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Are you trying to figure out how to get started as a plus size model? Then this post is for you!!
Well, hello there! I’m a plus-size blogger AND a fashion designer. I’ve helped plan and pick models for countless runway shows at this point, as well as ecommerce photoshoots.
Aspiring plus size models have a tough hand to play. Plus size fashion brands complain they can’t find and cast models over a size 14, because “agencies just don’t have them!!” (I call bullshit). Aaaaand, agencies are very slow to hire anyone over a US size 14.
This leads to most plus size models being “free agents,” AKA “you have to negotiate deals your gd self.”
How to Become a Plus Size Model
I’ve done more than a few modeling gigs, but the knowledge I share below really comes from my experience working on the design/casting team. Below, you’ll find information that seems obvious, but isn’t — otherwise, everyone would be doing it. This is low hanging fruit, bb. You’ve gotta implement these 7 things before going to the next level.
Note: I think this post is going to be the first in a series on plus size modeling. If you have questions you’d like to me to answer (or find an answer to!) feel free to reach out on Instagram or Twitter.
I’ve helped quite a few fashion brands with their online presence, and I can’t tell you the number of DMs brands get from aspiring models. Like, minimum 5 a day.
And, while I totally appreciate the hustle, the execution is lacking. When I click over to the profile of the aspiring model, I usually see almost 100% selfies (with lots of filters), photos of food, etc.
But no modeling photos?!
If you’re going to use Instagram to reach out to brands, you need to make sure you have photos of you modeling on YOUR Instagram. These can be from “fake” photoshoots you do where a friend takes a bunch of photos with you, or they can be with a professional photog. Make sure to include full body shots and different poses!
You should also have your “book,” or “modeling portfolio” ready to send. This is generally a page on your website, or a PDF, of your top ~10 modeling images from different categories (Sleep, Athletics, Formal, etc).
#2 Plus Size Model Tip: Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
In various interviews, model Tyra Banks talks about going out on the weekends to practice modeling – with her mom as the photographer. When you land your first modeling job, you’re going to want to have that practice under your belt!
Like I mentioned in #1, go out with a friend (or hire a non-skeezy photographer) for a photoshoot for your book. Analyze your facial expressions and poses. Look at the work of other models, and play around with their poses and facial expressions. You have to show up, onset, ready to WORK. You can’t do that if you’ve never practiced poses or analyzed past photos you’ve taken.
It sucks, but it’s true. While you don’t need tens of thousands of followers to land your first job, it certainly helps. Learn how to grow your Instagram and social media following, because it’s a good way to get noticed by companies and land an agency contract (if that’s what you want). Here’s a good article to get you started.
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#4 Plus Size Model Tip: Social Media Matters – Engage with Clients
Remember how I said that brands get a ton of DMs from aspiring models? Many of those people have never commented/engaged on posts, or don’t event follow the brand!! Support those whose support YOU want, baby. Check out this post on Plus Bklyn for more tips on engaging with brands.
#5 Plus Size Model Tip: Modeling Can Be Exhausting
Modeling is hard and intensive labor. You have to be hyperaware and connected to your body, but not let any of that show. After a shoot, you’ll have aching muscles, and you will be mentally and emotionally DRAINED.
Modeling ISN’T standing around while a fan blows in your face, wearing couture and pouting for the camera. Well, maybe like 1% of the time it is. The other 99% of the time is grueling. Time is money, and you’ll find yourself quickly changing outfits, getting hustled around a set and your brain going a million miles an hour trying to figure out wtf a photographer is saying.
#6 Plus Size Model Tip: Modeling is Expensive (for You)
Because there are so many aspiring models, you’ll probably have to shell out money to get started. Whether it’s to hire a photographer (stay the eff away from Craigslist and avoid men who pop into your DMs asking you to model for them), get model coaching, buy clothes for shoots to build your book, etc. You CAN do this on a tight budget, but you’ll need to be more creative about it.
#7 Plus Size Model Tip: Getting Paid // Get Your Biz Together
For unsigned models just starting out, $50 to $75 USD is a good starting rate. In the USA, if you make over $500 from a client (models are freelancers), you’ve gotta pay taxes on it. Make sure to put 30% of payments into a savings account and forget about them, getting ready for tax time. Most small/indie brands will pay you in clothes or cash + clothes. It’s up to you to negotiate that (and I’ll probs write more on this.)
What modeling questions do you have? Sound off in the comments!
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