Last week, Victoria’s Secret inaugurated ten new Angels to fill in the glittering heels and diamond bras of their ad campaigns and runway shows — slots previously held by some of the fashion world’s most prominent models: Gisele Bundchen, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum. The brand’s current models bask in the spotlight of an annual fashion show with an estimated viewership of 23 million. Yet despite its success, Victoria’s Secret has yet to capitalize on a prominent demographic of women that some of its competitors are already actively marketing to: plus-size women.
Although the fashion industry has gone through waves of fixating on predominantly white, waiflike models to slowly embracing more voluptuous women of all races, the template of an Angel has stayed pretty consistent throughout the years.
Plus-size models have been gaining momentum, however. Lane Bryant’s aptly-titled #ImNoAngel campaign features women of various proportions and declares “sexy comes in all shapes and sizes.” Torrid’s second annual swimsuit edition aims to empower their customers by showcasing models rocking bikinis and one-piece swimsuits, tailored for maximum figure-flattery. It’s 2015, Victoria’s Secret: where are your plus-size ladies?
Recently, the Daily Mail asked new Angels Elsa Hosk and Jac Jagaciak if there will ever be a plus-size stunner strutting the runway alongside them. "I really hope so," Hosk said. Jagaciak added: "I think the whole world is more open to plus-size [models] and I am sure at some point [Victoria's Secret] will be ready for it." To help out, we’ve picked five plus-size models we think VS should scoop under — and into — its wings.
Pring already has a gig as Lane Bryant's anti-Angel, but it would be awesome if her good vibes (look at that infectious smile!) and fierce poses landed her in a larger spotlight. In an interview with Cosmo Live, she tells how the models she works with stress the importance of physical and emotional health and focusing on body image a different way.
Lawley has been part of numerous milestones in the plus-size industry: first to be featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition, second on the cover of Elle France, and the first overall to ever have been shot for Australian Vogue and Australian GQ. Although the modeling world dubs her as plus-size, she claims she would rather focus on helping women accept their bodies than adhering to an established standard. She probably wouldn't work for Victoria's Secret since she has her own swimwear line, but still.
Huffine made history this year when she made an appearance on the prestigious Pirelli calendar. Featured alongside of 11 other famously beautiful women — including Instagirls Gigi Hadid and Joan Smalls — her burgeoning career is an indication of flourishing beauty standards.
Fearless dream-chaser and mother of the colossal #EffYourBeautyStandards movement, Holliday — with tremendous support from social media — became the first size 22 model to score a major contract with a modeling industry, despite being repeatedly told she wasn't the right weight or height. Plus, she's endorsed by former super-Angel, Tyra Banks.
Mayday is unstoppable, even in the face of cancer. Despite being diagnosed with a form of cancer usually seen in post-menopausal women, Mayday become determined to continue modeling and vowed to center her campaign around celebrating her body. She persevered through losing her hair, and is a beacon of beauty and remarkable persistence.
i-D reports that when Kwao isn't modeling swimsuits for Torrid, she is working on her self-developed charity endeavor, The Lily Project, that offers advice to teen boys and girls. She embraces her dark skin and close-cropped hair and is determined to help others like her do the same.
Just a few suggestions, VS — it's your move.
Nikita Redkar is the editorial intern for Fusion who loves writing all things pop culture and feminism - sprinkled with the occasional punchline. She likes cute animal gifs and dislikes long walks on the beach, plagues, and other cliches.