First it was Crystal Renn, then Marquita Pring, and now Candice Huffine is the latest plus model poised to break the mold. She recently landed the cover of Vogue Italia, a milestone considering the cover featured three plus-size models without designating them as “curvy” or “plus,” and makes a stunning appearance in W’s September issue. Just this morning, W‘s new fashion director Edward Enninful Tweeted “I am loving Candice Huffine @FordModels @models. So beautiful xoxo,” which makes us think we might be seeing Huffine in another issue of W in the near future.
We chatted with the model on the rise about her recent successes, her take on size in the fashion industry, and whether she’s ever had to pad for jobs.
Fashionista: How does it feel to be in the all-important September issue for the fashiony-est of mainstream glossies, W? What was the shoot like?
When the shock of the shoot wears off maybe I can express what I’m feeling! It’s just beyond special and I feel honored to have been chosen and everyday I shake my head and giggle a little at how much has changed for me recently. Like Vogue, shooting with Meisel and his team is like a fairy tale…the most beautiful clothing, the nicest people, a calm set where you just know the end product is going to be nothing short of spectacular. I feel so lucky.
And how did it feel to land the cover of Vogue Italia–especially without any modifiers like “curvy issue”?
It felt like what I’ve been waiting for my entire life! When you are a model the default statement of really making it is always “One day when I’m on the cover of Vogue…” but it’s almost like saying “One day when I’m President…”! You dream so big but you are never sure you are going to make it there. When I actually saw myself I stopped dead in the streets of London alone and screamed. It actually happened. I did it. I’ve been working hard for over a decade and this was a moment where I feel like a lot of us plus models sighed a breath of relief, like, “YAY, its happening!!!”
In light of your recent high fashion editorials, do you feel like the industry is changing towards acceptance of different body shapes without relegating them to a “size issue”?
Oh yes! I even expressed my thanks on the set of the W shoot saying how great I thought it was that I was being put in the mix of these women (AMAZING women, hello!) without any subtext. No special headline to show that I was the curvy exception…just a fall fashion story.
Marquita Pring has said that she doesn’t like the phrase “plus size” and prefers “curvy.” Does the label make you cringe? Do you have a preference?
Well I think too many people offended by the word plus on either side of the aisle. Women who are different shapes either embrace or demonize the term, when in reality, it’s an archaic term that companies used when “Plus” clothing was just a few racks in the back of the store. Used, I suppose, to differentiate as you would the “Petite” section and I guess it just stuck when it came to sorting the size 2 models for the 12′s. If we could come up with a better name I’m all for it…being called just a model would be nice.
In an interview with WWD Pring also talked about having to pad–have you ever had to pad for jobs? Does that happen often?
I personally have never padded, but it is requested often to have just in case by clients. And it’s not about creating an image that doesn’t exist or pulling a fast one on the consumer–we are all Plus at the end of the day–sometimes padding is just needed to fill out certain parts of a sample that fits fine naturally, but the camera has picked up a wrinkle or gape in the fabric. It’s not used because we are liars about our size, it’s just to make the clothes look as great as possible.
What’s the best part of your job?
The people- everyday a different person, a new personality, a new challenge. I enjoy learning new things from the people I work with. We are all so different but at the end of the day it really feels like the fashion industry is one big, wild family.
What would your dream job be?
A makeup campaign!! That and working with the team that I just got to shoot Italian Vogue and W with–so there is one spectacular dream come true down!
The modeling industry industry (the straight side–if we have to call it that) takes a lot of heat for promoting an unhealthy body image and there’s always talk of eating disorders–have you seen that side of it? How do you stay positive?
The girls on the straight side do not all have disorders and I’m sure they spend a lot of time defending that just as we do stating over and over that we don’t sit around and eat McDonald’s on a daily basis. Some bodies just are the way they are. Period. With that said, I don’t know a ton about the “straight size” world. I was signed as a plus model always from the start. I do vividly remember being told by an agency at an open call that I would need to lose 20 pounds from my lean/athletic body to be signed and thankfully my 14-year-old mind knew that wasn’t the place for me if that was the case. I ended up signed as a plus model later that day. My story really is that I don’t have one. I’m a happy, confident and naturally positive person with a family who comes from the South and loves to cook. Denying myself meals was just never an option!
Funniest fashion mishap?
No mishaps surprisingly! No hilarious or embarrassing runway tumbles, knock on wood. I was, for the first time ever recently, a bumblebee, a zombie bride, a flight attendant and kitten all is one day. I did my first Halloween shoot and was thinking “From W to Bumblebee, what a funny industry.” There is always something new and fun to look forward to with every shoot. In fact, I’d like to add that to question six- the best part is also being something new on a daily basis. Dressing up and being a character. Transforming.
What’s your beauty regimen–since you’re going to land that makeup campaign? How do you keep your skin and body at their best?
A ton of water and a ton of moisturizer. I had awful acne about five years back and need to be extremely careful with products because of it. Regular facials helps rejuvenate me after being clogged with makeup but really, even though it’s been said a million times before, water is the best cure for the body.