For a very long time, the desired look in the fashion industry was very, very thin. After all, models are supposed to be simply a walking display for the innovative pieces that the designers were putting out every season. Sure, a few supermodels broke away from the pack and became recognizable names rather than interchangeable faces, but they were pretty much all very, very thin. And while there are certainly women in this world who are naturally very slim, there are many models who were doing anything within their power to stay skinny – no matter what the consequence.
So, with people increasingly realizing how dangerous the super slim ideal modelling body can be for girls, the public is becoming more and more positive about loving the body you naturally have. Plus-size models are becoming more and more popular in the mainstream modeling world because, let’s face it, there are far more women who aren’t a size zero than those who are. Plus-size models appeal to a larger demographic, many of them promote healthy habits and lifestyles, and they promote self-love – a message that a lot of women need to hear. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they’re sexy, curvy bombshells.
Here are 15 of the hottest models who totally embrace their curves.
15 Ashley Graham
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you probably know exactly who Ashley Graham is. She’s a lingerie model who holds the distinction of being the first plus-size model to snag the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue – something that every lingerie or swimsuit model dreams of. Oh, and she’s also been in magazines like Glamour, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. This gorgeous girl is totally outspoken about body positivity and the need to embrace your curves, so she’s frequently the media’s go-to on issues to do with size in the modelling industry – and we love her for it!
14 Saffi Karina
Puberty can have an unexpected effect on everyone’s body – some people experience huge growth spurts, some don’t. Some stay slim and trim, some fill out to become more womanly. It’s a natural part of a woman’s biology, but it remains a sad fact that many models who start out when they’re younger end up getting ‘too big’ for the modeling industry – just ask Saffi Karina. The stunning model started out as a regular sized model, and then found herself unable to keep her body in the agency’s desired size – so they dropped her. Karina responded by launching a successful career as a plus-size model and founding “The Curve Project London,” where she holds workshops to help people of all shapes and sizes make it as models.
13 Jenni Runk
Jenni Runk started out as a teen model after being discovered at 13 in a PetSmart store. Her agent told a young Jenni that size-wise she was right in between straight size and plus-size modeling – she had the choice to either gain or lose weight in order to fall into one of the two categories. Luckily, unlike many impressionable young girls who would have opted to starve themselves into a smaller size, Runk decided to put on a few pounds and enter the world of plus-size modeling. She’s since appeared in several magazines, and became the well-known face of H&M’s Summer 2013 beachwear campaign (joining the ranks of stars like, oh, you know, Beyoncé).
12 Barbie Ferreira
If you paid attention to the news in January of this year, you likely know exactly who this bombshell is. 18-year-old new model Barbie Ferreira scored a job modeling in Aerie’s #AerieREAL campaign, rocking a hot pink two-piece bathing suit completely unretouched in the photos. The campaign immediately went viral on social media as everyone congratulated Aerie for their decision, and Barbie for being a part of it. She’s definitely not an unopinionated model – she has an active social media presence, she fires back at the haters, and she regularly shares moments of her life on Snapchat. We have a feeling she’s going to be the next curvy supermodel.
11 Robyn Lawley
Aussie beach babe Robyn Lawley has pretty much been breaking the barrier between straight size and plus-size modeling since she stepped onto the scene. She’s the first plus-size model to be photographed for Australian Vogue and GQ Australia, the first plus-size model to be on the cover of Cosmopolitan Australia, and the first plus-size model to appear in a Ralph Lauren campaign – and she’s only 26! She snagged Model of the Year during Full Figured Fashion Week 2013, she’s shared her favorite recipes in her cookbook Robyn Lawley Eats, and she was the first plus-size model featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. All this, and her career is still on the rise.
10 Tess Henstra
North Americans might not have heard of Tess Henstra yet, but she’s already making waves in the European fashion scene. The relatively new model from the Netherlands has only done a few photoshoots, but people are already going crazy for her unique look and ethereal beauty. Dare we say she might even be the next Doutzen Kroes? While she hasn’t done many high profile campaigns yet, agents from all over Europe are fighting to sign this rising star.
