Game-Changers: The 14 Most Important Plus-Size Models

The fashion world has been talking a lot about plus-size ladies lately. First, size-10 model Myla Dalbesio garnered a lot of attention when some media outlets mistakenly labeled her plus-size. Then the hallowed pages of Vogue were filled with a lingerie shoot featuring women of a bunch of different shapes and sizes—including some plus-size ladies.

While we certainly wouldn’t argue that the fashion world’s progress toward becoming more inclusionary of different female forms is done—far from it, actually—there are a few women out there who have certainly helped it come a long, long way. We came up with 14 plus-size women who truly changed the game when it comes to the fashion world’s penchant for straight-size models.

Keep scrolling to learn more about 14 plus-size models who have been important to the fashion industry! 

Emme Aronson


Getty Images

Emme Aronson has the rare privilege of being one of the very few plus-size models known only by her first name. She rose to fame during the heyday of the supermodel (the ‘90s), and was the first plus-size model to break into pop culture as a first-name figure. 

Graham is one of the few women on our list who has expanded her modeling career into a bona fide empire. She has modeled for Lane Bryant, has her own collection of eponymous lingerie, has appeared in Vogue and Glamour, and was the face of a Levi’s campaign. 

Tara Lynn


D Magazine

Lynn was always encouraged as a teenager to model, but she always thought she would have to lose a ton of weight to do it. It wasn’t until a bit later that she learned about plus-size modeling, and the rest is history—she landed on the cover of ELLE Spain in November 2013.

Karina is a very outspoken and socially involved plus-size model. Last year, she founded Curve Project London, the U.K.’s first-ever support group for plus-size models. Karina had a successful career as a straight-size model until her body changed and her agency dropped her.

Australian model Robyn Lawley makes no bones about the fact that she is unsatisfied with the way the fashion industry treats models who aren’t straight-size. Like many plus-size models, Lawley once lost a ton of weight to fit into sample sizes, then gained it all back and pursued plus-size modeling. She once openly blamed designers for the lack of opportunity for plus-size models in the industry. 

Marquita Pring


Vogue Italia

Pring received the shock of her career when, after eight years with Ford Models, she received an email earlier this year saying that she was being dropped because the agency was shuttering their plus-size division. She has switched over to IMG Models, where she’s seen continued success. 

Kate Dillon



Dillon is one of the plus-size modeling world’s most well-known names and figures. She became more of a household name when she spoke out about her struggle with anorexia while trying to work as a straight-size model. 

Legault made history when she landed the cover of an issue of ELLE Quebec—one of the first times ELLE had ever cast a plus-size model for the cover of any issue. 

Crystal Renn


Elle Italia, Photographed by Ruven Afandor

When Renn first tried to pursue modeling at age 14, she was told by an agent that she would need to lose a third of her body weight if she ever wanted to succeed. She tried to do it, only to have a series of eating disorders totally disrupt her body. She now pursues plus-size modeling—with an enormous amount of success. 

Jones was the first plus-size model to compete on America’s Next Top Model. She didn’t win that season, but she had the distinct honor of opening the door for other plus-size women to compete on the show. 

Whitney Thompson



Thompson made history last year when she won Cycle 10 of America’s Next Top Model, making her the first plus-size model to do so. 

Huffine made waves earlier this year when she was the only plus-size model cast in the iconic Pirelli Calendar for 2015. 

Runk made headlines last year when H&M cast her as the star of their Summer 2013 ad campaign. The beauty modeled swimwear for the major brand, which had never before cast a plus-size model in their campaigns. 

Lizzie Miller


Editorial Portfolio

Miller became an overnight celebrity when she posed semi-nude without Photoshop in Glamour in 2009—an image which, she says, instantly brought in offers from both Italian and American fashion brands wanting her to model for them.

Which of these plus-size ladies is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!