Back in January, model Victoria Summer Whetzel and I were both fashion show judges for PLITZS Fashion Marketing’s Model of the Year competition. I admire how sincere she is. First off, she had a really cute Betsey Johnson telephone purse which has a removable phone set handle that plugs into her cellphone. Basically, her purse can turn into a working phone. How cool? But in all seriousness, Victoria is a really sweet and down to earth model.
During the competition, she pointed something out to me that I didn’t realize. For the Model of the Year competition, there were 3 categories – petite female models, male models and 5’8″ female models. She mentioned how PLITZS Fashion Marketing didn’t have a plus-size category for curvy models to compete in. As a curvy model, Victoria hopes that the next year’s PLITZS Fashion Marketing’s competition will have a plus-size/curvy category.
Jenny A. (Me) : When you were a judge at the PLITZS Fashion Marketing competition, what were you looking for in each of the model candidates?
Victoria Summer Whetzel: I was mostly looking for someone who could command the space as soon as they hit the runway. This is the modeling industry, so everyone is beautiful. But I believe the standard of beauty is changing. It’s more than a pretty face and a physique that lives up to society’s standards. Beauty is taking care of yourself and being proud of who you are. Beauty is being able to walk a runway and silence a room by your presence. Beauty is being kind to others and being kind to yourself. That’s what I look for in a model.
Me: Is there something you are looking to see more of on the runway? A specific look, personality, walk…etc?
Victoria: I would love to see more plus-size and curvy models of course. Models like Ashley Graham, Denise Bidot and SO many more. Plus-Side models are body activists and I think their activism has moved mountains in the modeling industry. They have paved the way for many emerging models, including myself. I hope one day I can be a leader in this movement too.
Me: You’re trying to break into the modeling industry as plus-size model. What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Victoria: I think the hardest challenge I’ve faced so far, is proving to myself that I have what it takes. Far too often, we are the ones holding ourselves back. Sometimes it’s important to take a moment to remind ourselves that we are enough and celebrate ourselves for all that we have to offer.
Question from Liana in the audience: What kind of food do you usually eat? We hear all these stories about how models don’t eat to stay thin because “thin is in.” How do you cope with that kind of mentality?
Victoria: Being thin has never been a part of who I am, so I just try my best to put foods into my body that make me feel good.
Me: Do you eat certain foods before modeling?
Victoria: I don’t eat anything specific. I eat whatever I feel will make me do my best work that day.
Me: If you could be a fruit or veggie, what fruit or veggie would you be?
Victoria: I would be a watermelon. They have a ton of seeds that represent growth and they are better when shared in the summertime. 🙂
Me: Overall, do you find it difficult to be a plus-size model?
Victoria: Being a plus-size model is hard. Being any kind of model in this industry is hard. But you just have to remember that you get to tell people who you are. They don’t get to tell you who you are. One example of this comes from a recent experience here in New York City.
I attended an open call for an independent designer’s showcase for their swimsuit line. Most of the girls at the call were sizes 00-6, but there were a handful of plus-size girls there too. Probably around 5 or 6 in all. All of the petite model’s took turns modeling a bikini from the designer’s line. The designer then decided she wanted me to also model one of her designs. She said I was the most ‘fit’ of the plus-size girls and she wanted a curvy model. She gave me a swimsuit to put on, and as soon as she handed it to me, I realized it was the same exact bathing suit she had the petite models wear. This swimwear was not designed for girls like me. It was made for a model probably around a size 6.
At first, I felt embarrassed because the swimwear didn’t fit, but I put it on anyway. That day, I saw my first real glitch in the industry. I was being asked to wear this suit, so the designer could say she designs for plus-size models. But I am not a Size 6. I am a Size 12 and I am grateful for designers out there who celebrate me for being just that.
Victoria modeled for New York Fashion Week at PLITZS in Feb 2018. You can follow her on Instagram @theofficial.vsw
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