This plus-size superstar was just 12 years old when she was discovered at a model and talent convention. She signed her first modeling contract with a local agency, then moved over to Ford Models a couple of years later. She’s since done everything from editorial and runway to commercials and movies, but really made headlines when she became the first plus-size model ever to rock a bikini in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Growing up as a size 14/16, Tara Lynn had always been self-conscious of her size. It wasn’t until college that she finally grew to accept her body. Then one day, bursting with confidence, she mustered up the courage to walk into a modeling agency in Seattle. And they signed her on the spot!
As a teenager, Robyn had a tough time finding work as a plus-size model in Australia. She went to casting after casting but was sent home every time because she didn’t fit into the tiny sample clothes. Even after trying every diet in the book, her body simply wasn’t able to achieve the look required by mainstream modeling. It wasn’t until she gave up calorie counting that her career finally took off. She found an agent, Chelsea Bonner from Bella Model Management, who gave her a fresh perspective on modeling by telling her she’s perfect just the way she is. Robyn then moved to New York and pushed through the rejection until she landed the covers of Italian Vogue and French Elle just a year later.
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 call in Canada and met with dozens of agencies. Most told her she needed to lose weight, but a few loved her look and asked her to do a test photo shoot to make sure she’s comfortable in front of the camera. She was, and when she brought her photos to an agency they signed her on the spot!
Sophie Dahl’s story is somewhat of a legend in the modeling industry. She was discovered sobbing in the street after a fight with her mother by acclaimed Vogue stylist Isabella Blow. Blow then introduced her to Sarah Doukas, top model scout and founder of Storm Models. Sarah signed her immediately, and it wasn’t long before Sophie appeared in German Vogue (photographed by Karl Lagerfeld), Italian Vogue, Visionaire and Vanity Fair.
Tess Holliday, also known as Tess Munster, first tried to break into the industry at the tender age of 15. After being told she was “too short and too big” to make it as a model, she set her dreams aside and instead chose to start a family and try her hand at other careers. Finally, after moving to Los Angeles 9 years later, she posted some pictures to an online modeling site. A casting agent found her page and loved her look, and shortly after A&E asked her to be the face of their hit show, “Heavy.” Tess appeared in national advertisements and billboards and her modeling career took off from there. She’s since been named one of the top plus-size models in the world by Vogue Italia, and also became the largest plus-size model to be signed to a mainstream modeling agency (Milk Model Management).
The Stories of 6 Famous Plus Size Models
It’s always fascinating to learn how the most famous models were discovered, and these top plus-size models are no exception. From online model scouting sites to modeling conventions, here’s how some of your favorite plus-size models were discovered.