The Screening Room

A plus-size-model video gallery

Barbara Brickner modelling for Elena Miro


The following is a collection of appearances by plus-size models in fashion shows, news broadcasts, music videos, agency advertisements, etc. It is still a rare treat to see full-figured models in living motion rather than in still images, so with this page, we hope to offer as many such appearances as we can. Viewers will require QuickTime, Windows Media Player, RealVideo, and Macromedia Flash, and possibly DivX to view the assorted clips.

As more Web users switch from dial-up connections to broadband access, we expect that plus-size retailers will increasingly accompany their print ads with video promotions such as these.

This page is also intended to show the public what our culture might look like, if genuinely curvaceous goddesses were represented in the film and television media—where plus-size beauty has been systematically excluded for far too long…


Contents:



Barbara Brickner: Elena Mirò video

Barbara Brickner in a behind-the-scenes video for Elena Miro's 2001 calendar

How frustrating that this, the greatest video footage of a plus-size model ever recorded, in only available in such a poor format. Not only is the aspect ratio of this small .mov file somewhat distored, but only one minute of the clip actually plays, out of an original two-minute duration. Nevertheless, this “background” look at Barbara Brickner’s historic shoot on the Côte d’Azur for plus-size retailer Elena Mirò is utterly priceless, and compulsory viewing—even in this imperfect state—as a record of possibly the greatest plus-size model shoot of all time.





Charlotte Coyle: Interview

As a model, Charlotte Coyle is the perfect combination of beauty and curves, and yet her journey towards self-adoration was such a troubled one, as this interview for British television reveals, that she also embodies the plight of all true goddesses living in the modern world. Gorgeous both in character and in appearance, this star may well be the plus-size fashion industry’s greatest hope of restoring the timeless ideal of full-figured feminine beauty.





Charlotte Coyle: Runway

To see Miss Coyle on the runway is to see the Classical Ideal brought to life, in the modern age. The very reincarnation of Helen of Troy, Charlotte exhibits loveliness of a truly supernal kind. She is a dream of Antiquity made real, and we can only hope that we soon see her images in every possible venue. The cultural impact that her beauty could have is simply incalculable.





Charlotte Coyle: TV trailer

This half-minute trailer for Charlotte Coyle’s Channel 4 documentary treats viewers to glimpses of the model at a photo shoot, walking the catwalk in a hot pink dress, dealing with production challenges, and—best of all—teaching her protégés some dazzling modelling poses. The clip picks up after the narrator has posed the question, “Is Britain ready for a plus-size beauty contest?” The answer—as this thrilling footage confirms—is a resounding “Yes!”





Charlotte Coyle: Richard & Judy interview

Click image to play video

This video excerpts Charlotte Coyle’s exciting appearance on a popular British TV talk show called Richard and Judy. The segment aired the day before Miss Coyle’s prime-time documentary debuted, and undoubtedly helped attract the 2.3 millon viewers who tuned in to Charlotte’s program. The video features several notable observations by the hosts, and by Charlotte herself, on the subjects of body image, fashion, and the media. Miss Coyle is eloquent and persuasive, and absolutely sincere, without a trace of falsehood or pretense. But perhaps the most engaging moment in the interview comes towards the end, when the host unwittingly reveals that he has developed a considerable crush on Miss Coyle (and who can blame him?).





Charlotte Coyle: Beauty Contest (complete)

Press play button when new window with embedded video opens

This video comprises the full 48 min. of Miss Coyle’s prime-time television special, which aired August 10, 2006. Despite certain regrettable details (such as the title), the show has real artistic integrity, and tells a compelling, entertaining, and moving story. Most viewers will tune in expressly because this video offers them a priceless opportunity to see Charlotte Coyle in living motion. But as one watches the program, one quickly becomes involved in the narrative itself. One also discovers that Charlotte’s inner beauty outshines even her gorgeous physical appearance. She is disarmingly vulnerable, yet displays a profound inner resolve. There is a serious side to the show as well. On two upsetting occasions, Miss Coyle is addressed in a disrespectful manner—once by an agent, and once by an assistant. Disturbing as these moments are, they perfectly encapsulate the struggle that size-celebration faces today. On the one hand, certain parties seek to diminish full-figured models in size, until they become culturally irrelevant. On the other hand, some individuals believe in size alone, and fail to recognize the importance of beauty in the equation, “plus-size beauty.” Charlotte herself represents the perfect union of both, as a model who is genuinely curvaceous, and truly gorgeous. And if anything can challenge the media standard of female appearance, it is this: the Classical ideal that she personally embodies. (Be sure to press the “play” button, to start the video.)





