We’ve long been scratching our heads over the term “plus-size model.” Why do we even need it? What counts as “plus-size,” anyway? And who does the terminology really serve? It turns out that the whole thing is a bit complicated for plus-size models themselves — particularly, Australian model Bree Warren, who has spoken up recently about it.
Bree is a size 12, which is slightly smaller than the average Australian woman size of 14 or 16. As the Daily Telegraph reports, even she is a bit flabbergasted about why this makes her “plus-size” in the eyes of the fashion industry. (She models for brands like Forever 21, ASOS and Nordstrom.)
“I’m tall, I’m in proportion, I have wide hips, and I’m bigger than the average model but it doesn’t always translate in photos because I’m healthy and in shape,” Bree told Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “I’m the first to admit that the term ‘plus-size’ is pretty silly. Unfortunately, it’s an industry term for any model over a size 10.”
Nevertheless, Bree doesn’t think the label “plus-size” necessarily needs to be eradicated, she explained to the Daily Telegraph. “I really feel that dropping the tag doesn’t eliminate the problem,” she said. “What we’re trying to achieve is body diversity so that we have more shapes and sizes in fashion. Not just one.” In other words, Bree seems to be saying that by using the label “plus-size,” it forces the fashion industry’s hand, in a way, to be more inclusive by acknowledging it.
Earlier this year, Bree Warren addressed the same issue while talking to Elle.com, sharing that she thinks her existence in the plus-size modeling space is important for visibility. “I know that to people at home I am not really that much bigger, but I’m still quite a few sizes bigger than the average model, and my body type and shape—that wasn’t accepted in fashion before,” she said. “My body is totally relatable and attainable for most people.
Visibility of other plus-size models is, in fact, part of the reasons Bree became a model in the first place. She also explained how, while growing up in Australia, she had been model scouted a few times but didn’t really see the possibility of a career for herself until she saw the success of fellow Australian and plus-size model Robin Lawley (who is a size 10).
“I thought if I wanted to model properly I would have to be on a strict diet and lose a lot of weight and my body was just never going to be that way,” she told Elle.com. ” . . . [I]t wasn’t until the whole idea of “plus-size” came up that modeling was something that I thought, ‘You know, I can do this.'”
We know the term “plus-size” is can be somewhat controversial lately, especially after comedienne Amy Schumer criticized Glamour magazine over Instagram for including her in their plus-size issue when she herself is not plus-size. (Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive responded on Twitter that Amy was included in the issue simply because her body positive attitude is inspiring.) Bree Warren has offered a different perspective on what it means to be labeled “plus size” and we’re happy she’s spoken up about it.