I’m 5’5” and a size 6, with a not-insignificant ass. I don’t see many models out there who look like me. In fact, very few women–no matter what their sizes–probably see themselves reflected in the ads we’re bombarded with every single day. There seem to be two distinct types of models–the traditional beanpole “straight size” fashion model, and the zaftig hourglass on the plus-size end of the spectrum.
When these two worlds collide, as they did recently in a controversial editorial that appeared in the online publication, PLUS Model Magazine (wherein a plus-size and straight size model were shown naked and embracing), one gets a sense of how emotionally charged this issue can be. Women on both sides of the scale’s needle feel attacked for being too big or too small. But what about those who fall somewhere in between?
Katie Halchishick, 26, has been working as a plus-size model since she was discovered at 17, being repped along the way by agencies like Wilhelmina and Ford. We caught up with Halchishick, who was recently featured on ABC News for her campaign “Healthy is the New Skinny,” to hear her story.
After being signed as a plus-size model as a teenager, Halchishick’s agency told her she could work more if she gained weight–and she obliged (unwittingly) by gaining the freshman 15–or 20 in her case–after starting at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She hit a max of 200 pounds (size 14), and worked the most she ever would as a model, often banking six figures in a year. Then she met her boyfriend, who’s a physical trainer.
Halchishick ended up losing 50 pounds–and subsequently all her modeling clients–when she got down to 145 and a size 8. She was left with a few lingerie clients and doing commercials for diet pills. “As I got smaller I had to wear fat suits and padding, and that worked [keeping clients] for a while,” she told me. At this point her agency told her if she got down to a size 4, they could probably find her some commercial modeling work. Halchishick hated how she looked and felt, and is now holding steady somewhere in between her highest and lowest weight. And she’s now on a mission.
Katie ended up leaving her last agency and started her own about a year ago, called Natural Model Management. Its goal is to promote the mantra “Healthy is the new skinny” and many of the girls who the agency reps are in traditional modeling no-man’s-land: sizes 6-10. Is this a revolutionary idea?