Charlotte Coyle: Sky News report

Click image to play video

Charlotte Coyle appeared in this Sky News segment in early 2007, in a report about the deaths of several models from anorexia, and the proposed ban on size-zero models. The video includes an exciting glimpse of the model entering the room for the interview, and preening before her dressing table. It is fascinating to see her cooly assess her own beauty, just as a great painter might appraise his own masterpiece. Such visuals reveal to viewers that plus-size models are just as capable of exuding the kind of intoxicating vanity, and exciting haughtiness, that straight-size models can generate—yet doing so while resembling healthy, opulent goddesses, rather than walking corpses.





Christina Schmidt: Wilhelmina promotional video

In this clip, Christina shows herself to be the curviest, most beautiful, most poised model ever to appear in an agency video. Her extensive screen experience is very much on display (in fact, this is the first time that fans have seen her on film since Degrassi), and her rapport with the camera is as remarkable as ever. Christina’s catwalk prowl is fluid and graceful; her every movement smooth and natural. The video admirably showcases the model’s curves, but Christina always adds a signature glance, a coy look, to increase the effect. She moves with complete comfort and relaxation, utterly at ease with her rounded contours, exuding the confidence that has made her so popular. When modelling the lingerie outfit, Christina heightens her allure-factor still further, gazing at the camera with simmering passion. No other model can match Christina for steamy looks and expressive sensuality. Add to that the intoxicating appeal of Christina's sumptuous figure, and this video is without a doubt the most smouldering presentation of feminine allure ever filmed. Christina also has the most delicately feminine, beautiful speaking voice of any model, with a soft, breathy sweetness.





Shannon Marie: The Roseanne Show

Click image to play video

Thanks to a gift from our friend D. Trull, we are privileged to be able to share a .wmv clip showing Shannon Marie modelling on national televison. At the peak of her career in 2001, Shannon Marie was the most gorgeous of all plus-size models—a title that no other goddess has ever seriously contested. Regrettably, however, the source of this video is a second-generation VHS tape plagued by tracking problems. Also, the video is an excerpt from a fashion segment that appeared on The Roseanne Show in 1999/2000 (a bad time for plus-size fashion), so Shannon Marie is suffocated in layers upon layers of “grunge” wear, and her legendary blonde tresses are tied back in a ponytail. But this is still…Shannon Marie on video. And it turns out that the model is even more gorgeous in moving images than she is in her unsurpassable print work. Her facial features are soft and full. She exhibits prominent apple cheeks with high cheekbones, a perfectly rounded facial shape, a naturally wide, beautiful mouth, and luminescent hazel/green eyes. No other model has ever come close to matching the timeless perfection of Shannon Marie’s beauty, and she will remain the ideal by which all goddesses are judged, for ever after. The video also reveals that, from a technical standpoint, Shannon Marie is an absolutely brilliant model. She beams at the audience, projecting so much radiance and joy, effortlessly transitioning from one natural facial expression to the next, that this clip could well serve as a textbook lesson in how models should (ideally) perform, in their television appearances.





