Body shaming isn’t just for us common folk. Even models are impacted, sometimes in much more humiliating ways. Here are 15 models that were deemed too fat to model.
Longevity in the modeling industry is tough enough; you typically have a set number of years where you can capitalize on your figure and looks. Models go up a size and their career is over, or worse yet, they are told they are too fat and are let go on the spot. Model Katie Willcox was a size 10 and got down to a size 6 in order to book jobs for catalogs. Unable to keep it up, she threw in the towel and started her own agency that focused on healthy models versus super skinny models. Even Heidi Klum was deemed “too big” to be a runway model. She was told she was too heavy and had too big a chest to do fashion shows. She admits that the clothes never really fit and decided being a Victoria’s Secret Angel and featured in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was enough for her. What about Lara Stone, a size 4? Yes, she has also been told she’s too fat. In one case, she was asked to wear a corset to make her look thinner because she had become too curvy.
We’ve got models that got fat, were told they were too big their whole career, and even their butts were deemed too fat for modeling. After all the eating disorders, dieting, and trying to hide their fat, it didn’t matter, they were all called too fat to model. Here are 15 models too "fat" to continue modeling.
15 Agnes Hedengard
Agnes Hedengard, a Swedish model, was only 19 when she stopped getting modeling gigs due to being too fat. The industry was not ready for her reaction though, as Hedengard created a video that showed up the fashion agencies for saying she was too fat and setting unrealistic expectations for young models. She wore lingerie in the video, showing off her near perfect body and then explaining that according to the booking agencies her butt is too big and hips too wide. Everyone was saying she needed to drop weight and become even thinner. I disagree, but I don’t own my own modeling company.
The video was effective to a degree, bringing visibility to an ongoing issue, but it didn’t really change anything. Maybe a sex tape would have had better results? Probably not, but at least she may have booked a reality show – sex tapes are really good way to get yourself cast in a reality show.
14 Cara Delevingne
Sometimes in life the best thing to have is options. For Cara Delevingne her talents didn’t only land in modeling, but also acting, allowing her to leave the industry due to body shaming and being told she was too fat. Starting at the tender age of 17, Delevingne signed with Storm Model Management and landed a major job with Burberry. Despite being globally known, Delevingne, sick of having people judge her, now focuses on acting.
Delevingne would get calls from her agency telling her she needed to lose weight and that she shouldn’t have attended a party or whatnot where she was spotted. Presumably because there were appetizers at the party! “Don’t eat the shrimp cocktail or I swear you will never work in this city again!” Obviously I’m paraphrasing, but I believe that’s exactly how those conversations go down. Not that acting is the healthiest of jobs, but at least now she can have one shrimp cocktail, just one.
13 Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid is the exception to the rule. Hadid was called “too fat,” but in the end she was just way “too hot” to keep off the runways. Now that my friend is pretty damn hot! Despite her first meetings in New York when the agencies told her she needed to lose weight because she was too fat, she stayed positive and kept trying. Sometimes you need to ignore the critics and just say “Eff it!” Of course, it helps to have a knock-out body, which Hadid does have.
In 2011, Hadid signed with IMG Models and immediately landed a gig with Guess and then in 2014 was named one of the rookies of the year by Sports Illustrated in their annual swimsuit edition of the magazine. She has appeared on countless covers including Teen Vogue and Elle and graced fashion runways all over the globe. Not too shabby of a resume for a fat girl.
12 Kylie Bisutti
Kylie Bisutti has really had a rollercoaster of a career, experiencing both the highs and lows of the modeling world. She no longer models and one of the reasons is because she had an agent that would call her and tell her she was a “fat cow” and that she was way too fat for her 5’10” frame. At the time, Bisutti only weighed 115 pounds and kept a strict diet of oatmeal, fruits, and veggies. I guess what the agent meant to say was “stop eating oatmeal.”
Bisutti became famous in 2009 when she won the Victoria’s Secret model search competition. She participated in the Victoria’s Secret holiday show that year and also appeared in magazines such as FHM and Maxim. She then quit the business because she no longer wanted to promote sex. She wrote a memoir that discussed the pressure of modeling, dieting, and the sexual nature of the industry. I don’t expect a comeback to the runway anytime soon from Bisutti.
