The Notebook

'Imagination will take you everywhere'

Finally… the rise of the plus size

     Kate Upton on the cover of British Vogue

I’m certain I could hear a roar of delight as the January edition of British Vogue landed with a thud through subscribers’ letter boxes – I certainly cheered. The covergirl … (sharp intake of breath)… possessed more than a bag of bones – in fact the model is a normal size. Shock horror! What is the fashion world coming to? Finally after decades of magazine covers plastered with stick thin, boney, unhealthy and unsuitable role models, Vogue is leading the fashion pack with the introduction of the most beautiful, healthy, and womanly model of them all.

Kate modelling swimwear

Let me introduce you to Kate. And I’m not talking about the Moss, or the Middleton – far from it. Kate Upton is the latest woman whose sultry gaze will be staring at you from the News Agents’ shelves. But it’s not her soft blonde waves that will draw your attention, or her Cindy Crawford-esque mole; it’s her wholesome, full figure clad in a fitted white Azzedine Alaia dress. Upton is a UK size 12 and proud of it. Born in Michigan, she grew up in Florida with her siblings, on a farm with plenty of land, she describes her childhood as ‘very family orientated and outdoorsy’. Her passion as a girl was always horse riding (she has five world titles to her name), it was at a horse show when she was 12 years old that the modelling world collided with her own; she was scouted and so began a career that would see her grace the covers of Sports Illustrated, American and Italian Vogue, appear on The  Late Show with David Letterman and play a racy nun in the Farrelly brothers’ The Three Stooges. Her curves are most famous in America where she is a well-known swimwear model.

Kate Upton in bikini

Upton is now part of the rise of wholesome, full figures promoting a healthier look. She has joined models such as, Miranda Kerr, Lara Stone and Doutzen Kroes – all of which began modelling commercially and have since conquered the fashion industry (an incredibly difficult feat). Upton’s arrival on the pages of Vogue couldn’t have come at a better time; in May 2012, the 19 international editors of Vogue announced the Health Initiative, a pact made to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the fashion industry. Most importantly the pact included a ban on models under the age of 16 and encouraged designers to consider the consequences of creating the tiny sample sizes of their clothing. When asked about her view on the unnaturally small sample sizes, Upton replies maturely, ‘I’m sure every designer has a certain person in mind who they would ideally like to wear their clothes, but the problem is that a lot of the time that person doesn’t actually exist, unless she is a 15-year-old model.’ Upton’s dream isn’t to appear on a high fashion advertising campaign, be the face of a fragrance, or to open a show at Paris Fashion Week.Kate Upton in Vogue shoot

Her dream was always to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, a feat which she’s already completed, now she’s ‘really enjoying finding out more about the fashion industry.’ She says she’s not sure about her next goal, ‘but it’s a fun journey’. Upton’s clearly enjoying being the next darling of fashion; hopefully she’ll be a healthy role model for body conscious young women around the globe. Proving that big can be beautiful.

Kate Upton on the catwalk

I applaud Vogue for addressing such a controversial topic within society in regard to the Health Initiative. However I still see stick thin models plastered over the pages of Vogue and many more top fashion magazines. Let Upton’s recognition and beauty be a warning to them all: this is only the beginning.

Kate Upton


2 comments on “Finally… the rise of the plus size

  1. Collins
    March 2, 2014

    Your wholesome girl doesn’t represent anything good. It’s hard to find a pic of her from the last 5 years in which she has normal amounts of muscle…she ends up flabby because she has no muscle but still has fat, this is a common consequence of dieting, your body takes from muscle and organs like the liver and kidneys and not fat tissue…plus, she wears her bras incorrectly…too small a bandsize worn too low and too high a cup size to compensate for area…she’s progressed from 34D- 35D in 2011 to a 38 – 39D in 2013, but still comes up as 34DD online…All weight gain with no muscle!
    Kate Upton may be a good model, but she’s no role model for healthy girls. The reason she made the comment about being small when you’re 15, is because she’s gotten bigger with every year. She could benefit from reading the Perfect Health Diet by the Jaminets, no one has to be overweight or weak..whatever she’s doing isn’t fooling me.

    • Jessie Williams
      March 2, 2014

      That’s an interesting point – thanks for your comment. I agree; to be a good role model she has to be healthy not just curvy. However I still think her body shape – and other plus size models like her – is making young girls realise that stick thin is not the norm and should not be coveted.

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2012 by in Fashion, Women and tagged , , , .
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