Sophie Dahl: 1997 documentary

Click image to play video

Sophie Dahl was the first true plus-size supermodel, and while she was fuller-figured, she was more gorgeous than anyone else who has earned that title. Sophie’s baby-soft, rounded facial features (uncannily reminiscent of Lillian Russell’s) and voluptuous figure made her the perfect living embodiment of timeless beauty. Tragically, Sophie later diminished herself into just another minus-size waif, but this four-minute video clip from 1997 shows Sophie during the most curvaceous phase of her career, when the model was at the very peak of her beauty. It is part of a British exposé of the fashion world titled Dazzled, and the tone of the piece is unfortunately rather downbeat. Nevertheless, this video is aesthetically priceless, as it shows just how gorgeous Miss Dahl was, while she was a plus-size model. The clip includes footage from a U2 video in which the model appeared, a rehearsal of a play starring Sophie, as well as a behind-the-scenes glimpse of her groundbreaking shoot for H&M.





Barbara Brickner: MODE runway show

Thanks to our friend and ally D. Trull, we are pleased to be able to offer an example of a plus-size runway show that actually got it right, a show that used models who were truly full-figured, and truly gorgeous. And can you guess which entity produced this show? That's right: none other than that perfect publication, that one notable periodical which, for three years, could simply do no wrong in celebrating women of size: MODE magazine. And if the very thought of a “MODE fashion show” gets you excited, just wait until you view the video itself. In addition to seeing many famous MODE alumni, you will finally be able to watch Barbara Brickner prowl the catwalk. And just as her many fans always expected, Barbara is every bit as much a goddess on the runway as she is on the printed page. And in addition to several glimpses of Mrs. Brickner, the show also features the incredibly curvaceous beauty in the above-right image, who rivals Barbara herself in feminine attractions. Her soft facial features are utterly breathtaking, and if anyone can identify her, please let us know. (Admittedly, the clothing in the show is terrible, but the selection of models is the crucial point.)





Kailee O’Sullivan: Ford 360 video

In this Ford 360 video, Miss O’Sullivan exhibits several youth-oriented hairstyles—although the most becoming style of all, for Kailee, is the naturally loose and flowing arrangement that she sports at the beginning of the video, before the stylist works his magic. The model seems quite amused by the whole affair, from the frenetic brushing of her tresses, to the sundry pulling, shaping, and arranging that is involved in creating the final look. In fact, it’s all that she can do to keep from giggling. In several shots, the camera zooms in close to show the exquisite beauty of the model’s facial features, reminiscent of those of a Botticelli painting of a goddess in profile. Kailee’s peaches-and-cream complexion is as smooth as the polished marble of a Classical sculpture. Her flushed cheeks pulse with life. Best of all, the video unapologetically exhibit the soft loveliness of her figure, including her curvaceous midriff. Kailee has one of the most attractive physiques of any girl in the industry, naturally full and shapely and rather than distorted by gym-torture. This video amply demonstrates that plus-size goddesses surpass their underweight rivals not only as fashion models, but also as models for hair, cosmetics, etc.





Crystal Renn: Gaultier runway show

Crystal Renn’s runway showing at the Jean-Paul Gaultier S/S 2006 prêt-à-porter presentation constituted the first-ever appearance of a plus-size model on the catwalk, for a major designer. Happily, this was also the most beautiful runway event that the upscale fashion industry has ever produced. As the designer himself explains (in the commentary track that accompanies this video), the intention of the show was to depart from the urban minimalism that usually dominates Parisian couture, and instead to celebrate the organic aesthetic of the European folk tradition. Organized on the theme of a “wedding in the country,” the show features timeless, feminine styles, such as peasant blouses and Bohemian skirts, depicts families on stage, and even features a catwalk laid out with straw—all with balalaika music playing in the background. Miss Renn appears at 2'08 in this three-minute video, and again at the very end. NOTE: You may need to install the DivX codec to view this video. DivX is a free download, which can be obtained here.





Crystal Renn: Fashion Television essay

Click image to play video

This video essay about Crystal Renn, which aired on Canada’s Fashion Television program in December 2005, includes glimpses of her appearance at the Gaultier runway show, a thoughtful interview with the model, and clips of an exciting fashion shoot for which Crystal exhibits a breathtaking “wet look,” and adopts sculptural poses while modelling a dress that is the very essence of the Antique style. The program’s host refers to the model as “the voluptuous Crystal Renn,” declares her “naturally a size 14,” and affirms that, for Crystal, “it was unrealistic and unhealthy to maintain her smaller size.” The report also includes an admission from a fashion-industry insider that “there are people who would find someone like Crystal much, much more attractive than whoever is on the cover of Vogue right now.” Seeing Miss Renn in graceful motion, modelling authentically Classical “wet drapery,” is sure to delight fans no end—as is hearing her acknowledge a love of cheeseburgers. The piece also wins style points for opening with the “Flower Duet” from the Delibes opera, Lakmé (a fitting accompaniment for the model’s timeless beauty), rather than with a dissonant strain of modern music.





