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This ‘Plus Size Only’ Beauty Campaign Challenges Every Stereotype We Know


The plus size market has definitely expanded as more brands are listening and becoming more size inclusive. On the beauty front, the make up scene seems to still be lagging behind though there have been a few exceptions like plus size model Ashley Graham being signed to a major campaign deal with make-up brand Revlon, Marquita Pring and Sabina Karlsson’s feature in a diverse campaign for L’Oreal and a few others, it still isn’t nearly enough.

Marie Southard Ospina

For Marie Southard Ospinaplus, who is a writer, editor, & creative consultant for Bustle.com, it all began with the M.AC. campaign featuring plus size model Luzmaria Vargas from California for their  MACnificent Me campaign shoot along side other regular sized models. She thought to her self, ‘this model looks like me’, with round, cherubic features looking magnificent in her photos, and wondered if that was the turning point.

In Ospina’s words: “Although I’ve long loved the creativity and access to experimentation that the world of beauty can offer, that world unfortunately hasn’t always seemed to love me — or the idea of my body, at least — back. Finding a plus size face when searching through beauty editorials and ads online, in magazines, or at brick and mortar shops isn’t just rare: It’s damn near impossible.”

Marie Southard Ospina decided to take the bull by the horns, teaming up with makeup artist Alexandra Clark of Golden Axe Makeup, body positive photographer Paddy McClave, and Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s makeup line known for its commitment to diversity and 40 foundation shades.  Working with  five UK-based plus size models, Sharon Davies of Rad Fat Feminist, Dennetta McKain of Livin’ Phat Livin’ Large, Em Smyth of Terrible Tumbles, Mayah Camara, and Tara Louise they did a beauty campaign photo shoot with the theme, ‘Alt-glam’ representing femininty and glamour.

Tara Louise:”If there were more round faces and double chins in the beauty industry, it would been seen as an encouragement to be happy in your own skin no matter what our size and let’s face it, the beauty industry doesn’t want that.”


Em Smyth: “We’re so used to the same white, angular faces in beauty editorials and tutorials that it’s a real lottery working out whether the same products are right for you. When I attempt to contour the way I see on more angular faces, I end up drawing a small face on top of my big face. It’s ridiculous.”


Sharon Davies: “Honestly, before the shoot I’d not even registered the fact that I never see faces like mine in beauty ads and editorials,” she confesses. “I guess I’d just got so used to accepting it as the status quo.”


Dennetta McKain: “In the world of beauty, being ‘overweight’ or fat is not acceptable, brands and industries have made it believable to consumers that being beautiful and glamorous is being slimmer.” “Different skin tones, different fashion styles, be pear-shaped, busty, petite, or tall, you can be plus size, and still slay every step of the way.


Mayah Camara: “I think that the industry has embraced plus size women in regards to being consumers, but we are still seen as undesirable in most other ways. I love the fact that there is a grassroots movement taking place via social media which is allowing women of all sizes and ethnicities to come forward and celebrate themselves.”


Marie Southard Ospina: For me, their faces serve as a reminder that fat babes can rock any beauty look, no matter how esoteric, out-there, or timelessly chic. Theirs are faces that will no doubt be relatable to much of the 67 percent of American women who wear plus sizes, many of whom are also buying makeup. Theirs are faces for change.



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