15 Up-and-Coming Curvy Models You Should Know About

Plus-Size Models
15 Start slideshow
Photo: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER/Getty Images

Gone are the days when the fashion industry accepted only stick-thin models. Though there’s still a lot of progress to be made, models of all shapes and sizes are now walking the runway, appearing in high-profile fashion campaigns and making a splash in a once-exclusive industry. Take the career of Ashley Graham, for example, who has walked for big-name fashion designers such as Christian Siriano and Michael Kors and graced the covers of Vogue and Sports Illustrated—becoming the first curvy model to do so, we might add.

MORE: 25 Perfect Winter-to-Spring Outfit Ideas for Curvy Women

But Graham isn’t the only curvy model who is having a moment right now. There are dozens of stunners who are changing the public perception of what it means to be a supermodel. Check out these 15 up-and-coming curvy models who might not be household names now, but you’ll soon see everywhere. Memorize these names because you’re about to hear a lot about them.

0 Thoughts?
1 of 15
Marquita Pring

Represented by IMG Models, Pring, an Albany, New York, native, began modeling at 15 years old. Since then, she's modeled for big-name designers including Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Siriano and has appeared in national campaigns for brands such as Levi's, Lane Bryant, and Macy's. In addition to being featured in career-changing spreads for V magazine and Vogue Italia, Pring also recently appeared in L'Oréal's diversity-aimed campaign alongside stars such as Hari Nef and Blake Lively.

"We've been manipulated by the media and fashion industry to believe that there is only one body type: super skinny," Pring told Fashionista in 2011. "The majority of people in this world will never be as thin as they've been warped into believing they need to be."

Denise Bidot

Hailing from Miami, Bidot, who is part Puerto Rican and part Kuwaiti, started modeling at 18 years old after she was told to lose 10 to 15 pounds to become an actor. Since then, she's walked for designers including Serena Williams and Chromat and appeared in campaigns for Lilly Pulitzer, Lane Bryant, and Forever 21. Wanting her daughter to be raised in a world where there is no one definition of beauty, Bidot launched a movement and website titled "There Is No Wrong Way to Be a Woman" in 2016.

“Nowhere have I felt so much awesome responsibility than when teaching my daughter that there is no wrong way to be herself—to be a young woman, whatever her size,” Bidot wrote in an essay for Refinery29.“I know how early these ideas are instilled in each new generation, and it’s my job to be that voice; to tell her that she is beautiful and that she can achieve whatever she sets her mind to.”

Philomena Kwao

Kwao, a London native, began modeling after her friend entered her in a nationwide modeling competition in the United Kingdom. Since then, Kwao has modeled for brands such as Chromat, Lane Bryant, and Fabletics and appeared in Sports Illustrated's coveted Swimsuit Edition in 2016. "Self-confidence is realizing the sky doesn't fall apart once I wear shorts or a bikini and I'm still beautiful," she wrote in an essay for Elle.

Paloma Elsesser

Elsesser's modeling career began at 24 years old when she moved to Los Angeles to study psychology and English. However, not too long after beginning classes, Elsesser took a break from her studies after she was discovered by world-renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath on Instagram and became her muse. Since then Elsesser, has modeled for designers such as Eckhaus Latta and Rihanna, who hired Elsesser both for her Fenty line with Puma and a campaign for her just-launched cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty. You might've also seen Elsesser as a face for the millennial-favorite beauty brand Glossier, a huge win for curvy models in the beauty space.

"You watch a runway show, and you can count on one hand how many girls of color there are. And you can't count any with body diversity," Elsesser told Allure. "Diversity is lacking, and I think that there's going to be a huge rupture because it's like, Come on now. It's not boring, but because of the age of visibility that we have, because of social media, people are craving to see more."

Liris Crosse

Crosse, a Maryland native, made history on the most recent season of "Project Runway" by becoming the show's first curvy model to win in the series' 16 seasons. Crosse's career looks promising: In addition to walking in New York Fashion Week and appearing in a spread of Marie Claire as part of her "Project Runway" win, she landed a recent campaign for Curve Couture Intimates, a spread in World Bride's first-ever curvy bride issue.

“I think it's a reluctance to embrace full-figured women because truthfully, a lot of people can't deal with the stigma of being plus-sized or fat or...not being skinny,” Crosse told NBC News. “Some people view fat people or plus-sized people as grotesque or we shouldn't be seen, which isn't the case.”

Candice Huffine

Huffine, a former pageant queen from Washington D.C., was one of the first curvy models to make a splash in the modeling world. After beginning modeling at 16, as one of the first curvy models for her agency, Huffine landed a campaign with Lane Bryant. Her big break came in 2011 when she appeared in Vogue Italia's first curvy-model-featured cover in 10 years. After that, Huffine appeared in CR Fashion Book, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and dozens of other well-respected fashion magazines. Along with modeling for designers such as Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung, one of Huffine's career highlights was appearing in the Pirelli Calendar, a legendary publication that has also established the careers of supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

"I think any time you can debunk a myth or shatter stereotypes about a body that's not the traditional perception of a model or a runner, it's a huge win," she told Allure. "It’s a step forward to get to a place where everybody is completely comfortable with themselves, accepting of others, and appreciative of differences. I will work tirelessly for the rest of my career to make that happen."


Georgia Pratt

Pratt, who was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, became interested in modeling after earning a college degree in fashion design, sparking her interest in the link between modeling and design. Her first modeling gig came after a family friend approached her at a barbecue and asked her to model for her clothing label. Since then, Pratt has modeled Lane Bryant, Christian Siriano, and Tome and has appeared in Elle and Dazed Korea.

