Models

Where are all the Plus-Size Models in Nigeria?

I have always wondered why there are only a few plus-size models in Nigeria’s modeling industry. Nigeria is in West Africa and the definition of beauty greatly differs from that in Western nations, so why does the modeling industry not reflect the society it is situated in?

Before I go on, let me define what a plus-size model is. Plus size models are also known as “full-figured models,” “extended-sizes model,” and “outsize model”.

A good working definition comes from Wikipedia which defines  a plus-size model as “a person who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engage in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore, plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.”

This is in contrast to the  skinny models used in Nigeria. In fact, Nigeria has the epitome of what the ideal model looks like, thanks to the successful Nigerian model Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi. Oluchi has walked the runways in many countries in and out of Africa and now has her own agency called O Model Africa. Oluchi is skinny and has a thin frame with a size/frame that fits the American and European model industry standards of size 2-6. The question though is, is Oluchi and other skinny models (aka Lepas) like her the only standard of beauty in Nigeria’s modeling industry that  should be used in Nigeria? (If most Nigerian women are not a size 2-6, why create an image for them to attain that they cannot? Is this the launch of body image issues for young Nigerian girls to come?)

There is a huge market for plus size models in Nigeria and, all over Africa for that matter, plus sizes ranging from 10-14. Even Western nations are also now valuing plus-size models’ so why is Nigeria where a larger percentage of the women are plus size, not doing the same?

For example, according to the same Wikipedia, “Fashion designers are starting to look more closely at the earning potential from plus-size clothing, and have used plus-size models for their advertising campaigns and catwalks. Jean-Paul Gaultier and John Galliano both used plus-size models in their Spring 2006 showings in Paris. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual prêt-à-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fast andWilliam Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Weekshowings for Spring 2009, and again as part of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk event held on September 19, 2009 in association with the British Fashion Council.”

So this makes me wonder why Nigeria’s modeling industry is not embracing plus-size models. One reason I have heard is that of acceptance in the industry. Indeed the lack of acceptance is why “The International Fuller Woman Network” was created to connect initiatives around the world that support the size acceptance and plus empowerment movement.” This network has also forged partnership with Big Sister Magazine in Nigeria which is the only “one of its kind that is published in Nigeria and West Africa.” This magazine aims to improve confidence by “encouraging the plus size woman to look fabulous and as such, features some of the best and outfits from the plus size wardrobe…” (http://bigsistermagazine.blogspot.com/)

The average Nigerian woman, for the most part, is a “real” African woman. She isn’t skinny and shapeless. She is a woman with curves and great assets in the backside and the bust. (So, if Nigerian corporate companies are hiring models to sell their products to the average Nigerian woman, shouldn’t they be using plus size models just as much as they use skinny models, if not more?)

Also, most African men, if not all, appear to desire these kinds of average plus-size women. So, if the average Nigerian woman is desired and continues to be desired, increasingly, by Nigerian and African men, why isn’t the plus size model industry introduced into the Nigerian market? (Have you seen Nollywood movies lately? Name one skinny actress you know. Most of them are plump compared to their Hollywood counterparts. If Nollywood is not changing the standard of beauty in Nigeria and is comfortable exporting that to the world, why is Nigeria’s fashion industry insisting only on the Lepa shandis (skinny women?))

The definition of a skinny model came from the West because of its culture and foods. Nigerian/African culture is different. As the industry is still in its infancy state, perhaps a (more expanded view of beauty) is needed that caters to its citizens, its culture and customs.

I’m just wondering and saying, where are all the plus-size models in Nigeria?

What do you guys think? Please share your thoughts.

-Priscilla Bamfo
-Photocredit: Curvyspot/ Model Toccara Jones, Former America’s Next Top Model Contestant

Ladybrille Magazine

Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.

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20 Comments

  1. edokpayi Kimberly says:

    Hi, im a plus size girl,size 16 for skirt and gown size, age 21, in my 300 level studying economics based both in Lagos and Benin…i hope to be a plus size model and show my facial beauty to the world. Please help and build something out of me

  2. onwughalu queen says:

    07069772492. Dat is my phone no,the above name is my facebook name. Am interested in modeling chk my body size through my facebook picture and get back to me if am accepted

  3. Please sir, I’m a plus sized girl, who has dreams nd aspiration of becoming a picture modeling star. I ve got all it takesto be one of u. I really look. Foward in getting a positive reply from ur great agency. Here re my contact sir: 08165147495,08089548574, my BBM pin,20c7d26d, [email protected]. Face book I’d: ugorji kelechi. Thnks.

