It’s model, not plus-size model

Noor Ashouri

Robyn Lawley on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.  Photo courtesy of Facebook.
Robyn Lawley on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

One word comes to mind when looking at a picture of supermodel Robyn Lawley walking up the beach in a printed bikini: hot — no, wait, two words: ridiculously hot.

This is one of many swimsuit-clad shots of Lawley featured in Cosmopolitan Australia. Pictures of the photo shoot on the Cosmopolitan website featured the headline “Looking Good: Plus Size Supermodel Robyn Lawley Models Her Own Swimwear.”

I can only draw my attention to “plus-size.”

I looked at the supermodel’s pictures over and over again making sure I wasn’t too distracted by her beauty to miss her size. The supermodel looks like she could be your gym buddy, with tone and curves in all the right places. She also looks like someone who would gladly split a slice of cheesecake with you. She looks healthy.

Apparently others also agree.

One comment online under the article read, “This shouldn’t be plus size…it should be healthy size! Wtf.” Agreed, what the — never mind.

Another comment read, “If that’s plus size, then I must be a whale.”

Cosmopolitan acknowledged she looks hot, but that’s hard to deny. If the word plus-size hadn’t been so prominent in the headline, I wouldn’t have thought to describe her as anything but a model.

In the society we live in, we can’t pretend the word “plus-size” doesn’t have a negative connotation. I’ve always thought of plus-size has the softened, nicer version of the word “fat.”  And even though that’s not correct, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done so.

Last I checked we didn’t have “super-tiny” models or “super-tall” models. The word “plus-size” detracts from her original intention. Models are models.

Lawley herself is sick of it.

“I don’t think anyone should be called plus-size,” Lawley said in an interview with Clique Magazine. “I think it’s derogatory to anyone — it’s a label.”

That is why the supermodel doesn’t want the word anywhere near her new swimsuit line. The line runs in U.S. sizes 8-18. Lawley doesn’t consider this plus-size.

“You know, we’re not plus-sized girls, we’re normal-sized girls,” Lawley said in an article on Fashionista.

Lawley is labeled plus-size because she’s a size 12. To put this in comparison, Christina Hendricks of Mad Men is a size 14, according to BBC News. Kate Upton is a U.K. size 12, the equivalence of a U.S. size eight, according to an interview in Vogue Magazine. The average size of an American woman is 14, according to Houston-based Plunkett Research.

The book Complete Guide for Models: Inside Advice from Industry Pros by Eric Bean and Jenni Bidner offers insight on models’ sizes. “The preferred size is determined by what size the designers are cutting their sample clothing to.” In the 1980s this was a size six.

In 2004, this was a size 0-2. This translates to 5-foot-11 and 100 pounds.

Those numbers aren’t healthy. They aren’t natural for most women. They shouldn’t be what we are comparing ourselves to or what we aspire to be.

The more staggering numbers I see, the more I appreciate Lawley’s efforts to redefine beauty.

Lawley’s approach is refreshing and contagious.

American Eagle launched an Aerie Real Campaign for their lingerie line. The pictures haven’t been photo-shopped, leaving things like stretch marks, tattoos, fat, etc. visible, according to an article in Time Magazine.

“They are still models, they just look a little more like the rest of us,” said Aerie brand representative Jenny Altman in an interview on Good Morning America. “We hope by embracing this that real girls everywhere will start to embrace their own beauty.”

That’s the way to sell a product, showing you don’t need to be on a juice diet two months in advance just to be able to wear it.

Lawley looks like every girl’s ideal best friend and every guy’s ideal girlfriend. She looks confident. She looks healthy. And healthy is sexy.

Email Noor Ashouri at [email protected]