Media has been a representation of the world that we live in. Whether it is movies, shows, series or even commercials, the media touches every aspect of our lives right from clothing to political setting.
For years, the media has been dominated by a certain section of society. There has been very little representation of different people whether it is the LGBTQ community or fuller bodies.
For many years, thin or petite women have been lead actresses, role models and even shown in many commercials.
The problem arises when little girls or even grown women see these images repeatedly. It forms a negative impact on them leading them to believe that they are not thin enough or good enough.
In a setup like this, the induction of plus size models in this world of glamour and glitz has brought many curvaceous women to the front stage and given many girls role models that look more like them.
One such inspiring and beautiful plus size model is Candice Huffine. Candice Huffine was a city girl who was brought up in a small town just outside of Washington DC called Maryland, Candice Huffine is one of the few plus size models who wanted to do this right from the beginning.
Candice always dreamed of growing up to be a supermodel and did everything she could to propel this career forward. She participated in pageants as a teenager and she even took on cheerleading in school.
She distinctly remembers daydreaming about someone walking up to her and saying “Now, tomorrow we are going to take your photo for a magazine”.
Her ambitions as a child included featuring on the catalog of Sears and she remembers thinking that was a big goal to achieve! She won a beauty pageant meanwhile and was termed beauty queen in her teens.
Her dreams did come true when she was at a pageant at the tender age of fifteen. One of the audience members suggested she visit a modeling agency in New York.
After hearing this, Huffine and her mother took a two-day trip to New York and visited about a dozen modeling agencies and were rejected by all.
All except one company that had just opened a plus size division. Huffine was a size 8 at the time, which would make her a perfect fit.
Huffine also remembers being surprised by this. She was never aware of this label and was not even aware that it existed.
She and her mom used to shop at a different section in the store but she never really paid attention to it. Her mother who was also a size 14, never made her daughter feel embarrassed or ashamed of her size and hence Candice Huffine grew up unaware of the label she now represents.
Candice was not even intimidated by the portrayal of women in media and did not think much of the numerous size zero models that walked the ram at that time.
She does remember gravitating more towards women with a fuller figure such as Laetitia Casta. She says that she did not understand the need to have a different label and a different division in the modeling agency for her size.
She believed that this label was just another excuse for discrimination between the average-looking women who are underrepresented in the media and this false ideal of beauty.
She started working in the year 2000 when she bagged her first commercial. There was little representation of women of her size back then and hence this made a big change in the industry.
She is one of the very few models who have crossed the bridge from commercials to high fashion when most plus size models have gone the other way around.
When Huffine joined the industry eighteen years ago, there were not many labels that were making plus size clothing and not many wanted a woman of her size to walk their runaway.
This is why Candice says that even though she has been working for eighteen years now, only the last decade really counts. She spent eight years going from one label to another in search of a brand that was willing to make her their face.
She was a plus size model with nothing to model! The few brands that did make plus size clothing were selling more conservative clothes for older women such as pantsuits and did not want to work with Candice as she was young and did not have the face or the stature to represent these lines.
The worst part of it was being a plus size model that got rejected from makeup castings. Since commercials, tutorials or even pictures that showcase beauty products do not concentrate on the body, and yet Candice was rejected because of her face.
She was outraged by this as everyone wears makeup and her exclusion from this industry did not make sense.
Her career did take a leap when she started working for big brands that had finally understood the needs of women and designed plus size clothing. Some of these names include Harper’s Bazaar, CR Fashion Book and W.
She also bagged a campaign from Lane Bryant. Yet the discrimination did not stop. Candice Huffine was body-shamed despite being one of the best plus size models.
She had difficulty finding designers that would dress her. Many designers would say that they would love to work with her but would not be able to produce a sample dress in her size in time for the red carpet.
She believes that designers need to be more aware of the changes around them and should include plus size models in their designs.
They should design dresses with sample sizes that go up to 14. This will help many other beautiful plus size models to approach designers.
The most surprising thing about the fashion industry is that it instilled the guilt and body shaming in Candice after she joined the fashion world.
She was a confident teenager who had never seen her size as an issue and did not feel different or less than any woman in the industry or around her. Yet, she found herself apologizing for size when she could not fit into the samples at the photoshoots.
She would often find herself saying sorry when she could not fit into those clothes which is strange because the clothes were there for her. They should fit her and not the other way around.
This is the thought that has motivated her to speak about the bias in the fashion industry for against plus size models and to preach self-love and acceptance.
She is a very vocal part of the body positivity movement and she proved that not all plus size models who are shamed for their size and their unhealthy lifestyle are in fact unhealthy.
She ran two 700-mile marathons in a single year, proving that she is fitter than most models would be. She wants to address the myth that every person who works out does it to lose weight.
Candice Huffine along with many other plus size models such as Ashley Graham have spoken up about this issue.
She wants to send out a message that suggests that every person should work out for health and fitness and not because they want to look a certain way.
She says that since there are multiple ads and headlines saying that you can lose 15 pounds in so and so days it really sends a negative message across and motivates women to think that there is something wrong with their body and that they should change it as fast as possible.
This is only pushing more women towards guilt and other extreme illnesses such as bulimia. With the increase in the influence of media and especially social media, women are pushed to do better and look better often at the risk of their personal health.
Candice believes that more women need to understand that there does not have to be a relation between working out and losing weight.
She goes on to say that there are several reasons because of which she runs and none of them involve changing her body.
This is a message that she proudly supports and urges many women across the globe to do the same.
She has also done exceptionally well in her Lane Bryant campaign that targeted misogynistic companies like Victoria’s Secret whose runaway has looked the same with similar unhealthily frail models walking the ramp.
With the increasing backlash against Victoria’s Secret to adapt to change Lane Bryant launched a campaign called #ImNoAngel.
This campaign included Candice Huffine along with many other beautiful plus size models.
Candice has also walked the runaway for some notable designers that include Prabal Gurung, SophieTheallet and Christian Siriano. In, addition to this her accolades also include her Calendar shoot.
Candice was the first plus size model to feature in the Pirelli Calendar in the year 2015.
Huffine admits that while not all days are rays of sunshine she is more confident in her body and she is done apologizing for it.
She does not care if her body is termed as too big or too small or if she is labeled as one of the plus size models or not.
She says she will never be taken for granted because her body is strong, powerful and unstoppable. This is the confidence that oozes from her when you see her photographs.
Candice Huffine is easily one of the most noteworthy plus size women out there!