A few months ago I wrote about a competition that was running on Instagram to find the next plus size supermodel. The search was run by Models 1 in conjunction with SLiNK magazine and denim brand Beauty in Curves and wannabe models were invited to submit a selfie with the hashtag #MakeMeAModels1Curvy.
The level of interest was unprecedented – nearly 6000 hopefuls uploaded their photos to Instagram (that’s 3000 more entries than last year’s Models 1 ‘straight size’ search) so it was tough for the judges to narrow it down to a shortlist, let alone a final winner who is... Simone Charles! 20 year old student Simone won a contract with Models 1, the cover of the August issue of SLiNK and is now the face of Beauty in Curves denim.
I asked SLiNK editor Rivkie Baum how they came to make their final decision and what’s next for Simone. "It was so hard to choose a winner, we were so impressed with all the girls but Simone really stood out for everyone on the panel, she has absolute killer curves and will make a perfect SLiNK cover girl and a great frontwoman for the next Beauty in Curves campaign."
"We're really excited that we found some great runners up too - who'd have thought that Instagram could've found the next curvy superstar. We will be whisking Simone away for a gorgeous swimwear and high summer fashion shoot - we can't wait!"
Londoner Simone is 5ft 10 and has a classic size 18 hourglass figure. The psychology student was bullied at school for being taller and bigger than her peers, but her natural confidence saw her through and even landed her a part as an extra in Harry Potter.
Models 1 said of their newest signing: “Simone’s Instagram pictures were great but the moment she walked in we knew we had found someone special with real star quality. There has never been a better time to be a curvy model. Demand for our curvy girls just keeps growing and it is not just the size 12, 14 and 16’s that in are in demand, brands are looking for size 18 and 20 curves. We were so impressed by the calibre of girls that made it through to the final and we really look forward to developing Simone’s modelling career”.
Alice Dogruyol, Founder of Beauty in Curves added, “When I created BC Jeans I had a body just like Simone’s in mind, a beautifully curvy hourglass figure. I am thrilled to have found such a gorgeous woman and can’t wait to shoot her wearing BC Jeans. The fashion and media industries have been dominated by one ideal for so long and it is time for more diverse body shapes to be admired. Thankfully there seems to be a really positive international shift in attitudes happening”.
And it’s not just Simone who’ll be taking her first steps in the plus size modelling world – the competition’s runner-up, Lucinda Warby, has also been signed by Models 1 and two other women from the final 12 are having further meetings with the agency.
Fashion is always going to be about escapism, fantasy and aspiration and I have no problem with that, but that does
mean that it has to be restricted to a narrow, single definition of beauty. Competitions like this one will hopefully encourage the industry to recognise that there is beauty in diversity and that’s what consumers really want.