Crystal Renn: MuchTalks report

Click image to play video

This video offers a different selection of footage from the same Crystal Renn interview and photo shoot that comprised the FashionTelevision report, above. For this shoot, Crystal wore what may still be the most gorgeous dress that she has ever exhibited, surpassing even her celebrated Gaultier gown. Her “wet look” is entirely faithful to the Classical aesthetic, as sculptors of Antiquity specifically depicted their goddesses adorned in wet drapery, so that the fabric could be shown clinging to their voluptuous figures. The hair, makeup, etc. artisans that are seen fussing over Crystal’s appearance are fulfilling the role that the acolytes and high priestesses of Venus would have performed in the Classical age: adorning their goddess, worshipping her, paying tribute to her lavish beauty. For a moment, one can imagine Crystal recognizing that her opulent beauty fully entitles her to devotion such as this—being pampered and preened, and having her every desire gratified, her every wish fulfilled. One might thereby consider this video clip a bona fide Classical re-enactment, and not just a Classically-inspired photograph.





Lorna Roberts in “What I Go to School For”

Lorna Roberts in the music video for the song ''What I Go to School For,'' by the British boy band, ''Busted''

The premise of this music video by “Busted” (which is one of those supreme musical abominations of our time known as “boy bands”) is that a high-school student has discovered a new reason for enjoying his classes—i.e., for the opportunity that this affords him of ogling his extremely curvaceous teacher. In the video, Lorna Roberts plays “Miss Mackenzie,” the voluptuous teacher in question, and the Busted trio play the smitten schoolboy, and two of his chums.

In addition to shots of the Busted boys drooling over Lorna in class, the video shows an extended fantasy-romance sequence in which the lovesick lad dreams of peering through the curtains of his teacher’s window and catching a glimpse of her dressed in lingerie, then taking her out to dinner, then running with her through a flowery meadow…all prime adolescent fantasy stuff.

Think what you will about this brand of music, the director of the video deserves credit for casting a plus-size model rather than a generic waif as his female lead. The role required someone who was womanly and physically desirable, and it is a mark of progress that the director ascribed these qualities to a full-figured actress. More importantly, seeing this video will indicate to the young teens who comprise the band’s fan base that it is perfectly normal for a plus-sized woman to be beguiling, and for someone to be beguiled by her.





Melissa Masi: Just My Size television commercial

Click image to view Melissa's Just My Size television commercial

This wonderful fifteen-second commercial is actually a remarkably subversive document. It incorportates a visual staple of Hollywood romance films (a walk on the beach), but presents an utterly gorgeous plus-size ingénue in the role of the love interest. (At a size 16, Melissa was at the pinnacle of her beauty when she filmed this commercial.) Also, by featuring a conventional GQ-type male actor as the other half of the happy young couple, it normalizes the pairing of full-figured goddesses with handsome male admirers. This presents an ideal template for the media to follow in producing genuinely size-positive filmmaking.





Valerie Lefkowitz: Target television commercial

Click image to view Valerie's Target television commercial

Here we see seventeen seconds of a Target TV commercial for Isaac Mizrahi featuring Valerie Lefkowitz. First, we view the model being fitted in a Mizrahi outfit. Later, we see her in the guise of a waitress in New York diner. Waitress Valerie walks past the designer, who snaps his fingers like a fairy godfather, and says, “I love you in pink…gorgeous!” whereupon Valerie’s outfit changes—in true Cinderella fashion—from the waitress uniform, to a hot pink number. However, some readers who saw this commercial when it first aired actually preferred the waitress outfit, because it showed off Valerie’s legs, which were then considered the most attractive in the industry. Valerie was a true plus-size model when this commercial was filmed, and it is a testament to her beauty at the time that she compelled Mr. Mizrahi (a straight-size fashion designer, not at all known for adoring curvy women) to ad-lib the word “gorgeous,” when contemplating her appearance.





