Australia’s Next Top Model judge Charlotte Dawson has slammed Australia’s plus-size modelling industry, labelling it “non-existent” and declaring no curvy model wannabes will win the reality show on her watch.
Dawson dealt the blow to aspiring plus-size models as hundreds of teenage girls crowded into Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne’s south east today to audition for the sixth series of the Foxtel show.
“There is no market for plus-size models in Australia…. it would be tokenism to put a plus-size girl through just for the sake of it,” Dawson told ninemsn.
Dawson said despite the recent shift in the media towards positive coverage of plus-size models the fashion industry in Australia had still not caught up.
“I would like someone to name a plus-size model in Australia because I can’t,” she said.
“We could have a plus-size model win the competition and she would end up doing catalogues for Target.”
Dawson said last year’s winner on the show, Tahnee Atkinson, who was billed as “full-figured” and “curvaceous” despite being only a size 10, was the perfect size for the global fashion industry.
“I think the industry internationally has had enough of the really skinny, scrawny models… you couldn’t call Tahnee curvy, she’s just a normal, healthy girl,” she said.
Despite Dawson’s objections to plus-size models who generally measure from size 14 upwards the judge said there was one larger girl who made it through to the second stage of the Sydney auditions last week.
“She would have been a size 14 top and 16 bottom … she was one of those beautiful girls who light up the room,” Dawson said.
But Dawson said it would still be a mistake to select a plus-size model for one of the final contestants.
“You can’t change the industry overnight, there is just not enough work for them in Australia,” Dawson said.
Darrianne Donnelly, the director of the plus-size modelling agency BGM Models, said she was “disappointed” by Dawson’s comments.
“For Charlotte Dawson to say there is no plus-size modelling industry in Australia is untrue….I have models out there proving it every day,” Ms Donnelly said.
“I have one model who has just landed a contract with Avon in the Philippines and another who is flying down for a shoot with Myer in Melbourne today.”
Aspiring plus-size model Chelsea Votano said she found attending the show’s Sydney audition’s last week a positive experience, despite being rejected by the judges.
“At first I was really nervous standing there amongst all those skinny girls but then it became quite empowering, I was there for myself,” Ms Votano, who is a size 14-16, said.
“I walked in front of the judges and they were really nice and just said I was not what they were looking for.”