Catwalks for all sizes

February 2, 2012

By Nacho Doce

Three days after photographing the svelte models at the upscale Sao Paulo Fashion Week, I found myself in the crowded backstage of the Miss Brazil Plus-Size beauty pageant, a contrast in every aspect from body size to the organization’s budget and the cost of each dress.

Backstage the overweight models pushed their own dress-filled suitcases with no assistants to help them, very different from the Fashion Week models, each of whom had two or three people dressing, preening, and supervising them.

Television channels filming Miss Plus-Size were offering the stream to reality shows, while at Fashion Week the transmission was to a more serious audience, focusing on present and future stars in the fashion world.

Not once did any of the Plus-Size models react against being photographed, showing no shame for their big dresses. I found their self-esteem wonderful.

Although fascinated by the contrast of the two events, I was also impressed by one similarity. All the women, the slender ones and the overweight ones, paraded with the same nervousness and dignity past the spectators. The morning after the pageant, Miss Brazil Plus-Size was hospitalized for the stress of competing, the demanding rehearsals and lack of a proper diet, all of which sound very familiar in the fashion world.


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