I know I’m a little late, but I just watched the first two episodes of the Torrid Model Search on YouTube….and let’s just say, I have several thoughts and concerns so far….
First, I am overwhelming pleased that they decided to search for fresh talent in their latest campaign, allowing girls like me the opportunity to achieve their modeling dreams. This is a really big deal, not only in the media, but for what it means for plus size women and society as a whole.
Torrid had the enormous task of shifting through thousands upon thousands of women, of all different shapes and sizes, and limit their search to just four women. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been, as I’m sure each and every girl who auditioned has amazing potential.
I highly commend them, and this by no means is me criticizing Torrid for their work. However, I do have some concerns that I saw with just watching the first two episodes.
While this search seemed to be encompassing of a wide variety of plus size woman, I got the sense that they were really looking for only a specific “type” of plus size woman…the stereotypical size 18, curvy woman. Watch this clip:
“And she’s an 18, so that’s really nice!” Yes, Lyanna is amazingly beautiful, there’s no doubt about that. My concern is if her being a size 18 gave her an advantage, a size 18 being relatively small in the world of plus-size. Often when we see a plus size model, they are between the sizes of 12 and 18, size 18 being the most sought after and most paid according to Anthony Higgins, the director at MSA Models. Sizes 20 and up are the least represented, which is why Tess Holliday, being a size 22, is such a big deal in the plus size modeling industry. If Lyanna was given an advantage because of her size in the Torrid Model Search Competition, what message does this send to women who are well past being a size 18? Were they less compelling or capable of being a model? What does this say about the effectiveness of the model search, when Torrid is supposed to be encompassing of all women, selling attire from size 12-28? Are we really, fully, body positive? Or just body positive to a size 18?
I have no answer.
But I think it’s important to recognize that although there’s been much improvement — the Body Positivity Movement thus far has been simply amazing — there is still much to be done! There shouldn’t be a ‘cut-off’ of what’s considered beautiful, especially in the fashion industry. Let there be more representation of women of all sizes, not just women who are size 18 and smaller. Let there be more Tess Hollidays, who is an absolutely gorgeous, size 22 plus-size model! Her model status should not be a surprise or a rarity.
Until Next Time,
*Again, I absolutely love Torrid, it’s one of my favorite stores. As always, just sharing with you my true thoughts and feelings….I’m on my way to Torrid right now to buy these Lavender Wash Jeans. Too cute: