Nancy Upton from Dallas, Texas responded to American Apparel’s “Next Big Thing” contest for “plus-size” models by mocking the contest…then winning.
American Apparel‘s “Next Big Thing” contest—a model search for plus-size women to promote their new size, XL, has come to a close. The winner: Nancy Upton of Dallas, Texas, a size 12 woman with a damn fine entry photo.
The contest, which was announced last month, incited criticism from haters of the clothing line who recalled their 2010 statement that plus-size is “not our demographic.”
The entry directions read:
“Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.”
Upton, offended by American Apparel’s “past business practices” and “meat market approach” to finding plus size models, decided to enter. But rather than submitting images of herself in expensive lingerie and a brief statement about why she’s “booty-ful,” she uploaded an image of herself in a red lace bra and striped knee-highs, sitting on the kitchen floor while gorging on tubs of ice cream and pouring chocolate syrup on her face. The text accompanying her entry photo read, “I’m a size 12. I just can’t stop eating.”
Her Tumblr, ExtraWiggleRoom.tumblr.com, bears the headline “Not Our Demographic.”
Below her introduction are provocative images of herself sensually posing with fatty, sugary, high-calorie foods. In one image she wears a blue gingham bra and holds a cherry pie in front of her crotch, and in another she floats in a swimming pool while shoving an entire fried chicken into her mouth.
Some loved Upton’s parody while others were offended and even thought her images were aimed at ridiculing the other women in the contest. She clarified on her Tumblr, saying, “I don’t just consider them to be beautiful, talented and professional for, you know, plus-sized women. I consider them to be beautiful, talented and professional PEOPLE. Size and beauty are not mutually exclusive.”
She also wrote, “I don’t believe that beauty should be qualified as BECAUSE of someone’s size or IN SPITE of someone’s size. Beauty is beauty, it’s fluid, it’s objective and it doesn’t need to be justified to or by anyone.”
In an article for The Daily Beast today, she further expressed her intent, stating:
The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind. How offensive the campaign was. How it spoke to plus-sized women like they were starry-eyed 16 year olds from Kansas whose dream, obviously, was to hop a bus to L.A. to make it big in fashion. How apparently there were no words in existence to accurately describe the way American Apparel felt about a sexy, large woman, and so phrases like “booty-ful” and “XLent” would need to be invented for us—not only to fill this void in American vocabulary, but also make the company seem like a relatable, sassy friend to fat chicks.
Well said, Upton. Well said.