• Tue, Jul 26 2011

Size 12/14 Model Marquita Pring Hates The Term ‘Plus-Size,’ Wants To Banish It

The lovely Marquita Pring is on a role: in the past year, she’s been appointed a face of Levi’s, walked for Gaultier and (so major for a model) worked with Steven Meisel… all at a size 12/14. Just don’t call her plus-size.

WWD sat down with the mannequin and asked her a slew of questions about the modeling industry and the differences that exist for women of different sizes.

First off, how does she define the term “plus-size”?

I hate the term. I don’t consider myself “plus-size.” I don’t consider any of the girls on my board plus-size whether they’re smaller or bigger than me. But it’s true that there’s really no true definition. The second I say to someone, “I’m a plus-size model,” they just look at you like, OK, if you’re plus-size then I must be oversize. So I would love to just do away with the term and say “curvy” instead.

And how does model culture differ from plus-size to straight-size communities?

Within our curvy universe, it’s a lot more close-knit and friendly. There’s not nearly as much competition. I think with the skinnier girls, there are so many more incredibly beautiful, stunning girls that have very similar features and characteristics. Whereas the plus-size industry is a lot smaller so I think we accept more than compete. We know you don’t have to be catty to get ahead. It can be kind of cutthroat in the skinnier model community.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is Pring’s confirmation that there exists an idealized body type at every size and even for a 12/14, she faces industry pressure to look smaller and larger and sucked in and padded out. Yes, she sometimes pads herself for clients:

Every client is different. You get a wide range. Some people like you much smaller, size 10, size 8. Some people would prefer a 14 or 16. So for me, I’m right in the middle at a sort of small 14, high 12. So I pad sometimes since I’ve got clients who would prefer a solid 14 or 16.

Does anyone find that surprising?

While we ponder such things, let’s just appreciate these cheekbones on the Gaultier runway:

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  • Eileen

    I’m not a fan of the term “plus-size,” but can we please stop saying “curvy” in its place? “Curvy” is a body type, not a body size. Plenty of straight-size models/actresses are curvy in that they have dramatic hip-to-waist ratios (see: Audrey Hepburn), and being heavier doesn’t guarantee curves. I don’t necessarily have a better word, so perhaps I shouldn’t say anything, but the “curvy” = “plus-size” equivocation always kind of grates on me.

    • Tobi

      Eileen, I agree.

      There are women that, at size 4, have curves.

      There are women that, at size 16, have a more straight figure.

      Curvy is a nice word, but it doesn’t always apply.

  • Fabel

    I agree- the term “curvy” used to describe a larger body type is just inaccurate. There are lots of slim, traditional model-type women who have curvy, S-shaped bodies (hourglass figure, if you will) But the term has been wrongly associated to describe the plus-sized. I also cannot think of a better term, but maybe everyone should stop coming with cute-sy terms for women over a certain size? I actually think it’s kind of condescending, anyway.

    • Fabel

      *coming up with

    • Stephanie

      What I don’t understand is why we need terms at all? They just play right into the stereotypes of what is a “good” body type. Why can’t we just refer to body size with our actual body size? Then there are no connotations for a number size.

    • Sophie

      “I actually think it’s kind of condescending, anyway.”

      COMPLETELY. AGREE.

      I have seen the “plus sized” clothing just called things like, say, “16W” for “wide,”similar to the “P” for “Petite,” which I think is good to go with, because it is a different class of sizing, like petites are.

  • Stacy

    I also agree, re: curvy. I am overweight. Not curvy. Well past fluffy. Why does there have to be a name at all. Can’t it just be “I need clothes in a size 4″ or “i need clothes in a size 24″???

    • Sophie

      It needs to be a different class of sizing. Much like we have Petites for smaller women, there needs to exist that class of sizing for larger women, because of the dimensions and their relation to each other. Otherwise, that would be a crapload of hemming.