"That's a point of luxury—I have the option to have the biggest size, whereas [in other brands] the bigger size often isn't available so I'd have to just handle a size smaller that's maybe a little bit tight over the shoulder or something like that, where you're compromising," Pratt told Fader about the difference between designing for herself and wearing another designer's clothes.

Sabina Karlsson

Karlsson's career began at 4 years old when she was discovered at a Swedish hair salon for her freckles and red hair. She's since made a seamless transition from a child model to working in the big leagues, appearing in campaigns for H&M, Levi's, and Lane Bryant (in an ad broadcast in Times Square, no less). Karlsson has also walked in runway shows for big-name fashion designers including Betsey Johnson and Jean Paul Gaultier.

“Now that the market is more accepting of people who are different, I hope designers will embrace even more plus-size girls, shorter girls, Asian girls, black girls, mixed girls,” Karlsson told Vogue. “All we need is for one person to really commit to making the change.”

Alessandra Garcia-Lorido

Signed to IMG models, Garcia-Lorido, the daughter of actor Andy Garcia, began modeling when she moved to New York to study film in college. Her modeling career came organically when she signed with IMG, which led to campaigns with Lane Bryant and Target. Since then, Garcia-Lorido has modeled for Christian Siriano, H&M, Forever 21, and Wet n Wild, alongside other celebrity-kids-turned-models, including Ireland Baldwin and Corinne Fox.

“It all sounds really great to diversify the runway, and I think that is what the future will be, but it’s tiring. It’s hard work to persevere through the judgments and the eyes. I’ve been on castings before where people are looking at you, and you’re like, ‘Okay, am I a spectacle here?’” she told W.

Iskra Lawrence

Lawrence was set on becoming a competitive swimmer until her modeling career began at 13 years old when her mom entered her into an Elle Girl contest. However, she hit a roadblock early on when her first agency fired her because her hips were too big. (She had a 36-inch waist, when her agency wanted her to be 34 inches or smaller, she told Business Insider.) Since then, Lawrence has continually proved her agency wrong, appearing in campaigns for Adore Me, a lingerie brand, and American Eagle's Aerie, which has been praised for its unretouched photos. Lawrence has also walked for brands such as Chromat, L'Oréal, and Christian Siriano. She's also a fan-favorite on Instagram, with experience shutting down body-shamers left and right.

"These young girls, they just want to see someone normal. I'm very normal," Lawrence told Business Insider. "I've struggled for ages to try to do this and because of that...I've learned about myself, and that's what makes me who I am today.


Jocelyn Corona

Corona, who hails from Mexico, City, only began modeling a few years ago when she was 18 years old, but she's already made a splash. Along with walking in Chromat's 2015 runway show, Corona has modeled for Christian Siriano, Rebecca Minkoff, and Phillipe and David Blond, so it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot of her in the future.

Precious Lee

Like many models, Lee was discovered at a casting call in her hometown in Atlanta when she was 18. However, it wasn't until after she graduated from college and put her plans to go to law school on the back burner did she pursue modeling full time. Lee eventually landed campaigns with Lane Bryant, Old Navy, and Saks Fifth Avenue. In addition to appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated and Paper magazine, she became the first-ever curvy black model to model for Vogue.

"Women so often underestimate our own voices, and it’s often scary to say, 'No, my reason and feelings are valid, and this doesn’t sit right with me,'" she wrote in an essay for Time. "But it’s so important to listen to and act on your intuition. You deserve to trust yourself and your instincts.

Clémentine Desseaux

Desseaux is already a big name in France, her home country. But now, she's taking over the rest of the world. Desseaux, whose modeling career ramped up when she moved from France to Miami, has modeled for American Apparel, Vogue, and Nike.

"I’m a little over this whole 'body thing.' Yes, I like my body and we already have that covered. Yes, it’s nice; yes, it’s curvy. Do I want to be naked all the time in magazines because people think my body is only good to be naked? No. Do I want my face out there more? Yeah!" she told The Cut.

Barbie Ferreira

Ferreira's big break came recently when she appeared in a campaign for American Eagle's loungewear brand, Aerie. The brand, known for its unretouched pictures, featured Ferreira 100-percent natural in her underwear. The pictures have since gone viral, leading Ferreira, represented by IMG Models, to other jobs with Addition Elle and Galore.

"For so long I’ve been dieting and hating my hips and I’d do that in first grade," Ferreira told Time. "I was so insecure, and I had no one to look up to who could make me feel like all my dreams are valid. I know so many gorgeous women who even inspired me to model to break this boundary, and it makes me feel like girls out there can dream about something without having to think about the things that they can’t change.

Jordyn Woods

Represented by Wilhelmina Models, Woods—who you might recognize as Kylie Jenner’s best friend on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"—recently made her New York Fashion Week debut at shows for Chromat and Addition Elle, which she also has a collection with. Woods, who has also walked for Ashley Graham's Addition Elle collection, recently modeled for magazines such as Vogue and Fashion.

"I feel like when you categorize people and put them into a group, then it creates aloneness and segregation," Woods told E! News about her dislike for the term plus-size. "There are so many models that it shouldn't really matter. I don't think there should be categories."

Next slideshow starts in 10s

25 Celebs Who Have Mastered a Fierce Buzz Cut

25 Celebs Who Have Mastered a
Fierce Buzz Cut
  • Marquita Pring
  • Denise Bidot
  • Philomena Kwao
  • Paloma Elsesser
  • Liris Crosse
  • Candice Huffine
  • Georgia Pratt
  • Sabina Karlsson
  • Alessandra Garcia-Lorido
  • Iskra Lawrence
  • Jocelyn Corona
  • Precious Lee
  • Clémentine Desseaux
  • Barbie Ferreira
  • Jordyn Woods