11 Jessica Simpson
Edgy selection here, I mean is Jessica Simpson a model? Hmm, she is many things and I say yes, she definitely was considered a celebrity model that tried to model just about anything. She is also a celebrity model whose weight has fluctuated up and down throughout her career. The great debate of course is whether the sexy Burger King commercial was the peak or valley of her career. Its fine, go away and discuss, I’ll wait…
Rising to fame as a singer in 1998, Simpson became a household name as an entertainer, sex-bomb pin-up girl, and reality star. In 2003, she starred in Newlyweds with her then-husband, Nick Lachey. She also appeared in several movies including the Dukes of Hazard and the aptly titled Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous. Quite the “hot blonde,” Simpson was too fat, especially in the butt, to do serious runway work, but lucky for her she had many other talents…including how to properly eat a Whopper.
10 Karolina Kurkova
The fashion industry, especially for models, is brutal. In fact, even if you look perfect you can be damaged goods because you once were too fat. That is the case with Karolina Kurkova, a Victoria’s Secret Angel who was once referred to as the next supermodel by Vogue’s Anna Wintour. That’s rare praise from the devil herself. This changed in 2008 when she showed up at a show in Brazil and was called “chubby” by the media.
It turns out she had a thyroid issue and had gained 30 pounds. She underwent the surgery and was back to her “modeling” weight, but that wasn’t good enough. Kurkova was now damaged goods because she got fat and never got the same treatment again. All over an issue she had no control over and actually corrected. No word on whether Wintour still thought she could be the next supermodel or just supersized. Those fashion people are just so witty.
9 Rachel Hunter
No one should ever call Rachel Hunter fat, but that’s what happened to her after years of being a major supermodel in the fashion industry. Given all of her projects, this didn’t seem to really affect her, after all she even appeared in Playboy as recently as 2004. As a model, Hunter appeared on the covers of Elle, Italian Vogue, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, twice.
In addition to her modeling career, Hunter has also done a lot of small and big screen work. She appeared in the films A Walk In The Park and Two Shades of Blue, the latter an erotic thriller. Aging gracefully, Hunter has embraced the “hot mom” role playing a sexy soccer mom in The Benchwarmer’s as well as “Stacy’s hot mom” in the video for “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne. Recently she was a judge on New Zealand’s Got Talent and has her own series called Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty.
8 Lizzie Miller
Lizzie Miller may not have gotten the runway jobs she was initially looking for, but she did draw a lot of attention from the industry when she posted a very naked picture with the caption “too fat too model.” The photo was printed in Glamour magazine and attracted a lot of attention, mostly comments about body shaming and that it was nice to see a model with such confidence. At the age of 13, Miller dropped 60 pounds in her quest to become a model; however, she struggled to get under a size 6, the largest size typically allowed in the industry and was immediately referred to as a plus size model, and then she was deemed too fat to be a plus size model (industry typically seeks girls sizes 8 or 10).
Miller embraced it, is now a size 12 (slightly under average), and is now a spokesperson for “normal women models.” Still, must not have been enjoyable to hear you are too fat to be a plus sized model.
7 Katie Green
Born in England, Katie Green is another model that has been called too fat and it didn’t take long, in fact, it was her first modeling job. All it took was the first photo shoot when they said she needed to lose weight. When Green saw an ad for Wonderbra looking for models she had a few quick pictures taken and out of 4,000 entries was picked as the winner. She was to be the “face” of Wonderbra. When she was introduced to Premier Model Management agency they told her that she needed to lose weight. Still, her photos appeared on billboards so she thought all was good.
When she got called back, the entire agency wanted to know whether or not she had dropped the weight. She had not and they said they wouldn’t give her any more work so she quit. She has become famous for telling the story, a story Wonderbra denies.
6 Crystal Renn
Discovered at the age of 14, Crystal Renn was the “right sized” model at that time. Of course, she was only 14 so trying to maintain that size was difficult, if not impossible. She was told if she was going to be a big-time model she was too fat and needed to lose another third of her body weight. After experiencing body issues and struggling with anorexia, Renn went into plus sized modeling, which worked for a little while until her body also grew too large for plus size modeling, even though she was still skinny without any fat, just older.
