Danielle Brooks On Plus-Size Visibility: ‘We Deserve To Be Seen’

by Erika W. Smith

Danielle Brooks — aka Taystee on Orange Is The New Black and Tony-nominated Broadway star of The Color Purple — is taking a stand for plus-size visibility with a heartfelt series of tweets and Instagram posts about the new season of America’s Next Top Model.

The season features plus-size supermodel Ashley Graham as a judge, but not one of the 24 contestants is plus-size. As Brooks rightfully points out, this does not reflect the world we live in: more than half of women in the US are plus-size. (Before you get all “plus what?” in the comments, plus-size is usually used to mean bigger than a size 12; most clothing brands don’t make clothes above size 12. Yes, we know, that sucks.)

On Twitter, Brooks wrote: “This 1% thing is real. The world really disregards plus size. Watched #ANTM and not one contestant was plus, hell, not even a size 6 or 8. Even if producers felt well it’ll be hard for a plus size girl, show that ish. Let the world see how much work still needs to be done…for the 67% of women who are plus size. #seethe67 I can’t tell you how upsetting it was to watch #antm and how many seasons has it been now?”

On Instagram, she wrote: “[This is not a bashing of any sort but an observation that wouldn’t allow me to hold my ? ]

“As a plus woman being seen only 1% of the time is a real thing. Period. After watching #ANTM last night I was super excited to see my girl Ashley Graham but bummed out not to see any plus contestants. A curvy judge but no curvy contestants? ? Out of all 24 girls not one was plus. You had an Asian, African, a red head, transgender, an androgynous sister, even twins…(much love for that) but not 1 plus size woman-when 67% of women are plus in the US?? This could’ve been a perfect opportunity for them to highlight fabulous designers that also do plus fashion or highlight strictly plus designers that rarely get any shine. They could’ve also highlighted the struggles that come with being plus. We could’ve at least gotten to 2%. The plus competitor would’ve been able to lean on the fact that a reflection of herself (Ashley Graham) was in the room reminding her that her dream IS possible. All these things still would’ve moved us forward, and would’ve done more than me posting an IG post. Regardless, We are worth these incredible opportunities. We deserve to be seen. I’m going to continue to push back and speak up for that young girl that wants to model, wants to act, wants to be upfront and needs to be reminded that she is just as deserving as anyone else. ✌?️? #seethe67#voiceofthecurves.”

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She also shared a gorgeous photo of herself, simply captioned, “?Queening ? –> now read my last post.”

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This is especially disappointing both because ANTM has featured plus-size models in the past, and because plus-size models are more visible now than they were even a few years ago. Graham isn’t the only plus-size model making a name for herself. There’s also Tess Holliday, Barbie Ferreira, Iskra Lawrence, Marquita Pring, Candice Huffine, Denise Bidot, Tara Lynn, Victoria Lee…the list goes on! The fashion industry has a long way to go, but ANTM chose to take a step back rather than a step forward — and we applaud Brooks for calling them out on it!

Top photo: Instagram/Danielle Brooks

More from BUST

11 Celebrities Who’ve Spoken Out About Designers Refusing To Dress Them Because Of Their Size

Danielle Brooks: ‘I Rock With Hillary Clinton’s View About A Woman’s Right To Choose’

OITNB’s Samira Wiley: ‘These Girls Will Be In My Life Forever’


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