My history and our future…

By: Candice Huffine


By the time you are reading this I will have just walked a runway show in New York Fashion week for the second time and debuted a huge national campaign with billboards in Times Square. I will have editorials out in multiple high fashion magazines, will be the face of a new fashion line, and be featured in Vogue. Why is this such a great coup then? If I am a model this is another day at the office right? It's because I am a size 12.

I signed my first contract in 2000 when I was just about to turn fifteen years old.  I was desperate to be a model, but not desperate enough to do something extreme to my body to get the deal.  I was clueless to the fact that plus modeling existed at the same time I was seeking out modeling agencies who had no such division. I was not clueless to the fact, however, that I was a curvy young lady with hip measurements that would most likely never decrease in numbers.  I'm no doctor, but I knew there was no way I could move bone.  Losing the twenty pounds asked of me at the time and whittling down to the ideal model measurements of the early 2000's was not in my cards.
I started my path very simply shooting catalogs in Europe and living in a scarce social media world. I was a nameless face for the better part of my career, but that was ok, curvy models were creating a buzz slowly but surely. The same girls whose portfolios I looked through the day I signed my contract, were starting to make waves and I found this to be the exact steps forward I knew were always meant to be. Kate Dillon was featured in Vogue Magazine's Shape Issue in 2002 shot by renowned photographer Helmut Newton, and Crystal Renn was the first curvy model in a Dolce&Gabbana campaign shot in 2006 by Steven Meisel. This was MAJOR. This was inspiring. I had to make this my future. Like most forays into exploring something unknown and new, the feature of a different size in fashion came a bit few and far between. People wondered if the inclusion of curves were a fad or something a magazine would do for shock value to get the masses talking.  I never saw it this way. Blame it on the ability to always find the silver lining, but I saw this as our beginning.  It was moments like these that made me, a young but confident model, know that we could do big things in this industry.  The door had been unlocked.

After the great triumphs of Kate and Crystal, I wondered if the industry could permanently fill the gap between them and a Kate Moss type figure and even go beyond. They could...and in 2010 they did.

My first big break was for V magazine followed by a one two punch from Vogue Italia.  For the July 2011 issue I was featured on the cover and the inside pages alongside three of my plus size peers.  If the door had been unlocked in the years before, this blew it off it's hinges.  These two magazines were responsible for allowing the world to see curvy models again, the way they had been portrayed in the earlier days- beautifully and fashionably, the same as any model of a smaller size would be. Curves fit in perfectly on these pages and did not go unnoticed.  The feedback of the reader was unanimous…we love this, more please!  Since then, my resume changed drastically.  I've shot for Vogue, W Magazine, CR Fashion Book, Italian Vogue, and Glamour to name a few with photographers and stylists I admire. Naysayers questioned once again if it was all just a flash in the pan and last year I think we settled that question once and for all. In 2015, I was chosen as one of the twelve girls for the iconic Pirelli Calendar.  

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That brings us to 2016.  Barbie has a new shape, curves took over Sports Illustrated, designers launched new lines to accommodate all figures (hi, Rachel Roy! Thank you!), and women of different races, ages, sizes and shapes are on covers, billboards, and taking over television.  

It’s good to look back to see just how far you’ve come and even more important to see where you are going. I like to think it takes one throw of the pebble in the water to create a lasting ripple effect and that has been done.  The change is not coming, we are living in it.  Yes, it had been a long road to this point, but I find the best things in life are worth the wait.  The work and determined pursuit to prove all bodies are beautiful and worthy of celebration has paid off and the influence will be everlasting.  Inclusion, acceptance and appreciation of all people is the new norm in fashion.  By flipping the script on “standards”, we are single handedly raising up the next generations to see beauty in everyone.  We are making it so that being curvy, or petite, or having braces, or going grey are not taboo but celebrated, and one where a compliment is passed in place of judgement.  We are making it so that differences are not seen as challenges, but instead seen as joys.  It starts as simply as a picture, but the message attached speaks volumes.  This isn’t just a curvy revolution, it’s a change everyone can welcome.

"It’s good to look back to see just how far you’ve come and even more important to see where you are going."

For example, some of my heroes in today's fashion world include Hari Nef, a smart, beautiful trans woman taking the high fashion world by storm and educating us along the way. There’s also Jillian Mercado, an inspiration and super cool chick who is wheelchair bound with Muscular Dystrophy and just became the face of Diesel.  I admire Nicola Griffin, a stunning 56 year old grandmother who donned a bikini for the first time for a swimsuit campaign in Sports Illustrated.  I praise, look up to and will forever remain in awe of every single curvy model I share this industry with for their unwavering determination to speak out, show the world what makes them great and create lasting change.  It is all of these pioneers, and many more, that confirm the future of beauty is new, different, welcomed, and my favorite…EXCITING.

Carine Roitfeld once said, "Fashion is sometimes too systematic. I prefer the personality of the girls. They give something much more beautiful. Sometimes you just don't care if you can't zip a skirt."

And there you have it. It’s about the person and what’s on the inside. The thing that makes you, YOU! That is what’s in fashion.

This is a new era. One that includes everyone.

It’s safe to say, the future's so bright you’ll have to wear shades, and not just the "one size fits all" kind. ;)