STYLE

What It's Like... To Be A Plus Size Model In The UK

14/08/2014 16:44 | Updated 20 May 2015

Jess Greaves, 20, has been working as a plus-size model in the UK for three years. Originally from Dorking, she reveals what this part of the industry is really like, how she became a model in the first place and her thoughts on the term "plus size"...

"I started modelling when I was a kid and basically grew up doing it. My mum had been a model too so going into the industry felt like quite a natural thing to do.

"I got to the point of being 17 and to be honest, I liked my body the way it was - size 14 - and didn't want to lose weight just to go down a certain route with my career. I never felt a massive amount of pressure to be skinny but there's definitely different looks depending on which part of the industry you work in. I didn't feel like I needed or wanted to lose weight.

Plus size model Jess Greaves

"My mum and I decided to look into plus size modelling and that's when I found my agency 12+ UK Model Management. It felt like the perfect place for me because it meant I could continue doing what I loved without having to watch my weight.

"When you're a plus-size model, you do quite a lot of commercial work but demand is growing and the industry is changing and becoming more fashion forward. Asos and Boohoo do fantastic plus-size ranges and design is moving away from that frumpy look people think of when you say something is 'plus-size'.

"America is definitely leading the way when it comes to plus-size but there's a lot happening in the UK now too. I worked in a cafe part-time for my first two years as a plus-size model but have enough work now that it's been my full-time job for the past year.

"I have a lot of regular clients, do catalogue work, a bit of fashion work for brands such as Asos and Boohoo and the odd campaign. With plus size, you've got a lot of range and can cover lots of different looks. You can do sexy, straight or fashion. I do quite a lot of lingerie modelling because my cup size is 32G and I have a bum.

"When it comes to the actual term, I feel like we shouldn't be called 'plus' size - it should be curvy instead. Essentially, the girls in this part of the industry are just size 12 and over. To call someone 'plus' doesn't really mean anything.

"I'd love to see the industry become more blended in, rather than having skinny and plus-size. We all do the same job and it would be fantastic to see more curvy girls on the catwalk - it shouldn't be so separate. In saying that, plus size modelling is an exciting thing to be doing right now and I've never had a nasty or catty experience. I'm friends with lots of the other girls and it's great to see everyone doing so well."

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