9 Tara Lynn
American cutie Tara Lynn caught the fashion world’s attention after she appeared in V Magazine, and shot to stardom after she was featured on the cover of Vogue Italia in 2011 alongside fellow plus-size babes Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley. She’s since been in Elle Spain, Elle France, in campaigns for H&M and more. And Elle France deemed her “The Body,” so look out Elle MacPherson!
8 Candice Huffine
Candice Huffine started out as a pageant girl, and inked her first modeling contract at only 14 – however, unlike many of her fellow plus-size superstars, she was signed in the plus-size category from the get go. She’s since appeared in Vogue, Vogue Italia, W, CR Fashion Book, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more. And, recently, she made history by becoming the first plus-size model to snag a spot in the famous Pirelli Calendar in 2015, where she was shot by legendary photographer Steven Meisel along with Adriana Lima, Natalia Vodianova, Gigi Hadid and many more well known models.
7 Marquita Pring
Marquita Pring signed her first modeling contract in 2009 with Ford Models, but she didn’t really capture the public attention until 2010, when she stunned audiences (in a good way) by walking for designer Jean Paul Gaultier in a runway show in Paris. Now, while more magazines have been including plus-size models in their pages as of late, in 2010 it was almost unheard of for a plus-size model to strut her stuff on the catwalk – but that’s exactly what Marquita did. Since then, she’s been photographed by legends like Steven Meisel, been in ad campaigns for retailers like Lane Bryant, and more. Her career shows no signs of slowing down, and why would it? She’s absolutely gorgeous.
6 Victoria Lee
Okay, Victoria Lee is straight up sexy – from her glowing skin to her perfectly tousled hair and inviting smile, she’s what many guys’ dreams are made of. You probably recognize her from Vogue’s last September issue, where she was one of the gorgeous women in Lane Bryant’s #PlusIsEqual campaign. As she told Lane Bryant when she got the job, “I’m aware [body diversity in fashion] is a huge task to tackle, but I’m definitely up for the fight.” Hey, when you have someone that beautiful fighting in your corner, you can’t help but win, right?
5 Justine LeGault
This blonde Canadian cutie is definitely making a splash in the modeling world. One of her biggest recent gigs was the famous Lane Bryant #PlusIsEqual campaign, but even before then she was breaking barriers by snagging the cover of Elle Quebec all the way back in 2013. The public seems to love her, and we have a feeling she’s going to be the next big star. I mean, hell – maybe she’ll even be the first plus-size model to strut her stuff at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
4 Clémentine Desseaux
Now, it’s not only America and Australia where gorgeous plus-size models are produced – even France, home to ultra chic and ultra thin models, has its own plus-size superstars. Take rising star Clémentine Desseaux, for example. She posted a video of herself modeling a Christian Louboutin lipstick, and people immediately went nuts thinking she might be the next face of the company’s cosmetics line – all from a short Instagram clip. If that doesn’t prove how beloved she is, we don’t know what will.
3 Gabi Gregg
Gabi Gregg, a model also known for her blog GabiFresh, wants the world to know that bikinis and sexy swimwear isn’t just for size zeros. She preaches body positivity, and even puts the work in by helping create swimsuits that will help curvy ladies feel great about their bodies. They don’t call her the Queen of the Bikini for no reason.
2 Louise O’Reilly
The gorgeous blonde Louise O’Reilly is quite the triple threat – she works as a plus size model with agencies around the globe, doing campaigns everywhere from Milan to London to New York, and she maintains a popular blog called Style Me Curvy (which, incidentally, was awarded the Best International Fashion Blog by Cosmopolitan UK in 2013. So, while many models try to speak out when they’re able to, O’Reilly has built herself a platform to talk all about body positivity and, of course, fashion!
1 Anita Marshall
Anita Marshall may only be 24 years old, but the New York-based model has been setting the fashion industry ablaze and proving that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. She’s snagged jobs in everything from catalogs to fashion magazines and she’s only getting started. We’ve said this about many of the gorgeous girls on this list, but Marshall in particular is definitely one to watch out for. Step aside, Naomi Campbell – Anita Marshall’s in town!