Jeanna Crawford: Penningtons video

Wilhelmina model Jeanna Crawford has never looked as gorgeous as she does headlining this Summer 2005 promotional video for Penningtons (Canada). She is joined by size-18 model Cathy and Maiysha for a “lifestyle”-themed video that constitutes one of the most remarkable records of plus-size beauty ever filmed.





Liis: Laura Plus video

Aficionados of timeless beauty will delight in seeing many tight close-ups of Liis’s decadently full facial features. Liis has always possessed one of the most gorgeous visages in the industry, and this video revels in her soft, rounded beauty. The video also gives viewers a good sense of what a fashion shoot is really like. Liis’s motions are very fluid and graceful. She moves languidly, without exertion, and proves to be just as sensual in her movements as she is in her still images. And there is something immensely agreeable about seeing an entire photographic team fawning over her—making sure that every tiny detail is perfect, and that she is presented in the best possible way. One thinks of a regal queen being primped and dressed by her attendants, or of a Classical goddess being worshipped by her priestesses. The Gothic setting certainly contributes to the timeless quality of the presentation, and the contemporary camera equipment in the background reminds the viewer that this is simply the 21st-century equivalent of a practice which is as old as civilization itself—the adornment and worship of beauty.





Kailee O’Sullivan: Ford promotional video

Kailee’s promotional video shows that this ebullient young model has a sparkling personality. She is the very embodiment of youthful joie de vivre. But the video also suggests a touch of roguishness about her, a “wow” quality that one usually only associates with straight-size models. And although she is only a size 12, her non-Amazonian stature (5'6½) enables her to present a very curvy aspect.





Crystal Renn: Ford promotional videos

Crystal has a way of looking at the viewer, of tossing her hair, that is utterly thrilling. She rivets your attention. You absolutely cannot take your eyes off of her. Her confidence pours forth from the video screen. And perhaps Crystal owes to her previous career as a straight-size model the fact that her runway walk is completely fluid and professional. Crystal has also recently filmed a second promotional video feature, which is viewable here





Liis: Ford promotional videos

Click image to play video

Liis’s new Ford video shows the model with a voluptuous hairstyle, and displaying the regal, vain attitude that fans admire so much. It also exhibits the beauty of her soft, rounded facial features, and shows the model doing her sinuous catwalk prowl. Fans may also wish to view Liis’s first Ford video, which reveals the model’s generous midriff, along with her third and most recent video, which also celebrates her curvaceous figure.





Tomi: Ford promotional video

The most popular plus-size models are invariably those who exhibit undeniably womanly figures—particularly generous midriffs—and Tomi’s very natural proportions (a wonderful 38c-36-46) contribute to the success of her promotional Ford video. The fact that she stands 5'8½ gives her a significant advantage over taller models, endowing her with a more distinctly curvaceous silhouette, and the visible softness of her figure gives her look an undeniable appeal. Add to that the fact that she has a winning camera presence, and that her "runway walk" is among the most accomplished of the various Ford girls, and the result is one of the 12+ division's better videos.





Valerie Lefkowitz: Today feature

Click the image to view Valerie's August 2002 appearance on the ''Today'' show

This video segment was originally broadcast on NBC’s Today show in August 2002, and comprised part of a report about junior plus-size fashion. It is such a delight to see a plus-size model on the runway, and to watch Valerie do a perfect pivot for the camera, her golden curls flying, will take your breath away. This was filmed at a time when Valerie had just become a size 14 (later, for a short period, she was even listed as a 14/16), and her face possessed that angelic fullness and roundness that is the epitome of timeless beauty. And because this is Valerie, whose posing abilities are second to none, she dazzles the camera with an array of captivating expressions. This video is a priceless record of Valerie’s beauty when she was fuller figured, and all plus-size model aficionados earnestly hope that she will become a true plus-size model again, someday.





