Plus-sized models encourage girls to love their curves

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Katrina Springs, Staff Writer

Models like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday are shattering the views of what a stereotypical fashion model should look like — long slender legs, flat stomachs and a 25 inch waist. These women are using their curvy bodies to show that a size zero isn’t the only definition of beauty.

At the beginning of February Graham made history by being the first curvy woman to pose for “Sports Illustrated’s” annual swimsuit issue. The ad was a part of a campaign named swimsuitsforall, #CurvesinBikinis. The ad was intended to show women that they should feel confident and proud of their bodies, regardless of size.

“I know my curves are sexy, and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too,” Graham said in an “Entertainment Tonight” interview. “There is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt.”

“When I see models that aren’t a size two, it makes me less insecure,” sophomore Bea Dela-Cruz said. “When they flaunt their bodies and are confident, I feel like I should be too.”

Although some call this the “Curvy Girl Era,” plus-sized women are still ridiculed for not being a size that more young people glamorize.

Holliday is a model for plus-sized fashion retailer Torrid and creator of #effyourbeautystandards movement — she’s a size 22 and a mother. When featured on Meredith Vieira’s talk show, Holliday said that she isn’t glamorizing an unhealthy lifestyle. As the first plus size model that a major modeling company has signed, she is often bullied through social media.

“I can’t be celebrated for doing something amazing without someone focusing on my size,” Holliday said.

“Although I’ve been bullied on social media because of my size, my friends were there for me and and those rude comments didn’t make me feel any less beautiful,” junior Amber Couch said.

Plus-sized retailer Lane Bryant also aims to redefine beauty with #ImNoAngel campaign that kicked off in March. Their ad campaign not only features Graham, but models Marquita Pring and Candice Huffine.

“The average American woman — who’s closer to size 14 than the size 0’s in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue — will find a lot to love,” Jeanette Settembre said in an online article. “Indeed, the average woman can’t even shop at Victoria’s Secret.”

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the average woman has a 37.5 inch waist and weighs 166 pounds.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 22 as long as you’re taking care of your body, working out and telling yourself, ‘I love you’ instead of taking in the negativity of beauty standards,” Graham said in her interview with “Entertainment Tonight.”