Last night’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (airing in December) brought the usual wave of incredible costumes, star performances, and, of course, talented models making up the elite group of Victoria’s Secret Angels. What this show lacked, and what every Victoria’s Secret show since its inception in 1995 has lacked, was a single plus-size model. The brand is notorious for its lack of size diversity, not only in general body sizes but also in bra sizes specifically.
Some of the Angels are optimistic about a future for plus-sized models at Victoria’s Secret: Elsa Hosk, a new Swedish Angel, told the Daily Mail that she “hopes” to see plus-size Angels. Polish Angel Jac Jagaciak had similar optimism: “I think the whole world is more open to plus-size and I am sure at some point they will be ready for it.” While this is a good sentiment, particularly coming from Victoria’s Secret Angels themselves, it is important to remember that Victoria’s Secret is a fashion giant and doesn’t exactly need to wait for permission from the rest of the industry to include plus-size models; there’s zero excuse for them to sit around, waiting for plus-size to be “in.”
Lane Bryant, the popular plus-size retailer, has sent a not-so-subtle message to Victoria’s Secret with its Cacique line and the #I’mNoAngel campaign. The campaign has been enthusiastically received, proving once again that the “skinnier is sexier” mentality is not necessarily the most prevalent. The following are seven plus-size models who should have walked in Victoria’s Secret show:
1. Ashley Graham
This year, she was one the first plus-size models in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, along with Robyn Lawley. She’s also known for her Ted Talk on eliminating the category “plus-size.” She is one of the models for Lane Bryant’s #I’mNoAngel campaign.
2. Marquita Pring
She was one of the stars of the Real Love photo exhibit that featured plus-size models but focused on their personalities and beauty unrelated to their sizes. She told Elle of the campaign: “People really understood the need to broaden the conversation that’s being had in the industry about ‘plus’ models. They understood that the model’s beauty goes further than just the body and they shouldn’t have to titillate for a positive response in the industry.”
She is also in the #I’mNoAngel campaign.
3. Tess Holliday
A fashion blogger who has come onto the modeling scene in the past year, Holliday is a size 22, which is large for a plus-size model. She was one of the first and only plus-size models of her size to be signed by a major agency (Milk). She started the #effyourbeautystandards campaign.
4. Denise Bidot
She’s walked the runways at New York Fashion Week, she’s modeled for Lane Bryant and Levi’s, and she posed naked to show she gives zero fucks about size close-mindedness.
5. Candice Huffine
One of the #I’mNoAngel girls, Huffine has modeled for Forever 21, Lane Bryant, and Levis, among others.
6. Victoria Lee
Another #I’mNoAngel model, Lee is signed with IMG Models.
7. Robyn Lawley
Along with Ashley Graham, she was one of the first plus-size models in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition. She also wrote a viral essay on the utter stupidity of the quest for the elusive thigh gap.
Images via Lane Bryant and Instagram
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