For a long time, there was only one name you thought of when it came to plus size models: Ashley Graham. She was (and is) a household name, breaking down barriers in a world that for far too long, valued thinness above all else.
In 2022 however, things are certainly changing (and not a second too soon, given that the average Australian woman is a size 12 to 14). From Australians Robyn Lawley and Kate Wasley to the unapologetic Tess Holliday and bonafide supermodel Paloma Elsesser, these women not only have millions of fans on social media but are appearing on the runway, red carpet and cover of magazines.
These woman are also calling for more representation in our fashion media, as well as releasing plus size clothing lines that prove fashion doesn’t end at a size 16.
“I advocate for issues around my body and identity,” Elsesser told CNN in 2022. “It’s something that always comes up because that’s my reality. I’m leaving pictures so maybe a girl hates herself a little bit less. Does that make me a f**king savior? No.”
Below, the 14 most famous plus-size models in the world.
Paloma Elsesser shot to fame after she appeared on Glossier billboards and as the face of Fenty Beauty, and her career has only gone from strength to strength. She’s appeared on the cover of multiple fashion mags, walked for luxury fashion houses like Fendi and Chloé, fronted campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Coach, and is one of the forefront models (plus size or otherwise) working today.
Aussie model Kate Wasley rose to social media fame as one half of Instagram duo @any.body_co, where she and friend Georgia Gibbs share photos of themselves to social media to promote body positivity at any size. Now Kate is being recognised internationally shooting for Sports Illustrated earlier this year.
New Zealand-born model Georgia Pratt was often shot for Kiwi lingerie label, Lonely, which is known worldwide for using models of every size and age and their unretouched images.
American model and former Euphoria star Barbara ‘Barbie’ Ferreira first started modelling after sending photos of herself to American Apparel. Now one of the biggest body-diversity advocates and a muse of Selena Gomez‘s best friend, Petra Collins, Barbie has firmly cemented herself in the fashion world.
Robyn Lawley is Australia’s most well-known plus-size model, the first to ever appear in a campaign for Ralph Lauren and shot for some of the world’s biggest fashion magazines. In 2013, she penned an essay calling out the ‘thigh gap’ trend for being unhealthy and unnecessary.
American model Tara Lynn is most often shooting lingerie and swimwear campaigns, but the 38-year-old mother has also graced the cover of international fashion magazines and has starred in campaigns for brands such as H&M.
A former teenage beauty queen, Candice Huffine signed her first commercial modelling contract in 2000 and now fronts high fashion campaigns worldwide. She’s an Instagram sensation, a body-positivity advocate and she has her own athleisure label, Day/Won.
The first African American plus size model to appear in the pages of US Vogue, Precious Lee is a trailblazer in the modelling world. After having been in the industry for almost a decade, the Atlanta native’s star is firmly on the rise, having walked the runways for the likes of Versace, Moschino and Savage x Fenty, and appeared in campaigns for Khloe Kardashian‘s good American and Kim Kardashian‘s SKIMS.
British model Iskra Lawrence uses her platform to promote body positivity and to remind her followers that what they see on social media isn’t real. She runs the YouTube channel, everyBODYwithIskra, where she posts workout videos and encourages her fans to love the skin they’re in. “For me, social media is the most damaging place where images are made to look ‘real and candid’ but in reality 100 pics were taken and then they were photoshopped or FaceTuned,” she recently wrote on Instagram.
Nadia Aboulhosn, 34, is a fashion blogger, model, and designer, who uses her platform to promote self-acceptance and self-empowerment.
In 2014, Denise Bidot became the first plus-size model to walk two runway shows at NYFW. The 34-year-old launched a lifestyle movement called ‘There’s no wrong way to be a woman’ in 2016 and has modelled for Chromat, Nordstrom and Lane Bryant.
American model and mother-of-two Tess Holliday, 35, has long been an advocate for more representation in the fashion industry. Recently, she said she has given up arguing with people who claim she is unhealthy because of her size, saying it is “nobody’s business.” Hear, hear!
American supermodel Ashley Graham has been on the cover of almost every major fashion magazine, walked in runways shows such as Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung, shot advertising campaigns for H&M and used her personal platform (she has 12.2 million followers on Instagram alone) to promote body positivity. Oh, and she’s done a TED Talk, has a book, and her own lingerie, swim, and dress collections.
Hunter McGrady is an American model who rose to fame working with Sports Illustrated in 2017. She and her older sister, Michaela McGrady, host the Model Citizen podcast, and she boasts almost a quarter of a million followers on Instagram.