Kate Dillon on PBS

Click the image to view a clip of Kate Dillon's appearance in ''Dying to be Thin''

This one-minute video presents the most positive excerpt from a 2000 PBS documentary titled Dying to be Thin, featuring Kate Dillon. The clip includes glimpses of Lane Bryant’s first-ever Cacique runway show, along with an affirmative voice-over by the model. Fans wishing to see Ms. Dillon’s complete screen time in this documentary can visit this page at PBS.org, which divides the film into several .mov clips. Kate appears partway through the second segment, “Cultural Pressures,” as well as partway through the final segment, “Road to Recovery.”





Kate Dillon on Good Morning America

Click the image to view Kate Dillon's fall 2002 appearance on ''Good Morning America''

This fall 2002 television appearance by Kate Dillon caused quite a sensation when it originally aired, due to the gorgeous styling, featuring Kate in an off-the shoulder top which was quite daring, for the time. The model’s fair features look lovely on film, although the public has ever preferred her with longer hair. This one-minute video is actually a splice of three separate clips: (a) an introduction, (b) Kate’s account of leaving minus-size modelling, and (c) her response to the query, “Is it hard to find fashionable clothing in plus sizes?”





Curvy Girl Clothing fashion show

Click to view

Although several U.S. and Italian companies have staged widely-publicized fashion shows, these have not been particularly size-positive or subversive, since the clients have restricted themselves to using faux-plus models. However, one retailer has demonstrated what a true plus-size fashion show should look like, and that is CurvyGirlClothing.com. Not all of the girls in this video of the company’s F/W 2007 event perform the runway walk equally well, but at least the entire show consists of visibly full-figured models, and the lead girl, Shannon, is particularly attractive, with a generous, shapely, unconstricted waist. What makes this event so successful is the fact that Curvy Girl Clothing selects models who are size 16 or better, and below 5'8 in height, meaning that each of the girls exhibits a luscious, womanly shape. This video provides a useful template for other plus-size retailers to follow when staging runway shows: Choose attractive and undeniably plus-looking models, dress them in curve-embracing, figure-revealing feminine fashions, and send them down the catwalk. The results will be astounding.





Tracie Stern: Runway show in Australia

This short video offers us a glimpse of Click/PB model Tracie Stern walking the catwalk during Australian Fashion Week. Her perfectly smooth pivot at the foot of the runway really is something to watch.





Valerie Lefkowitz: Fashion Bug video

Although the viewer is treated to only a few fleeting glimpses of Valerie Lefkowitz in this video, which accompanied Fashion Bug’s Winter 2004 campaign, it is well worth tuning in to see this surpremely talented “in action.” Her posing ability remains unsurpassed by any other model.





Maiysha, Crystal Renn: Lane Bryant video

This splendid behind-the-scenes look at Maiysha and Crystal Renn modelling Lane Bryant lingerie amply testifies to how much more attractive feminine unmentionables appear when they are showcased on models with soft, womanly curves, rather than on over-aerobicized faux-plus models. The unidentified Lane Bryant photographer in this video has a particular gift for shooting genuinely curvaceous models in attractive ways.





Natalie, Kati, Tomi: Catherines video

Although the clothing that is on display in this video is unremarkable at best, the clip offers viewers a look at several top plus-size models (Natalie Laughlin, Kati Kochanski, and Tomi) in the course of an actual fashion shoot. It is fascinating to observe their movements and expressions while they are in front of the photographer’s lens.





Curve film trailer

Official trailer for ''Curve''--a 2002 documentary feature about plus-size models

This dynamic trailer for the 2002 Curve documentary benefits as much from a soundtrack featuring the infectious, perpetually girlish voice of Belinda Carlise (who was, in her younger days, a goddess of the first order—the equal in beauty of any full-figured model) as it does from a cleverly-spliced montage of plus-size model images. The film itself is a visual treat, and its only shortcoming is that it does not feature many of the industry’s most popular stars.




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PAGE CREATED 2005.07.14