If you watched a lot of America's Next Top Model episodes, you may remember Tyra Banks saying this to some of her girls, “You’re what we call ‘in-between’—not big enough to be plus-sized, but not as thin as standard models.” While we don’t know who exactly came up with the term inbetweener to describe non-standard models, we have Tyra to credit for helping empower models of all shapes and sizes.
“Girls of all kinds can be beautiful—from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing, and all in between,” she said.
These days, the inbetweener market is slowly embraced by modeling agencies around the world. “I’m lucky, because unlike a lot of girls, I’m represented by an agency, Muse, who [is] willing to push me (and other girls) at the size I’m at. I’m healthy and happy and it shows,” model Charli Howard wrote in her Huffington Post blog.
But some models are still encouraged to fit into the specific plus-size or straight-thin category. Charli revealed that some girls who aren’t plus-size enough wear padding to appear bigger for clients, while those who aren’t deemed thin enough do what they can to lose weight drastically.
But just as the world accepted plus-sized models as a norm, inbetweeners are inching their way into the high fashion industry. Here are some of the emerging names that are encouraging girls to embrace their “irregular” measurements.
She made headlines in 2014 when she fronted Calvin Klein underwear’s “Perfectly Fit” campaign. She didn’t fit the usual mold of size 0 waif models that the brand is known for, so headlines dubbed her as “Calvin Klein’s First Plus-Size Model.” She was a US size 8—far from being plus-size! It garnered polarizing views from the modeling world, but it helped promote what Elle Magazine calls, “The rise of the in-between model.”
In 2015, the British model was body-shamed by her now ex-agency for being a US size 2 at 5’8”. She fought back by penning a powerful letter on her Facebook page. “I will no longer allow you to dictate to me what’s wrong with my looks and what I need to change in order to be ‘beautiful’ (like losing one f***ing inch off my hips), in the hope it might force you to find me work,” she said. She received a tremendous amount of support, and was soon signed by Muse Model Management, who encourages her to be her true self.
The Hungarian supermodel was fat-shamed after appearing in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition early this year. She took to Twitter to respond to her nasty critics: "Well I am not as skinny as I was when I was 18. But I don't consider myself fat!" Rumor has it that Victoria's Secret dropped her for gaining weight, but the brand has yet to address the issue. She doesn't let bashers keep her from doing what she loves, as she continues to land projects for high-end brands such as Giorgio Armani and L'Oreal Paris.