Why isn't there a market for a size 10 model?

Emily See-Winder


I am, what I like to call, a healthy size model. You’re probably wondering what that is exactly? Well, I’m fit and healthy, tall and pretty (by most people’s standards) but unfortunately, I’m not thin enough to be considered a “straight” size model and not big enough to be considered “plus” size model.

In other words, I’m an “in-betweenie,” a modelesque looking woman who falls within the 8-12 size range. Funny isn’t it that this seemingly normal size range is an anomaly in the modelling world?

I made the transition to “plus” just a couple of years ago, but as a healthy size 10-12 woman, putting on enough weight to be a size 14 (the smallest size for the plus size industry) wasn’t healthy for my body frame.

So here I sit as a healthy size 10-12, trying to carve out a niche for myself and other healthy sized 8-12 models who are trying reflect a more realistic image for female consumers.

I don’t get booked for “straight” modelling jobs anymore because even if the clothes fit, the client usually spends (in their words) “a fortune” airbrushing me skinny.

That actually happened earlier this year. Instead of sending me home as soon as I arrived on set, the client had me shoot all day, retouched the photos, used them in their next catalogue, and refused to pay.

If a plus client takes a chance on me, I almost always have to wear padding and 3 padded bras to accentuate my curves. Yes, even in plus, there are ideal body proportions, and although they’re much closer to reality, they’re generally not the average proportions of full figured women in the real world.

I understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes, but it baffles me that there simply isn’t a market for models sized 8 – 12. We have straight sized models who are often underweight, malnourished, and don’t represent the consumer population at all, and then we have plus size girls who range from a size 14 to about a 22, many of whom aren’t healthy because they’re carrying extra weight. It’s quite honestly the perfect snapshot of society’s skewed values. Whatever happened to being healthy and balanced?

“What’s more, we’re so distracted with our physicality that we’re not spending enough time nurturing and being kind to ourselves.”

Although there are empowerment campaigns from companies like Dove, the vast majority of media images are completely unrealistic, sending us all into a subliminal state of inferiority and low self-esteem.

What’s more, we’re so distracted with our physicality that we’re not spending enough time nurturing and being kind to ourselves, the very thing that will truly make us happy. In a world of image perfection, are our values actually fading and are we snuffing out our chance at real happiness?

Like so many impressionable girls out there, I was devastated when at 18 years old I was told by my agency that I needed to lose weight. I immediately started working out for 4 hours a day, thinking I could sweat everything out, only to experience ravenous cravings that I simply couldn’t fight.

That turned into a destructive cycle of bingeing and purging and a toxic cycle of negative self talk and shame. To think, they only told me once, and those critical words have been with me every day since.

Although it’s been almost 10 years since then, I still have my off days, but I know that my happiness can’t be found solely in investing in my physical appearance.

I’m hopeful that as the social chatter around this topic grows and people come out with their experiences, the media power players sit up, take note, and start reflecting attractive, realistic images that we can all relate to.

The only way that’s going to happen is if we all band together, acknowledging the intrinsic value we all have as individuals and empowering each other to be the best versions of ourselves, inside and out.

Emily See-Winder is a healthy size model, positive body image promoter, and future nutritionist. She believes that “striking a balance between nurturing the mind, body, and soul is the key to lasting health and happiness,” and she hopes to spread the message through continued involvement with positive body image promotion groups, and in the near future, by offering nutritional solutions through her own practice. You can find her on Facebook here.

Would you like to see more “healthy” size models, in Emily’s words, out there?