With Ashley Graham being the first plus-sized model to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Maxim and British Vogue, perhaps we will see more plus-sized beauties on glossy covers. 67 percent of the women in the US are plus-sized, however even with Ms. Graham, there is such a small representation in the media of curvy women. It is better than what it used to be, but considering the numbers it is not even close to representing the 67% of women out there. Never mind many designers do not even make clothing above a size 12, leaving a large percentage of women with limited choices.
So when plus-sized model JJ Malone contacted me about doing an underwater session, I was ecstatic. She shared with me that another underwater photographer she contacted told her that they did not do “plus sized” models. I have never thought about turning a client away based on their size. matter of fact, so many clients will postpone their session due to wanting to “lose weight”- my advice is document your life today, where you are this given moment, let me do my job and pose your beautifully.
So after JJ braved the cold water on a day that my pool heater decided to act up we did an interview and here’s what she shared with me about the LA plus modeling world.
Gigi- How long have you been modeling?
JJ- 4 years
Gigi- How did you get into modeling?
JJ- I have my Masters degree, and I am a family therapist. So one day I noticed a Lane Bryant ad, and I thought, I would like to do that. At the time my self esteem was low, and I did not feel pretty. So I did my research on how to get into modeling, and I started going on calls, and learning everything I could about the industry.
Gigi- What is the term that you prefer? Plus size, Curvy or just model?
JJ-I prefer plus size model I don’t have any problem with being called plus-sized.
Gigi- Do you think the fashion industry is still afraid to embrace inclusivity with non traditional models?
JJ- Well doors have been opened to a certain degree, however there are limitations compared to straight sized models. There have been shows where hair and makeup did not do the plus sized models, or problems with getting paid for shows little discrepancies on occasion..
Gigi – What is the LA model scene like for plus sized models?
JJ- I am part of a network of LA plus sized models, where we get together and support one another.
Gigi- After Ashley Graham’s Sports Illustrated cover, have things become easier? Since there are more “name” faces i.e. Precious Lee, Jordyn Woods to name a few, has it opened more doors?
JJ – Actually yes and no, there are a lot more models going out for the same jobs, and every plus sized girl is assuming she can now be a model regardless of her experience.
Gigi- Any advice on body positivity in this size “0” obsessed society we live in? Especially for the young girls? I know you have a young daughter.
JJ – I’m a therapist, so I deal with clients that have horrible self esteem . I try to instill the message of “don’t compare yourself to images that are not even real” “Accept your flaws” . I ask my daughter “Do you feel beautiful?”
It is important to validate our young girls so they can mature into confidant women, secure in their own skin.
Gigi- What advice would you give to up and coming non-traditional models?
JJ- Be nice. Do your research. Be accommodating, know your craft, be able to do your own face and hair, be prepared- own your beauty, be confident and develop a good reputation, the modeling world is small .
You can follow JJ on IG@jjmaloneplus
How do you feel about your body? Do you ascribe to a certain “weight” or else? Do you let weight gain interfere with your life? Did you grow up in a family that was supportive of the physical you and made you feel good about yourself? Please share…