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Old 16th November 2010   #1
HSG
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Default Petite plus-size model at MSA: Kelly K.


As we were perusing the new MSA Web portal, a unique category of talent caught our attention.

The site features a modelling subdivision called "Petite Plus," which currently comprises one single model--an attractive young girl named Kelly K.

Although Kelly is alone in populating the agency's "Petite Plus" board, the official existence of such a category is an encouraging sign. For far too long, the modelling industry has systematically discriminated against women of non-Amazonian heights almost as resolutely as it has discriminated against plus-size goddesses.

Girls who have regular heights and who are full-figured as well have therefore been doubly excluded.

This discrimination is particularly insulting in the plus-size fashion industry, given that this industry's very existence is predicated on combating size exclusion. Yet not only is the plus-size industry's anti-petite-plus stance hypocritical in the extreme, it also makes no aesthetic sense.

For the minus-size industry to discriminate against shorter girls is offensive, but has its own internal logic, given that the individuals who operate this part of the industry have a blatant bias in favour of the anorexic look. The taller a model is, the more emaciated and underweight she will appear. Therefore, if someone hates any visible trace of curves, their preference for overly tall models is inevitable.

But for the plus-size industry to be discriminating against shorter models makes no sense whatsoever, since this part of the industry is supposed to be championing the fuller-figured look (the look that minus-size fashion excludes). Since the only grounds for preferring taller models over shorter ones is to achieve a gaunt, narrow appearance, the plus-size industry is adopting straight-size-industry thinking when it imposes a height requirement. It is adopting a rule that is anti-plus by its very nature. It would be like creating a all-black-model agency and only accepting models who are as light-skinned as possible. It defeats the purpose of the agency's very existence.

Rather, not only should the plus-size industry have no 5'7 minimum-height requirement, but it should even embrace and prefer models who are smaller than that height, because such girls will physically exhibit full-figured characteristics more visibly.

To allow only tall plus-size women to be models is blatantly anti-plus, which is an unacceptable prejudice in plus-size fashion. At the very least, the same percentage of plus-size models should be "petite" as the percentage of women in society who would be classified as "petite."

* * *

This brings us to Kelly. Her portfolio currently consists of four images, one of which is this attractive headshot. Kelly has a pleasingly round countenance, as well as the key element in feminine beauty--high cheekbones softened by facial fullness. She shows visible weight in the face, which is a must for plus-size models. Her smile is wry and witty.

But it is Kelly's figure shots that are truly remarkable. Every aspect of her physique is visibly soft, from her round arms to her shapely legs, which exhibit a very natural appearance formed by fullness rather than by the unattractive distortion of "toning." The wardrobe is delightfully size-positive, with a dress that bares the model's beautiful arms and legs. Kelly gives the image a sense of movement by coyly twirling her skirt, a gesture that has the added bonus of better revealing her legs.

Her wide smile communicates an irresistible delight in her own person. The v-neck shows off her plump decolletage, while the earrings are fun, yet decorative. The more contemporary dress and the more Old World earrings play off against each other, suggesting a girl who is both current and timeless in her look. The charming updo is a fine hairstyling choice.

Another outfit is even more deliciously youthful. Bravo to the model, photographer, and stylist for creating a test that truly celebrates the model's sumptuous figure. Size-celebration advocates have despaired of ever seeing such genuinely curvaceous proportions on any plus-size model outside of South America. The top lovingly embraces her full waist, unapologetically showing it off. Her arms appear even softer in this image, evidencing not even a hint of muscle "tone," but displaying opulent fullness. Her denim capris acknowledge her womanly thighs, being commendably light in colour rather than the evasion of a darker hue. She stands poised and secure in herself, confident in her curves.

These images are significant for a number of reasons. They show a petite-plus model who, to MSA's great credit, was not chosen to look as thin as possible, but one who is indisputably and visibly full-figured. She much more clearly resembles the real-life curvy teens of today--the girls who shop at Torrid, who go to high school, who populate North American malls--than do the six-foot-tall Amazons whom the plus-size industry tries to pass off as plus size, to the consternation of the general public.

If there had been never been a plus-size industry, and if it were just being created today, Kelly is the kind of model whom such a new industry would choose to fill its ranks--a photogenic girl who truly represents the girls who are systematically excluded from the world of fashion, whose existence is practically erased by the media, despite the fact that they actually form the majority of the young female populace.

* * *

Now, mind you, there is one small caveat to what we have just said. Kelly, as a petite-plus model, is only categorized in MSA's "Fit" division rather than the print board. However, these images are just as serviceable for a first-time print test as a fitting test, and there is no reason whatsoever why Kelly shouldn't be able to attract print jobs as well as wardrobe work. Indeed, today's print plus-size models should more closely resemble Kelly (and therefore curvy girls in general) than size-8 hyper-toned types.

It's hard to judge a model based on a single test, but these images have fans eager to see more. We wish Kelly great success with her career, and commend MSA for representing a girl who is visibly full-figured, attractive, and, most groundbreaking of all, a petite plus-size model.

- Online portfolio at MSA

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Old 16th November 2010   #2
Christine
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Join Date: February 2009
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Default Re: Petite plus-size model at MSA: Kelly K.

How refreshing! I have never understood so-called "beauty" pageants where woman are supposed to be tall and thin.
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