Photographer and Makeup by Nikki Gomez
I had the pleasure of interviewing plus size model Sara Alloy. She has been modeling for about four years, and is currently signed with IPM Model Management.
How did you get started modeling?
When I was in college (I went to the University of Michigan,) local businesses near campus were advertising for models so I applied in the store and was hired. Then I posted some pictures on a website called Model Mayhem and started networking with models I recognized. They told me that the first thing you do is move to NY. I’m from Ohio but had been to NY many times before to visit. My boyfriend is from this area so it worked out really well.
What kind of modeling do you mainly do? Do you feel like opportunities are expanding? Is it tight right now because of the economy like everything else is?
I do mostly print, online website stuff, a little catalog. There are a lot more opportunities than there used to be. A lot more brands are taking plus size consumers into account and hiring plus size models to support their new brands. They are expanding their sizes. The Limited just announced that they are launching a whole new plus size division. Stuff like that is happening all the time. There are more opportunities but because of the economy they aren’t hiring as much.
Who have you done work for? I saw your spread in Glamour Magazine.
I just shot a great new campaign for a brand called F3; the designers are a cool couple of girls from Canada. I also did a cover and editorial for Daily Venus Diva Magazine. Glamour Magazine. I did a lookbook for Abby Z, they were one of the first jobs I did in New York, so that was really nice. There are always castings in the works. You’ll be in consideration but you don’t know until last minute. So you might be on hold for ten jobs but only wind up doing one of them.
Is your day job cooperative?
They are really supportive. They think it’s really exciting that I model. Recently my boss even asked me if I need time off. I have a job where they try to be really supportive of the work/life balance.
Who would you love to work for who you haven’t worked for yet?
My dream client would be to work for Anthropologie, but they only carry up to a size 14/16 so they don’t use plus size models in their spreads. I’d love to do a makeup line. I would love to work for Lane Bryant or Hips and Curves lingerie out in California. I’ve done a lot of smaller local work; it’d be nice to do national brands. I was on hold a national jeans brand at one point, I’d love to get back in front of them and do a campaign.
Where do you shop yourself?
Forever 21. H&M. Department stores. Banana Republic.
What types of plus clothing would you like to see more of?
I think overall designers are getting better, especially in last year or two. You see a lot more trendy stuff. I’d really like to see the high fashion stuff that you see on the runways. I’d love to see them size their clothing up. I could totally wear the clothing if they’d cut it a little differently and take into consideration some of the plus size consumer’s areas of concern. It would be really nice to wear more trendy stuff. I don’t want to wait three seasons to wait for someone to make a knockoff of Roberto Cavalli.
We are talking about plus size models but it would be a good idea to define what that is. What does the industry describe it as and what would you personally define it as?
That’s a good question because there’s a lot of controversy about it. Traditionally the sample size for a plus size model is a size 12/14; nowadays you’ll see a model as small as a size 8. It’s really common to see a straight size model go away for a season and come back as a plus size model and they will only have gained a couple of inches. You usually have to be between 5’8” and 5’9”, have good skin, good teeth, be photogenic and comfortable in front of the camera, and know how to pose. There’s no real difference between a plus size model and a straight size model except that we are a couple of sizes bigger.
What is the higher end size of a plus size model that you’ll see?
Most agencies wouldn’t put a model on the board larger than a size 18, and that might be pushing it. That would be a smaller boutique willing to take a chance. Some modeling agencies won’t go past 16.
Where do you fall in that range, if you feel comfortable saying? I see you and many models with their dimensions posted online.
I’m a 14 and 5’8″. So fortunately I’m in the middle. You get comfortable talking about your numbers.
Have you ever been asked to gain or lose weight in order to get a job?
I haven’t been told to my face which doesn’t mean it hasn’t been said about me. Clients won’t necessarily tell you that’s the reason you didn’t get the job. I’m in the sample size so that’s pretty safe. You’ll hear about padding to size up. There will be a size 10 or 12 girl and a client wants a size 14 or 16 so they’ll put padding on. They’ll want her face and look, but want to represent a bigger woman so they’ll just have her put on custom foam padding under her clothes.
I read about padding in Woman’s Wear Daily. Do you have any feelings or thoughts about that?
I think it’s unfortunate that they do that. There are so many beautiful plus size models that you should be able to find a girl with the size that you want with the look that you want, instead of saying “I only want to use so and so because she’s famous and I want her in my brand but she’s not a 16.”
I also read in the WWD article that some plus size models have been told to do things like eat cotton balls dipped in juice or eat a lot of salt to bloat up a bit or look a little bit bigger for shoots.
I haven’t heard of that. That’s really scary. Usually plus size models pride themselves on being healthy and engaging in healthy practices. I don’t know anyone who’s done that and I feel bad for the girls who are doing it if they are. Continue reading