    1. Ladybrille Magazine says:

      We are not a modeling agency.

  4. kemi says:

    Am very intrested if its stil on and possible. 07067606551. thanks

  5. onabamiro omobolajoko says:

    hi I’m plus sized too n will like to be a run way model or a face model. contact me on 08099683075

  6. EMILIA ILECHUKWU .31 july 2013 says:

    I’m really not happy with scarcity of plus sized modellin industry,I av always dreamt of been a plus sized model and would be very gald if my dreamz comes 2 past..I nid 2 b linked so contact m 08064898888.thankx

  7. Angel says:

    Email: [email protected]. I know how to walk the run way, how to smile and the pose. Please I look forward to hearing from you.

  8. Angel says:

    For long I have prayed for this opportunity, all my friends are skinny and are models, they make fun of me being a fat person and also with boobs. I really hope that my request to become a model is granted favourable. Thanks here are my contact info: 08104203199, 07084829340. Email: [email protected].

  9. please i really want to model 4 a company that dealz wit plus sized ladies….. ma number is 08169755972…. i really want to show out ma beautiful skin 2 d work and ma sexy face…. i do solemli wish dat ma offer will b accepted and i would b given a quick response… im indeed very gr8ful 4 all d help and 4 ur respectable n beloved reply… thank U.

  10. MATINLUCKY says:

    AM A MALE….ND WANNA B A MODEL TALL BOUT 5FT 11INCHES HAV GOT D CHARISMA,AM HANDSON MUSCULAR WIT D 6PACKS…PLS CALL DIS NUM;08132423883

  11. aliona says:

    all my friends are size fives and am being laughed at because am a little bit bigger than them,as a matter of fact,am a perfect model and i love myself and wish to be a model because i have got all it takes to be one.A i really want to prove my friends wrong.this is my number 07060767625 and 07038471274.thanks.

  12. Ita says:

    thank you. I was saying the same thing today, the market for plus size is growing in UK and US, even Models 1 agency in UK merged with a plus size agency in UK. There are competitions coming up everyday for plus size ladies on the International level but the nigerian modelling industry is being very stereotypical and is not embracing nature. Africans are the ones with the flesh and in my opinion, there should be more plus size competitions and plus size agencies in Nigeria and Africa than any other place

  13. Khadeejah kuforiji says:

    Hi,am a plus size nd also a make up artist, nd would like to model. Contact Info:08156602735,[email protected]

  14. vina ishaku says:

    would really want to model, am beautiful, intelligent, tall, chocolate and medium size with the ryt curve! Please if there’s vacancy for a plus size models you guys can contact me on 08167770781,08189746347. Email,[email protected] Thanks!

  15. hi,im ibukun aka sexy biggy.im very proud to be a plus size model and in addition to that i just won d 3rd runner up in d nigeria big and beautiful organised by gee-swill global company.i will really like to work wit u and to model for more companies.dis is my no +2348068243109 or +2348189065631.hope to hear from u soon

  16. chichi says:

    hi
    i wonder at the scarcity of plus size modelling companies or plus size models.i am very well interested in plus size modelling ,as it has been something i’ve been wanting to do.i am 5ft 10″ and US size 10.

  17. TOLULOPE says:

    IT IS VERY TRUE THAT WE HAVE ONLY FEW PLUS SIZED MODELS IN NIGERIA. I HAPPEN TO BE ONE OF THEM. MOST PEOPLE THAT FALL INTO SUCH CATEGORY, FIND IT HARD TO SEEK OPORTUNITIES FOR FEAR OF BEING LAUGHED AT OR CALLED A FATTY, BIGGY, OR ANY OTHER OF SUCH NAMES. BUT BELIEVE ME, IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY, WE WILL SHINE TO THE VERY TOP. I AM LOOKING FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE A MODEL, I AM 5 FT 6 AND LIGHT SKINNED AND ALSO VERY GOOD LOOKING WITH THE IDEAL SHAPE. ANY AGENCY OR PERSON WILLING TO HELP BRING OUT THE MODEL IN ME, SHLD CALL 08101071915 OR EMAIL [email protected] plus i am also open to ushering jobs and others in the category

  18. Chychy Bazunu says:

    please am a girl looking for an opportunity to model. Am very Pretty, 5.3ft tall. Please i really need someone to link me up. Did my phone number;+2347037431147

  19. motun says:

    well,am a plus size lady and i believe the modelling industry should try and have plus size modelling agency and fashion show for plus size women because big is beautiful also to make plus size women feel beautiful in their body and not try all pill just because they are trying to fit in.

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