A plus-size model starring in a plus-size fashion campaign is to be expected. A plus-size model in a non-plus-size fashion campaign, a little less so (though, thanks to the recent movement propelled by mass-market brands and select designers, that may become the norm sooner than we think). But a plus-size model in a beauty campaign? That’s a development so recent it’s overhauled the industry in a very short amount of time.
“Casting non-straight-size models—as in any model over a size 0, 2, or 4—for beauty campaigns is something we started to see come through only in the last six months,” says Amanda Brennan, a model agent at boutique curve agency Natural Model Management. “In the past I would submit my girls for consideration because of the simple fact that they’re beautiful, but now I’m getting casting notices from Sephora and Ulta specifically asking for plus. It’s cool to see because they don’t have to do it—their business isn’t dependent on size—so it speaks a lot to how much things are changing.”
Diverse, yes, but brands have to be authentic about it too, which begins with casting—as in, casting more than one plus model in a campaign. Plus-size model Brianna Marquez, who is one of the five featured in Wet ‘n’ Wild’s #BreakingBeauty campaign, says tokenism is still a major problem. For her, “it sticks out like a sore thumb” when she’s cast as the only curvy model in a beauty campaign with a dozen people. It’s why the Julep foundation campaign she starred in, which featured more than one curvy model out of 18, and Wet ‘n’ Wild’s #BreakingBeauty campaign (where she was given a platform to share her journey to becoming a weight lifter) both really resonated with her. “Brands are trying, there’s a shift happening, but we’re not quite there yet. We will be when it’s more equal.”
Still. That shouldn’t undercut the tremendous strides of progress that have taken place. “I can’t remember a time where I saw a plus-size model in a beauty campaign,” Marquez says. “It makes me feel good for younger girls who are growing up now because that’s something I never saw or felt good about. I grew up with shame surrounding my body, but if I saw more women who looked like me in campaigns, everything would have been different.”
For the Full Article by Andrea Cheng
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