First things first, “plus-size” is, quite literally, a relative term.
And one we’re not too fond of.
But, if the media is to be believed, plus-size models are in the middle of their biggest moment yet.
Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated revealed not one but two plus-size models in their annual swimwear issue. Well, kind of. Ashley Graham became the first plus-size model to appear in an ad in the magazine, when the size-16 model donned a black bikini for swimwear line Swimsuits for All. In the same issue, Australian model Robyn Lawley (who is a size 12), was featured in an actual editorial.
It’s not without its backlash – and on both sides of the spectrum. While some criticize models on the larger end of the size spectrum as unhealthily large (like size-22 Tess Munster), others point fingers at initiatives like Calvin Klein’s “Perfectly Fit” campaign, with its implication that size-ten model Myla Dalbesio was considered “plus-size” in the first place.
Whether you consider them “plus-size,” or simply healthy, normal-sized women, here are 9 curvier models you should definitely know by now.
Lawley will go down in history as the first plus-size woman to be featured in Sports Illustrated. The 25-year-old Australian was also the first plus-size model to model for Ralph Lauren, has three covers of Vogue under her belt, and was the first plus size model featured in GQ Australia.
In December, 30-year-old Huffine – who wears a size 16 – became the first plus-size model to be featured in the prestigious annual Pirelli calendar. Previously, she was one of three to grace the 2011 Vogue Italia cover.
Prior to her current appearance in the Sports Illustrated ad, 27-year-old Graham – who has been modeling since the age of 12 – has appeared on covers of magazines like Glamour, Vogue, O Magazine, Elle Quebec, and Latina.
Australian model Laura Wells has many magazine covers under her size-14 belt. This past summer, she was front and centre of a campaign for nutrition brand Aussie Bodies. She was also the subject of last year’s plus-size model-focused documentary, A Perfect 14.
Renn – a 28-year-old Miami native – has modeled for Jimmy Choo, H&M, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel, just to name a few. The former anorexic penned her struggles with the illness and her path to acceptance in 2010’s Hungry.
Trinidad-born Laughlin was the first “Elizabeth” girl for Liz Claiborne’s “Elizabeth” plus-size line. The campaign resulted in five massive billboards in Times Square, making her the first plus-size model to appear on the coveted larger-than-life real advertising real estate.
Twenty-five-year-old Runk’s portfolio includes 2013 H&M’s swimwear line – a campaign that saw her on the front page of the brand’s US website in April 2013 and made her a quick social media star. She has also appeared in editorials in Glamour, Marie Claire, and Seventeen.
Thirty-three-year-old Toccara Jones is no stranger to the spotlight. The model and media personality (who is an alum of America’s Next Top Model), is loved on the hip-hop scene, and often name-dropped by rappers like Lil’ Wayne. She has appeared in Essence, Vibe, and PMM.
All-American looking Whitney Thompson – best known at the winner of the 10th season of America’s Next Top Model – has appeared in ads for JC Penny, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Forever 21.
If you ask us, models should just be “models.”
Hopefully soon we’ll see the “plus-size” label disappear all together.
Cover image from: Ashley graham Facebook