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A new documentary is giving fashion fans an inside look at how plus-size models are breaking down barriers and changing the industry for good.
In the trailer for “Straight/Curve,” released online this week, models including Jennie Runk share stories about what it’s like to succeed in an industry known for sample sizes and stick-thin models — not curves.
But that’s finally starting to change, the documentary’s director, Jenny McQuaile, told TODAY.com.
“People are speaking out and big change is happening,” she said. “We are moving in the right direction, but we still have more to go. Designers need to be including bigger sample sizes, we need to see women of different sizes in fashion week, and we need to see women of different shapes and sizes photographed together, by the same photographer, for the same editorial, in the same designer clothes.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because there’s been a lot of talk about plus-size fashion lately. It’s showing up at fashion weeks, in ad campaigns and in clothing lines that previously sold only “straight” sizes. Even Sports Illustrated featured a plus-sized model in its most recent swimsuit issue.
“Straight/Curve” is expected to release next year and is being produced by Franses Simonovich and Jessica Lewis, a former model. McQuaile, who has a background in journalism, said the point of the film isn’t to shame skinny people.
“People can be beautiful and healthy at a size zero, and people can be beautiful and healthy at a size 16,” she said. “No one beauty is better than the other.”
“Women are notoriously hard on themselves when it comes to how we look,” McQuaile added. “We convince ourselves that we shouldn’t go to that job interview because we can’t fit into the perfect suit, or we can’t go and meet friends, or a potential partner, because our hair isn’t perfect.”
It’s a struggle the director knows personally.
“For years, I battled with my weight until I found out I am allergic to gluten, dairy and eggs. I changed my diet and it changed my life. I’m at my fittest and healthiest now at a size 6. Being in tune with your body and finding your natural weight and size is so important. And then learning to accept and love that is the next step.”
Runk, best known for her H&M ads, and fellow models including Kate Dillon, Sabina Karlsson, Leah Kelley and Iskra Lawrence are interviewed in the documentary, along with various other industry players, from photographers to agents.