The Reality Of Being A So Called Plus Sized Model

Turns out it's actually a lot like being any other model


by Charlie Byrne |
Published on

Your news feed, this week, will have no doubt of been buzzing with the word 'Plus Size'. Stories from the Victoria Secret's criticised ad promoting 'The Perfect Body', to Calvin Klein choosing plus-sized model Myla Dalbesio to front its new underwear campaign and US Vogue releasing it's lingerie 'for all shapes and sizes' shoot all made big headlines. Add to that the recent penchant for brands launching plus-sized diffusion lines (Aldi and were the latest last week), well, you could say the topic was trending.

Jada Sezer is 25 year old model, and a size 16. 'When people ask me what I do, I used to always specify that I was a plus-size model, in case they didn't take me seriously,' she tells me as we chat on the phone today.' But now I just say I'm a model. We all do the same job, no matter what size we are.'

Three years ago, Jada was studying for an MA in child psychology when she decided to collaborate with a photographer friend and shoot some pictures of her wearing a black bodysuit, and post them online. 'There was hardly anyone doing plus sized fashion modelling then; no one I could relate to, anyway,' she says. Almost immediately, her pictures attracted massive web buzz and soon after she was invited to be the face of Plus Sized Fashion Weekend. And after her modelling debut, Jada was signed to the Curve division of Models1, one of London’s premier modelling agencies, and has since worked for high profile clients such as ASOS, Evans, and Simply Be.

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I wonder if her work any different from a regular modelling job? I've inteviewed countless straight-sized models that usually have umpteen tales of clients rejecting them based on a Goldilocks complex - too fat, too thin, too this, too that. 'I've never been told I'm too anything,' Jada says. 'Although I do know girls who have been asked to use padding on set. But for us, it's no different than a straight-sized girl being asked to pop in some chicken fillets - it's just part of the job and you just get on with it.'

She does, however, acknowledge how tricky it is to maintain the perfect shape. 'With plus size modelling, it's all about maintaining tone, you can't just be big, you have to be well proportioned and you're still selling a dream,' she says. 'Sometimes I think it would be easier being straight-sized because you can just be skinny... Whereas we have to really concentrate on keeping our curves tight.'

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One difference she does note in her side of the idustry is: 'We're all very friendly with each other, probably because we all have very different body types and so it's not as competitive as mainstream modelling'. You do have to be extra ambitious with your career path, however. 'You have to work internationally to sustain this career, to get enough work and to keep following the demand of the market,' she explains. Compared to the US market, the UK demand is still only in its infancy, so plus-size British girls often find themselves working across the pond.

And what about all the recent headlines about her industry? What does she make of them? 'It's really positive that Calvin Klein used a bigger girl than ever before for their campaign, it's a brilliant step that should be praised,' she says. 'But while Dalbesio isn't catwalk sized, she definitely isn't plus-size either.' Jada quickly acknowledges that CK didn't promote Dalbesio as a 'plus sized' model, that it was the media who jumped on that bandwagon. Overall she's happy that the campaign re-ignited the conversation around model sizing.


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Jada seems super aware of the potential for change within the industry right now. 'One of the benefits of doing plus-size right now is the industry is very open, and you can carve out exactly what you want to do. You can have a voice to push the industry forward.'

The internet has undoubtedly pushed the plus-size movement forward, like it did for Jada, as young girls now are able to find relatable role models online beyond a size 10. Jada is keen to push this and has just launched a YouTube channel. On it she posts videos that help advise young girls on how to get dressed if you don't look exactly like a mannequin on the shop floor. 'There's still stigma to plus-sized brands. All young girls want to shop at Topshop, regardless of size, so I try on the mainstream brands and give advice on which bits will fit, and which have good sizing.'

If she hadn't gone into modelling full-time, Jada would have gone on to a doctorate in child psychotherapy, but she says that her modelling career is just as fulfilling. 'A lot of what I was studying translates over, but it feels like I’m helping people on a wider platform. Seeing the response from young girls online pushes me to work harder, and I could never give it up because I feel now I have a duty.'

Pictures: Heather Hazzan

Jada is signed to Models1 Curve

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Get tips on plus-size dressing from Jada @models1 on her YouTube channel here

Follow Charlie on Twitter @Charliebyrne406

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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