Wondering how to compete in a plus size model search? Learn from my experience as one of Ashley Stewart’s Houston Top 12.

How to Compete in a Plus Size Model Search

Written by sarahjanereign

Happy Monday, honeybees! It’s been a minute, but I’m here today to tell you how to compete in a plus size model search. About a month ago, I placed as one of the Top 12 finalists in Ashley Stewart’s Houston branch of the #FindingAshleyStewart #LoveYourCurves tour. This is a nationwide search with multiple stops, where hundreds of women compete to be the next face of Ashley Stewart. Although I didn’t get chosen to move onto the final round, I did pick up some helpful tips that I’m happy to share with you.

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practice makes perfect

If I could go back and redo the competition, I’d put more practice into my efforts. It was kind of a last minute decision to try out, and I never thought I’d actually place, so I wasn’t going in with a lot of preparation. Wondering what to practice? Here are my top three suggestions:

  • Poses
  • Answering pageant questions
  • Walking in heels

You will be posing. A lot. After awhile, you’re going to get sick of seeing yourself in whatever your default pose is (mine is one hand on the hip, seen below). I like to draw inspiration from others, so I suggest doing a bit of research. Look at your favorite bloggers (Nadia Aboulhosn has some killer poses), look at print ads or catalogs. Practice in the mirror. You’ll feel ridiculous, but you’ll thank yourself later.

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The pageantry of the model searches was something I didn’t anticipate, but it definitely makes sense. These brands are searching through potentially thousands of women to find the new face of their brand – they need someone who isn’t just pretty, but relatable and a good representation of their message, as well. You’ll be asked about how the brand has impacted you, who influences you, what you do for a living, and, of course, why you’re the best choice. Be confident, be graceful, and be yourself. Authenticity is key!

Walking in heels might be a given to you, but it certainly wasn’t to me. When I earned my spot as a finalist, I rocked the heck out of my wedges. And when I was told I needed to bring black shoes, nude shoes and a colorful option, I thought, “no problem!” I brought wedges in every shade under the sun. And one pair of very short block heels. The next morning, when everyone had stilettos or real heels of some sort except me, it threw me for a loop. They let me get away with wearing the short block heels, but I felt a little less confident because I didn’t follow the instructions correctly. Whoops! I went out the very next day and bought standard pairs of black and nude heels for future runway events (I’ve used them several times since then, and they’re honestly just as comfortable as my beloved wedges).

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Special thank you to the Franklin Hair Institute, celeb hair stylist Tasheara Neshell and Creme of Nature for helping to make this event so wonderful!

all eyes on you

I can say with confidence that when you’re doing a model search, someone is always paying attention. So, in a sense, you always have to be “on.” This should go without saying, but make sure you’re friendly to everyone. If you’re an introvert, try to at least say thank you and show how excited you are to be there. If there’s a runway portion, be an active crowd participant while you wait your turn and work the crowd when it’s your time to shine. Build others up. Smile! It will all be noticed. 

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don’t forget about the journey

Yes, I know that the modeling portion and the interview is what you think you’re there for. But at the end of the day, you have to remember that’s not the only “prize” you can win. There are amazing people to meet and networking to be done. In fact, I’ve made so many lifelong connections from this one event, I’m really glad I took the step outside of my comfort zone. No, I won’t be the 2017 Face of Ashley Stewart, but here’s what that one competition opened the door to in the last four weeks alone: collaborative blogger shoots, professional studio work, earned brand ambassador opportunities, a guest speaker keynote speech, and even a spot in a commercial! 

Since then, I’ve seen the value in networking and I’ve struck up conversations with many who turned out to be hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers, boutique owners, etc. who I hope to partner with in the future. You just never know what doors might open when you put yourself out there!

I hope that this blog post will be helpful to anyone who has been wondering how to compete in a plus size model search. Of course, I don’t have a ton of experience, but I’m happy to answer whatever questions you may have (to the best of my ability). Always feel free to shoot me an email or reach out on Instagram or Facebook! Until next time, divas.

For more beautiful spring and summer pieces seen here, check out the full collection from Ashley Stewart.

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