How to Become a

Plus-Size Model

The complete career guide to be a Plus-Size Model: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $37,240
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute

Plus-size models are fashion and clothing models that pose for photographs for clothing retailers like Lane Bryant that specialize in plus-size clothing. Plus-size models are also increasingly being employed for more traditional modeling opportunities to prove that you don’t need to be thin to be beautiful.

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What is a Plus-Size Model?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in plus-size model roles:

  • Pose for photographs for a variety of mediums, wearing the new styles for the season
  • Alter facial expressions, poses, and gestures to capture the impression the photographer or designer is aiming for
  • Sit for hair styling and makeup application prior to photo shoots and fashion shows
  • Maintain a portfolio and composite card, and actively seek new modeling opportunities

A Day in the Life of a Plus-Size Model

For a long time, plus-size modeling opportunities were rare, and were generally found only through clothing retailers like Lane Bryant that specialize in producing plus-sized clothing. However, in recent years, women have grown tired of being held to an unreasonable standard of perfection displayed by the proportions of traditional models, so plus-sized models are finding more opportunities with retailers who used to exclusively employ very tall, very thin models to showcase their new fashions.

Plus-size models typically pose for photographs for clothing retailers and manufacturers to show off the new styles of the season in catalogs, commercials, magazine and online advertisements, and on websites. Models have their makeup applied and hair fixed prior to photo shoots, then they pose and alter their facial expressions in order to assist photographers in capturing the perfect shot that creates the desired impression. The goal is to entice consumers to purchase the new clothing styles by showing how good the plus-sized model looks while wearing the apparel.

While modeling is the goal of plus-sized models, a significant percentage of their work is dedicated to finding new opportunities. Most companies switch their models out each time a new line of clothing is released, so plus-sized models are always seeking their next job opportunity. They often work with agencies that help them find work, but they may also spend a lot of time collecting images, crafting their portfolios, creating composite cards, and networking with clients to find new modeling jobs.

Typical Work Schedule for Plus-Sized Models

There is no set schedule for working as a plus-sized model. At times, models work much more than 40 hours a week; other times they may have little work and work only part-time hours. Photo shoots may require long hours that begin in the morning and extend into the late evening, and travel is often required to meet with clients or sit for photo shoots in different cities.

Projected Job Growth for Plus-Size Models

Clothing retailers are increasingly showcasing alternative models in their ads, product shots, and branding in order to cater to the new opinion that traditional models create an unachievable standard of perfection. Brands like Kohl’s, Aerie, Dove, and Old Navy are among the many that have featured plus-sized models in their campaigns in recent years, and have received high praise from the public. These successes should drive an increased demand for plus-size models in the coming decade.

Typical Employers

For the most part, plus-sized models are self-employed, though they typically have contracts with agencies that help them find and secure work for a percentage of the amount of money made on jobs. Their clients are most often clothing retailers and manufacturers.

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How To Become a Plus-Size Model

While there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a model, taking modeling classes through a trade college or modeling agency can be beneficial when preparing to find work in the field. The benefit of attending a modeling school is that you learn how to pose, how to walk on a catwalk correctly, and how to alter your facial expression to inspire different feelings in viewers. Modeling schools can also help aspiring models build portfolios, and help them find agencies to represent them.

While modeling school can be beneficial for refining your modeling skills and beginning to network with connections in the industry, often the biggest requirement is meeting the aesthetic needs of clients. Clients will often be seeking a certain look, looking for models that meet certain height and weight requirements, or that have facial structures and features that capture attention and drive intrigue. For this reason, it’s possible for certain models to find work with no formal experience or training.

Finding a modeling agency may be important to your success in working as a plus-size model. While it’s possible to find work as a model without an agency, most clients prefer working with agencies, so not having an agency could limit your potential job opportunities. Before choosing a modeling agency, it’s important to do research and find reputable agencies. Unfortunately, many modeling agencies take advantage of their clients by charging high fees and producing dissatisfactory results, providing few jobs.

Plus-Size Model Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Plus-Size Model salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Plus-Size Model's can make an average annual salary of $37,240, or $18 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,780 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #579 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Plus-Size Models

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 2.4%   Masters
  • 18.4%   Bachelors
  • 8.8%   Associates
  • 27.6%   College
  • 30.7%   High School
  • 11.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Plus-Size Model job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of --- jobs for a total of 5,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a --- change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #594 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Plus-Size Models

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Clothing stores 2,700 -300 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; private 1,000 --- 0%
Self-employed workers 500 --- ---

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