A Tribute to 6 Iconic Plus Models

A Tribute to 6 Iconic Plus Models

Many people were puzzled when I announced I would be starting the “New Year” with a tribute to the veterans and “Icons” in our industry. In an overly “botoxed” world, where getting older or being honored for your longevity, just stamps you as old, I thought I would bring light and honor to those models you probably don’t know, or only recognize by face and knew nothing about.

I came into the industry many years ago, when it was already in the beginning stages, but I quickly admired what had been done before me, and I learned to appreciate all that I was afforded because of what others had done.

In order to know where you are going, you need to know where you come from.

The plus size modeling industry did not just begin five years ago by one plus size model going mainstream. This industry has been around for over 20 years.  Some of today’s models were just teen-agers when they began their careers and some of today’s most popular models can than their careers to the numerous people who helped to pave the way for them.

In the following pages, we pay tribute to those models we know and love, who have been instrumental in paving the way for the plus size modeling industry we love and enjoy today.

Plus Model Kate Dillon:

After starting her career as a straight size model in 1991, a very thin and frail Kate Dillon, decided to quit the business and began a healthy relationship with food. After a friend urged her to try plus size modeling, Kate was signed with Wilhelmina models in NYC, and became one of the most well known faces plus size modeling industry.  Kate appeared in Mode Magazine numerous times, had a cosmetics contract with Isabella Rossellnis Manifesto line, has worked with some of today’s top photographers and main stream brands and is a new mother on 12/21/10 to a son, Lucas.

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Plus Model Emme:

Plus size model Emme Aronson was the “first” plus sized Super Model in the plus size modeling industry. Emme was named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People and became a house hold name with her numerous magazine covers, editorials and television appearances. Emme had an “anti – Barbie” doll made of her image, her own clothing line and went on to host Fashion Emergency on E! After a public battle with cancer, Emme came back as co-host of Fox’s show More to Love and host of the main event during Full Figured Fashion Week 2010 in NYC.

For more on Emme, visit

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Plus Model Barbara Brickner:

Discovered by Bill Heffner, of the Heffner Agency in Seattle, plus size model Barbara Brickner is a timeless beauty. She has worked with companies such as Elena Miro, Eddie Bauer, Nordstrom, Land’s End and appeared in Mode Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. As an advocate for a healthy body image, Barbara speaks to young students about the unrealistic images in our society today. In 2000 she launched her own maternity clothing company called BB Maternity.

Barbara is still working as a plus size model today.

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Plus Model Christine Alt:

Plus size model Christine Alt came into the plus size modeling scene in the 1990’s.  This blue-eyed beauty was seen in advertisements, catalogs and magazines such as Mode, Vogue, People and Ladies Home Journal.  This straight size model, turned “plus” model, began making the rounds on the television circuit with appearances on Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight and The Oprah Show.

Today, Christine lends her name to charities and participates in dozens of events.

For more on Christine Alt, visit

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Plus Model Sharon Quinn:


Sharon Quinn, The Original Runway Diva began her career in the local NYC circuit in the late 1980’s.  By 1995 she was a signed model with Wilhelmina in NYC and went on to work with companies such as Ashley Stewart, The Avenue, Lane Bryant, Bloomingdales and Nordstroms.  She also graced the television screen for Just My Size, The View and in recent years is known for her appearances on Mo’Niques Fat Chance, MTV’s show “Made” and BET’s Rip The Runway.

Sharon is an accomplished vocalist, casting director for Full Figured Fashion Week,  and is the plus model liaison for PLUS Model Magazine.

Follow Sharon on IG @origrunwaydiva

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Plus Model Velvet D’Amour:

Velvet D’Amour came under the plus size industry radar when she received mass media coverage after walking for John Galiano’s “Everybody is Beautiful” in 2006 and her appearance for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 2007 Spring/Summer collection. At 300 pounds, Velvet became one of the most well known plus size celebrities, and used her new found status to promote body acceptance for all.

Velvet has appeared in French Vogue and had a leading role in the movie Avida and is an accomplished photographer.

Visit Velvet at

Photograph by Maya Guez

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