This week, people have been talking about the Sealed With A Kiss Designs (SWAK) image we presented in our PMM Sound Off previously, with it being now called a “photo experiment”. It has sparked great conversations about the controversial topic of the term plus size and what it means in the industry. People are also talking about how consumers react to a model who is larger than what they are accustomed to seeing from retailers.
Our Editor-in-Chief Madeline Jones was a guest on Huff Post Live on Friday (1/10) discussing this very topic along with plus size model Alex LaRosa. Alex is the model in the image that has been creating buzz. Since she is at the center of all of this, we wanted to get her views on the image, the conversations it has sparked and how she feels about the industry. PMM Blog Editor Marcy Cruz got the opportunity to interview Alex and ask her these questions and more.
PMM Blog Editor Marcy Cruz: Hi Alex! Thanks for much for taking the time to grant us this interview. First things first, the SWAK image featuring you in two different poses and outfits is really creating a buzz. How do you feel about the public’s reaction and that the votes were split in half?
Alex LaRosa: I absolutely loved the SWAK Designs competition when I first saw it! I personally liked both photos. I definitely thought that Pic A would have been the crowd favorite, while Pic B would have been more favorable among the more conservative shopper. I think that it’s important that we follow SWAK Designs‘ example and continue to ask for community input on what kind of images they would prefer to see in ad campaigns. And I hope that as the conversation around the shrinking size of plus size models continues, we will see more and more community members speaking out in support for equal size representation in the industry.
PMM: One of the questions we raise in the January 2014 issue of PLUS Model Magazine is “What is Plus Size?”, talking to the lack of size diversity in the fashion industry. And now with the story of Target using a maternity model to market a plus size item, it seems that plus size models are disappearing. Do you agree? What are your thoughts on this?
Alex LaRosa: In the four years that I have been modeling and as more and more fashion brands companies are selling plus-size clothing, there has definitely been a decrease in the amount of working plus models size 16 and up. In addition to being a model, I am also a size 16 customer. The shrinking sizes of working plus models makes it more difficult for women my size or larger to determine how a garment will fit. On a daily basis, I get messages from plus size woman expressing how refreshing it is to see a clearly plus size woman modeling the clothing they hope to purchase. As one of the small amount of visibly plus size models working right now, I think it is extremely important that we continue to address the lack of an accurate representation of all the sizes and shapes of the plus size consumer.
PMM: Have you personally had a hard time booking jobs since you are larger than a size 12/14?
Alex LaRosa: Absolutely. There are very few companies who are booking models size 16 or larger. I am regularly told that I would book a lot more work if I were to get down to size 14. I understand that companies book models based on which models they believe will inspire their customers to make a purchase. Based on the community response to this conversation on the the shrinking sizes of plus size model, it is my hope that companies will see that consumers do in fact want to see models that are more representative of the whole plus size community.
PMM: How did you come to work for SWAK Designs? How has the experience been?
Alex LaRosa: I began working for SWAK Designs in 2012 and it has been a wonderful experience! Director of Creative and Social Marketing at SWAK Designs, Sarah Sapora emailed me asking me to come in for a go-see. A few weeks later, I booked my first shoot. I feel as though I have grown so much working for SWAK. I’ve had the pleasure of working with extremely talented photographers, makeup artists, and other plus models. Sarah herself is a gem! She has taught me tons about marketing in this industry. I am so happy to be a part of the SWAK family.
PMM: Any last thoughts or comments you’d like to share?
Alex LaRosa: I truly love what I do and I’m looking forward to using my platform as a model to encourage men and women of all sizes and shapes to love and accept all body types. I am so honored to be a part of this conversation.
PMM: Thank you, Alex! We wish you the best of luck in your career and appreciate you for sharing your views with your readers.
To connect with Alex LaRosa on Facebook, click here.
To check out SWAK Designs, click here.
To read our past articles on the topic of model sizing and the lack of plus models being used in the fashion industry, see the following links:
PLUS Model Magazine Sound Off: Is This Picture Too Curvy For Comfort?
Huffington Post Weighs In On The Plus Size Modeling Controversy Raised In The Latest Issue of PLUS Model Magazine
Note To Target: A Pregnant Model Is Not A Plus Size Model
PLUS Model Magazine And SWAK Designs Featured On WWMT Newschannel 3
Plus Models Are Disappearing… PLUS Model Magazine Tackles the Controversial Subject of “What is Plus Size?” in the January Issue