In an interview with Plus Model Magazine, Mercado said, “I have a right to be in a catalog, on a website, gracing a billboard, dancing in a music video, even sitting in a position of power as a CEO or political figure. Other women like myself need to see role models that inspire and help to create a movement towards encouraging women to follow their dreams, make positive choices, and celebrate themselves, no matter the size. I am here to push forward and open the doors for diversity; this is my way of leaving my imprint on this world so other women can follow their dreams as well.”

These women are all taking steps to change the fashion industry and show a variety of body types on the notoriously waif-ish runways. Who is your favorite plus-size model? Let me know in the comments.

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