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Plus Size Models Hayley Hasselhoff and Abby Valdes Each Offer Their Varying Views On Being Called “Plus Size”

Plus Size Models Hayley Hasselhoff and Abby Valdes Each Offer Their Varying Views On Being Called “Plus Size”

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Abby Valdes, Hayley Hasselhoff

The use of the term “plus size” continues to be a topic that models are speaking out about. It was a conversation we started back in January when we kicked off the year talking to the question “What is plus size?” in our January 2014 issue.

We recently reported a couple of weeks ago that even non-plus models were expressing their views on models being called “plus size”.  The majority of them want the label to go away and for all models to be simply called “models”.

However, as Fluvia Lacerda pointed out, the term “plus size” is simply a descriptive term to describe a market for a specific woman so that the customer knows where to shop. As a size 18 model, Fluvia understands the need for the term and embraces the fact that she is working for a certain market and promoting clothing to the plus size woman. a customer that looks like her in body type and shape.

The latest two models to share their views on the term “plus size” are Abby Valdes and Hayley Hasselhoff.

Abby Valdes is one of the most successful plus size models to come out of Australia and has been modeling for several years. She has been featured in campaigns for iconic labels such as Tommy Hilfiger and Marina Rinaldi and she continues to be one of the most booked models anywhere in the world.

Hayley Hasselhoff started plus size modeling when she was 14 for plus size fashion retailer Torrid and seven years later, has just walked in British Plus Size Fashion Weekend and is establishing herself as a runway model in addition to print.

Abby recently told PopSugar about her feelings regarding the term “plus size”:

“I think plus size is a dirty word. Almost like being called fat.”

This statement is coming from a model who has built a successful career over the years as a plus size model. She told Australian online magazine Upstart last year:

“10 years ago when someone asked me what I do, I really felt the need to say I was a ‘plus size’ model to explain why I had curves. I was often educating people on what a plus-size model was and what we do. Now however, I just say I’m a model.”

Hayley Hasselhoff, on the other hand, embraces her career as a plus size model and is loving it. She recently told the London Evening Standard:

“I’m so proud to be part of the plus-size movement. I think it should be more integrated [with London Fashion Week] but at the end of the day it would have to start somewhere. It’s just really cool to be part of the movement in the early stages.”

Hayley told the Huffington Post that she sees nothing wrong with calling a model “plus size”:

“At the end of the day, it just means ‘curvy’. That’s why I think the word ‘plus-size’ in the industry is very different from people’s mind view of what ‘plus-size’ really should mean.”

She also supports the idea of having plus size fashion shows and events such as British Plus Size Fashion Weekend and Full Figured Fashion Week:

“Plus-size girls can look to the Plus-Size Fashion Weekends and feel like it’s special — it’s something for them and for their bodies.”

It appears that many of the plus size models that take an issue with being called “plus size” are those who are at the smaller side of the size range with some even being a size 8 and 10. Many feel that these are models that shouldn’t even be working in the plus size market as they are not truly plus size. Plus size starts at a size 14 and even then, depending on height in proportion to weight, a size 14 may appear to be not plus size. Yet many of these models have built successful careers being known as “plus size” models and now want to disassociate themselves from the label because they feel it’s a negative term.

The term “plus size” is not the problem. It is not a dirty word. The issue here is that the fashion industry has to change how it views size. As we have talked about before, any model above a size 4 is considered plus size when plus size clothing starts at a size 14 and many retailers use models that are a size 8 and 10 to model plus size clothing.

Many retailers still hold this belief that the plus size customer does not want to see larger models as the reasoning behind why they engage in these practices. It is simply a matter of readjusting the term to fit the market it is promoting to. Just as plus model Fluvia Lacerda said in a previous article here on the blog:

“It’s the plus size consumer who’s generating business, pushing labels to be born and plus size ranges to grow within existing companies. None of it is been born/created out of the “nice” judgment of the fashion industry or what it seems to be “correct”. Once we accept that and place plus size models on the rightful position, as agencies have done with Lifestyle models, with Commercial models and so on… this crazy madness will stop. Again, it’s a descriptive word/term.

Forcing the justification that by industry terms, a size 8, 10 is considered plus size down the public’s throat is never going to work. The public doesn’t care about what the fashion industry deems to be this or that. Period.”

What do you think of the term “plus size” and models now wanting to not be associated with that term? Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

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