Plus-Size Models

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Twenty year old Tara Duckett and new mum Joanna Ferguson both admit they've struggled with their size in the past. Now they're embracing it - in the running to become Australia's next super size, super model. Joanna says "I've actually grown into my skin, I feel really comfortable with who I am" Tara says "I like fashion and I like to think that I look nice and when you've got good clothes that fit properly I think it's a win- win situation"

One of Australia's most successful plus -size models...Natalie Wakeling is backing the search for more "real" women to front advertising campaigns. Up for grabs - a year long contract with "Big Gals Models". "We're launching this competition to find a woman that's over a size 14, size 16, to be a part of our launch, you're sending a great message to women that they can feel beautiful, they can look great in designer clothes"

Now going from modelling bigger sizes to designing them, Natalie's branching out into creating denim jeans for what she calls "style starved curvy women." "denim jeans are an absolute staple in any woman's wardrobe and she should have a pair of faithfuls that she can call on and unfortunately a lot of designers don't go past a size 14 or 16"

An ambassador for the Eating Disorders Foundation, Natalie says Australian women need to feel good about themselves - whatever their shape. "Models are meant to be thin, most designers will say the garment hangs better off a thinner model but in saying that, there is a comeback, over in the states predominantly with the use of plus size models on the catwalk and the reaction they get from using a larger woman on the catwalk is astounding"

Perth Sisters Tara Fowles, Sian Kelly and Anna Brotherson have turned a concept of creating clothes for real sized women, into a reality, with their Subiaco store, Aura. Sian says "our shapes had changed, we were no longer like these skinny little 18 year olds, but you still felt like sexy and gorgeous but you wanted to put clothes on that made you look like the way that you felt "

Turning their backs on careers as a teacher, a nurse and a pharmacist, they design, produce and sell clothes from size 6 to 22 - even pregnancy outfits that really can be worn long after the birth - and that are anything but mumsy. Anna says "we've spent a lot of time designing and really nailing the designs and the fabric selection and things so the clothes are very complimentary and you can actually gain 5 kilos and stay inside the same size and that's the beauty of it, you are no longer consumed by, am I a 10, 12 . 14, 16"

The sisters say the average Australian woman is now a regular size fourteen. - that Hollywood's obsession with the "lollypop look" of big heads on skinny bodies is neither real, nor healthy. And in a world where size zero is the new 8, they've mixed it up a bit. In the sisters' store, a zero's a size sixteen, a two's a twenty.

Tara says "we're all after that one outfit that you can put on and makes you feel like you've just lost 5 kilos and that's what our garments allow" They say they'd love to see a Perth woman like Tara or Joanna go on to represent real women in advertising.

To enter the Big Girls competition go to:

Applications close this Friday 18/05/07

Aura Women

16 Forrest Street

Subiaco WA 6008

Tel: 08 9388 1992

Fax: 08 9388 1993

Opening Times

Mon-Wed 9:30-5:30

Thurs 9:30-7:30

Fri, Sat 9:30-5:30

Sun by appointment