OPINION: "This model is NOT plus-size, Calvin Klein."


27-year-old model Myla Dalbesio cried when she found out that she had landed a Calvin Klein campaign. She’s a size 10 in an industry that rarely goes above size 4 – 6, so she never expected to be paid to stand in her underwear.

She dreamed about it, of course. She risked her life to whittle down her body so that casting agents would choose her, she took hardcore drugs and starved herself so that she could fit their clothes and their expectations. She tried to force her body to squeeze into a size 8, at the very least. She did everything she could – because we all know that a woman should try to take up as little space as she can.

But she never really thought it would happen.

In fact, despite working towards it her whole career, Dalbesio is genuinely shocked to have made it into CK’s “Perfect Body” campaign. “It’s kind of confusing because I’m a bigger girl,” she told Elle Magazine. “I’m not the biggest girl on the market but I’m definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating.”

A bigger girl. Who describes her availability for work as being on the market. Someone who has wanted success all her life, but because of her size, is in total disbelief when she gets it.

The way she speaks about herself, you might picture Myla Dalbesio as a voluptuous creature; something straight out of a Peter Paul Ruben painting.

No. This is Myla Dalbesio. Posing for Calvin Klein.

Now, since this image has gone public, Myla Dalbesio has been celebrated as a”plus-size” model. Elle Australia have been as generous as to call her “medium-sized”. And maybe, through the eyes of a fashion designer or even a fashion editor, she is. In the sense that she is above the usually-skeletal size high fashion designers usually select.


But looking at this woman from any other perspective — from outside the strict, bizarre world of fashion — Myla Dalbesio isn’t “plus-size”. She is MODEL SIZE. Angular in places, soft in others, but with semi-protruding ribs and minimal body fat. She is stunning to look at, obviously. She’s a beauty. But ‘plus-size’? No.

If this is really, truly what Calvin Klein thinks is revolutionary, they need a fast, severe reality check.

Here is a young woman who has spent years of her life battling addiction and eating disorders to fit the fashion industry’s crippling expectations. Here is a young woman who could have been healthy all these years, if it weren’t for the very people she’s just accepted a job advertising. This woman’s appearance is not a triumph, like so many high fashion people are presenting it.

This is the ultimate tale of a woman contorting her own body and risking her own life for fashion.

There are women out there — millions of us — who measure ourselves against the bodies we see in public. We’re constantly fighting with our own, trying to shrink them and tone them and tan them and squeeze them into whatever size we’ve decided is morally right. When we see a woman like Myla (who is our own size or much smaller) held up as some kind of beautiful freak like this, it’s something we want to celebrate.

But know this, Calvin Klein. Fashion magazines may praise you, editors may congratulate you on your bravery in casting. But the real women out here? We want better. We want real.

Here are some other “plus-size” models.