The Best Plus-Size Fashion Icons
It's always fascinating to learn how the most famous models were discovered, and these plus-size top models are no exception. From online model search websites to model conventions, here's how some of your favorite plus-size models were discovered.

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Ashley Graham
This plus-size superstar was only 12 years old when she was discovered at a model and talent convention. She signed her first modeling contract with a local agency and then made the leap to the mega-agency Ford Models three years later. Since then, Ashley has done it all, from editorial modeling and fashion shows to TV commercials and movies. What truly put the spotlight on Ashley was becoming the first plus-size model to wear a bikini on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition in 2016.

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Tara Lynn
Growing up as a size 14/16, Tara Lynn always felt self-conscious about her size. It wasn't until college that she finally learned to accept her body. One day, brimming with confidence, she found the courage to walk into a small modeling agency in Seattle, which hired her on the spot. She appeared on the cover of Glamour magazine and modeled for H&M.

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Robyn Lawley
As a teenager, Robyn struggled to find work as a plus-size model in Australia. She attended numerous castings but was sent home each time because she didn't fit into the tiny clothing samples.

Even after trying every possible diet, her body simply couldn't achieve the look required by traditional models. It wasn't until she stopped counting calories that her career finally took off. She found an agent, Chelsea Bonner of Bella Model Management, who gave her a new perspective on modeling by telling her she was perfect as she was. Robyn then moved to New York and faced rejection after rejection until she landed the cover of Italian Vogue and French Elle.

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Marquita Pring
Marquita had always been told she had a beautiful face, so around the age of 15, she decided to give modeling a try. She attended a casting in Canada and met with dozens of agencies. Most told her she needed to lose weight. However, a few liked her look and asked her to do a test photoshoot to ensure she was comfortable in front of the camera. She was, and when she brought her photos to a small Canadian agency, they hired her on the spot.

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Sophie Dahl
Sophie Dahl's story is a bit of a legend in the modeling industry. She was discovered by the famous Vogue stylist Isabella Blow, who found her crying in the street after a dispute with her mother. Blow introduced her to Sarah Doukas, a top-tier model scout and the founder of Storm Models. Sarah immediately signed her, and Sophie quickly appeared in German Vogue (photographed by Karl Lagerfeld), Italian Vogue, Visionaire, and Vanity Fair.

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Tess Holliday
Tess Holliday, also known as Tess Munster, attempted to break into the industry at the age of 15. After being told she was "too short and too big" to be a model, she put her dreams aside and started a family.

After moving to Los Angeles at the age of 24, she uploaded a few photos to an online modeling site. A casting agent found her page, liked her look, and shortly after, the Arts & Entertainment channel asked her to be the face of its hit show, "Heavy." Tess appeared in national ads and billboards, and her modeling career took off from there. Tess has been recognized as one of the top plus-size models in the world by Vogue Italia and became the largest plus-size model to be signed by a mainstream modeling agency, Milk Model Management.
September 21, 2023