Since the founding of the Big Beautiful Women (BBW) magazine by Carole Shaw in 1979, increasing attention has been paid to the fashion needs of women of more generous proportions. Plus size models have achieved fame playing a part in this commendable cause and some notable sentiments have been expressed. For example, Natalie Laughlin, rated a top-ten plus size model, has been quoted as saying that her mission ‘is to impact the world of fashion by furthering the notion that every woman’s dream body is, in fact, the one that is perfect for her,’ but does this UK size 16 model really represent even the average woman, let alone the plus size woman, in current populations?
Natalie Laughlin started modeling for the Ford agency at the age of 15, but battling an eating disorder and body image issues, she gave up regular modeling and became a plus size model. Natalie’s UK dress size 16 corresponds to a waist size of about 33 inches (84 cm), but with the average waist size of English women in 2004 reported to be 34 inches (86 cm), and growing year-by-year, it is difficult to consider a woman like Natalie with an average waist measurement as really plus-size.
Natalie Laughlin is not the only famous plus size model to have what can be considered average proportions. Other top-ten plus size models with marginal dimensions include Justine Legault with a 31 inch (79 cm) waist and Christina Mendez and Kate Dillon with 32 inch (81 cm) waists. These young women model UK dress sizes 14 and 16, when in 2014 the average dress size in the UK was reported to be 14, and 45 percent of all women wore dress size 16 or above.
Of the top-ten celebrity plus size models, only the Brazilian beauty, Fluvia Lucerda, is above average size. This Rubenesque lady, with a 43D bust, 35 inch waist and 46 inch hips, and UK dress size 18, can more accurately be said to promote the cause of the plus size woman. She has been quoted as saying, “The best result out of all the hard work I have achieved is knowing that I have liberated the minds of so many women who have struggled with a negative body image their entire lives.” It is to be hoped that other truly plus size models will follow Fluvia in the crusade to liberate the minds of many more.