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Being a plus-size woman and model

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Aqueila M. Lewis in Oakland, California.

Aqueila M. Lewis in Oakland, California.

I am a plus-size model and have been modeling since 2010. The words plus-size and full-figured are interchangeable – both mean a person of fuller size, with curves, that wears clothing size 12 and up.

After volunteering as assistant for a designer in a fashion show, I wanted to make a change in my life and improve my self-esteem. Since then I have modeled in magazines, various events, runway shows, gained the title as Ms. Oakland Plus America, and have learned how to love and honor my body and my whole self.

Even though I am more confident now then when I started in the modeling industry, I still battle with self-confidence and self-esteem. I have worked with some amazing designers who primarily create plus-size wear, but there are some designers who still prefer to work with thinner models for size. Designers have chosen other models instead of having me wear their designs because my personality or my model walk wasn’t “fierce” enough, or I didn’t have the “it factor” that they were looking for. I make it my goal to be unique and shine for me even if I am not picked.

There are so many negative stories about body size and body image but there aren’t enough stories that highlight the beauty of women’s bodies regardless of the size and shape. During my fellowship, I will be sharing my experiences of being a plus-sized woman and model. I will also highlight people that have inspired me on my journey – women actively changing society’s idea of beauty, while empowering others.

I welcome your questions, comments and stories. All are important. Stand up and be heard.


Author: Aqueila Lewis

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