“There's a lot of curvy women around and let's showcase them and let them flaunt their curves” says Andrea Black from New Idea.
And flaunting it they are, the newest addition to the fashion catwalks has been the inclusion of plus size models. Big brands including Myer and Rio underwear have featured plus size models for the first time in years and everyone from the customers to the models are thrilled.
“It's definitely consumer driven. There's a lot of girls over a size 10 saying what about me where do I fit into this? So the magazines are much more open now to using models of all sizes” says Chelsea Bonner.
Chelsea Bonner started Bella Model Management, 7 years ago and has seen the demand for plus size models triple every year since.
“It's definitely something that is here to stay and we'll follow on like the US market. Full figured clothing over there is just one of the biggest industries, it's just billions and billions of dollars a year” adds Chelsea.
In the US, plus size modelling is a lucrative industry. The biggest names have carved out a profitable career, rivalling even that of mega money earners Kate Moss and Giselle.
The most famous is Emme Aronson, unknown here, but in America she's the plus size version of Heidi Klum, with her own clothing line, books, TV shows and endless product endorsements.
“Emme is one of the original plus size models and she really knew how to turn it into a massive business. Emme would definitely be turning over millions of dollars a year, she'd be a multi million dollar brand” says Chelsea.
Also breaking the skinny stereotype and making a fortune doing it is Crystal Renn. Crystal attempted mainstream modelling first but found the unrealistic physical requirements too much.
“I started exercising 2 hours a day at the very least and on Saturday's 8 hours a day, not eating more than 800 calories” said Crystal.
“Crystal Renn found it very difficult to maintain her weight and once she allowed herself to be her natural weight which is a size 14, her career took off” said Chelsea.
Suddenly the fashion magazines could not get enough of Crystal's curves. Final confirmation that big is beautiful - a highly coveted Dolce and Gabbana campaign and as a muse for Jean-Paul Gaultier's couture collection.
5 foot 2, 100 kilo punk rocker Beth Ditto continues the trend ... she has taken over from skinny supermodel Claudia Schiffer as Karl Lagerfelds latest muse.
And it's this change from the top of the fashion world that’s meant lots more work and money for Aussie plus size models.
“There is a massive amount of work out there for these girls. My top girls fly all over the world and they do incredibly well” adds Chelsea. “You can make upwards of $150,000, $200,000 a year and then of course you get product endorsements so you can make that much more again.”
One of Australia's most successful plus size models is Abbey Valdez, now based in New York, this single mum from Mooney Ponds was discovered when Today Tonight and Bella Management ran a model search 3 years ago.
“Abbey Valdez, we discovered and 3 years later she's signed with Ford and travelling the world and ringing me from Morocco and all sort of places and saying this is an absolute dream I just cannot even fathom how this is happened to me” says Chelsea.
So now the search is on for a Plus Size Supermodel - for the winner a $2500 wardrobe from TS14+ and a 2 year contract with Bella Model Management.
“We need to let people know there is a huge demand and there's some really good money to be made and some incredible experiences travelling the world and working with amazing people and they can do it, so call me!” says Chelsea.
SEARCH FOR A PLUS SIZE SUPERMODEL:
The Winner will get:
A 2 year contract with BELLA model management
A model portfolio
$2500 wardrobe from TS14 +
Entries must include:
- dress size
- bust, waist and hip measurements
- two to three snap shots with natural makeup
- address and contact details.
Entries can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or posted to BELLA Model Management: PO Box 504, Manly NSW 2095
Bella Model Management: www.bellamodels.com.au