Kit Steinkellner
November 18, 2014 2:17 pm

The Pirelli calendar is a ginormous deal in the fashion world. The Italian tire company’s calendar has been in publication since 1972, and during that time has featured household name models like Heidi Klum, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford on its pages. According to Refinery 29, “We’ve heard it casually referred to as the biggest accolade a fashion model can achieve in her career, which explains the A+ roster of women who’ve graced the pages.”

This year, “The Cal,” as it’s known in the fashion industry, is finally changing up the game by including model Candice Huffine, who, as a size 16, is the first plus-size model in the calendar’s history. 

Althought Huffine has posed for publications like Italian Vogue, the road to “The Cal” was by no means smooth for the 30-year old model. At 15, Huffine’s mother took her to New York to visit modeling agencies, whereupon she was roundly rejected because of her size.

“It was devastating,” she told the Telegraph. “I was a size 6-8 at the time and I didn’t realize that was way too big to be a model. I thought I was fit, trim and cute. I had no idea about sample sizes.”

Finally, the Wilhemina agency met with Huffine and signed her as a plus-size model. Huffine started after high school graduation with catalog jobs in Germany, and worked her way up the modeling ladder, breaking into the big leagues in 2011 with her work in Italian Vogue.

When asked if she now sees her size as an advantage, Huffine explained:

“I don’t know any differently. I’m navigating a career and I’m really proud of myself being the size that I am. I haven’t made any compromises, yet one year tops the next. I don’t see it as an advantage, I’m just grateful that I’ve got to do it on the terms that I have.”

That said, she’s fully aware that her size and her success make her a role model for other women and she’s honored to play that part:

“I get young girls saying, ‘Thank you, I can see how happy you are, I can see you ate pasta last night. . .’ I feel I’m quietly doing something.”

The history-making model is thrilled about how welcoming the current zeitgeist has been to women:

“I look up to strong, sassy women. Women are bold right now. We’re heard and seen, and we all look different. That’s really exciting.”

It’s thrilling to see a revered publication like “The Cal” use its influence to expand the definition of what it means to be a top-tier fashion model and a beautiful woman. Big ups to Pirelli and Co for embracing plus-sized models and promoting body positivity.

(Images via and via)

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