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Not all models are bone-thin waifs tripping down the catwalk with their collarbones jutting every which way. The modeling industry has gradually welcomed plus-size models to their talent stables, offering images of fuller-sized women portrayed in glamorous, girl-next-door and athletic roles. Don’t think that being over age 35 will prohibit you from becoming a model, either; with hard work and determination you’ll be able to land solid modeling gigs not intended for overly youthful faces.
Flip through fashion magazines and department store catalogs to learn about the different ways plus-size models over 35 are depicted. Scan photo credits and read the small print to learn which agencies, photographers and art directors appear to work well with plus-size models or models over 35. Targeting your focus when reaching out in the modeling industry to build professional networks results in less wasted time.
Measure your figure in preparation for building a modeling portfolio. Generally, plus-size models range in size 12 to 14 for print advertising, and size 12 to 24 for runway modeling. Plus-size models should still be toned and exhibit an appealing personal appearance. Put together a basic modeling portfolio showcasing your physical assets. Don’t attempt to disguise wrinkles or other blemishes with artsy lighting; modeling agencies look for clean, clear shots to evaluate your presentation.
Attend casting calls, audition and compete in model-search contests. Learn about upcoming events by reading industry publications, joining social networking sites featuring plus-size models or models over 35, and regularly checking in with your agent, if you’ve acquired one along the way. Some plus-size clothing companies, such as Torrid, run national model search competitions. Prizes may not include a major contract with a modeling agency, but you’ll still score perks like participating in fashion shows and face time with industry professionals.
Exude confidence with a warm smile, direct eye contact and proud posture. Modern media celebrates women over 35 as “cougars” with great style, poise and sex appeal, so there’s no need to assume a style or modeling persona that’s not your own. Being honest and comfortable with your size and age creates in irresistible appeal.
Send your most attractive shots to prospective modeling agencies, but steer clear of obviously sexual shots. As a plus-size model over 35, you’ll want to present yourself as professional; legitimate agencies don’t want to see pornographic or sexual photos.
Scams abound in the modeling industry, and plus-size models over 35 may also be targets. Don’t permit modeling agencies to charge you large sums of money to build your modeling portfolio. Agencies earn their money by charging commissions from your earnings, so you shouldn’t be paying them beforehand.
Read contracts carefully for stipulations pertaining to photo touch-ups. Some models over 35 and plus-size models who celebrate their atypical appearance as models are deeply offended when photos are dramatically retouched before publication.
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.