Renn would eventually leave modeling and focus on writing a memoir titled Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves. Now, a size 14, she continues to struggle with her weight fluctuations and is a spokesperson for “normal” models that show women as they really are.
5 Kate Dillon
At 16, being heralded as the next Cindy Crawford can be quite the burden, especially in an industry that continues to call you fat and tell you to lose weight. For Kate Dillon it led to stress and an eating disorder. Discovered in Los Angeles, she won a contract with Elite Model Management and appeared in shoots for Bergdorf Goodman, L’Oreal, and Missoni. She also walked the runway for designers such as Emporio Armani, Fendi, and Ferretti as well as Dior in 1993. By this time she had developed such an eating order she quit the industry and looked at starting a new career as a school teacher.
The teaching career didn’t take so she decided to embrace her body fat and become a plus size model. She got a lot of work with Lane Bryant as their “Venezia Jeans V Girl” and even walked their first runway show. As a plus sized model, Dillon broke down a lot of doors, becoming a model for Gucci and only the second plus sized model to make People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People list.
4 Sophie Dahl
Sometimes you just must know you are too fat to be a model, right? For Sophie Dahl, a size 8, it was pretty clear that if she was going to model then plus size was going to be her calling. That decision has proved successful, as Dahl has been a major player in the industry for many years. Starting in 1007, she worked with Versace, Alexander McQueen, and DKNY. Her photograph taken by Steven Meisel with cherry red hair posing nude drew complaints from the Advertising Standards Authority, that she stuck up for in the name of art, but were removed from billboards across London.
During her career she also appeared in the video for Elton John’s “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” where she co-starred with Kate Moss. She has since worked for Lane Bryant and in 2012 was signed by Aubin & Wills as their “new face.”
3 Kate Upton
Can you believe Kate Upton was called fat? That’s right, even one of the hottest models of our time was fat shamed. Upton’s response was that she knows she’s got curves and is proud of it. You go girl! In 2012 a blogger (oh, those smug Internet writers) from Skinny Gurl said Kate Upton “confidently lumbered up a runway like there’s a buffet at the end of it.” On top of that she also referred to her as “little piggy.” Jealous anyone? I mean, again, this is super bod Kate Upton we’re talking about here. She went on to describe her figure as “huge thighs, no waist, and big fat floppy boobs.”
Upton’s response was the high road, being proud of her body and stating that she enjoys life, doesn’t do drugs, and eats on a regular basis. Honestly, I would like to get a glimpse of the blogger that trashed Upton. I’m going out on a limb thinking she is not Sports Illustrated swimsuit material.
2 Kendall Jenner
Right when I thought I was finally going to make it through a list without mentioning a Kardashian, a Jenner slips in. Kendall Jenner is one of the hottest models today. Scandal just seems to follow this family though, so it’s no surprise that an Australian tabloid once ran a headline that read “Model Bosses Blast Kendall ‘You’re Too Fat For Runway’.” The headline was referencing a runway show she did for Tommy Hilfiger. Apparently the tabloid also took liberties with Photoshop, creating cellulite on Jenner’s legs, although that was never proven. If true, that paper had better hope they have good insurance because if anyone has a good team of lawyers, it’s the Kardashian/Jenner family.
Jenner has done the Victoria’s Secret fashion show as well been in all the top magazines. She has walked runways for Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs all before the age of 20.
1 Tyra Banks
One of the more famous models to be told she was too fat, Tyra Banks has definitely gotten the last laugh. Banks reached a size 8, again a little too large for runways, but still acceptable for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and good enough to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel for eight years. During these years she was globally one of the most recognizable models. She retired in 2005, but that didn’t stop her critics from calling her “Tyra Porkchop” and “America’s Next Top Waddle.” Again, very witty remarks, Internet and tabloid writers are just so witty…
Banks has had a very successful and lucrative post-modeling career that has included being a judge on America’s Next Top Model as well as having her own talk show. It was the latter where she had the platform to speak to her critics. Her message was short and to the point. She told them all to kiss her "fat ass!"