For the last two years, London based Bridge Models has done their part to show the world that the differences between plus size and straight sized models are few. After seeing great success with their roster of female models, it was only a matter of time before they added plus size male models to the mix by launching the first UK plus size male division. There aren’t many big men being represented by agencies, but the landscape is beginning to change. We spoke with company Director Charlotte Griffiths and 24 year old model Ben Whit about this growing part of the industry, what Bridge looks for in a plus size male model, and whether we’ll see more models in the near future.
Chubstr: Why add a men’s division?
Charlotte Griffiths: It is an exciting time in the industry. There have been a lot of changes, and an increase in the demand for a wider range of men’s clothing sizes. [The] success of fashion for curvier women has broadened the debate, and brands are seeing the potential to reach out to the male market as well. As an agency keen to promote diversity, this is something that we have decided to enter into and it is great to be exploring the possibilities with our clients.
Chubstr: Why do you think there’s so much interest in plus size male models right now?
CG: I think the publicity has always been there for women in the industry, and men have now seen there is a market for them and they have decided to speak up. They want to see a more diversity for them in the market.
Chubstr: What do you look for in a plus size male model, Charlotte?
CG: Ben is a great example of the kind of model we are looking for: a tall, broad man that is into health and fitness and struggles to find clothes that fit. The fact he’s a personal trainer is a bonus. We feel strongly about promoting healthy body image with our models.
Ben Whit: I have been modeling since March, so not too long at all. The way I got into it was through my girlfriend, who brought me to a professional photo shoot, then I applied [with Bridge Models] and the rest is history.
Chubstr: Have you always been a bigger guy?
BW: No I haven’t. When I was in school, I was quite small. It was only when I turned about seventeen I started to get bigger.
Chubstr: You’ve modeled for brands like Bad Rhino. What’s a typical day like when you’re doing a shoot?
BW: A typical shooting day consists of waking up early and jumping on the train or driving to the shoot. Whether it’s a studio shoot or on-location, it’s a pretty full day. You can expect a lot of outfit changes.
Chubstr: You’re also a personal trainer – what would you say to people who believe that big guys can’t be healthy?
BW: I would say that they are wrong. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy – you could be small and unhealthy too.
Chubstr: Is there anyone in modeling or entertainment who inspires you?
BW: The model that inspired me was a bloke called Stephen James. He models a lot of the clothes I wear and have always liked him.
Chubstr: Do you have any tips for the aspiring plus size male models out there?
BW: I would tell people just be yourself and have the confidence to get out there and do it – don’t shy away [from trying].
Chubstr: Do you think we’ll start to see more diversity in body types when it comes to plus size male models, similar to what we’re seeing with women’s plus size?
BW: Yeah, I think we will. I am a strong believer in [the men’s plus size modeling movement]. I want to able to get the message out there, and be the voice for the industry.
Chubstr: What do you hope people take from seeing you in photo shoots and on fashion sites?
BW: I hope that blokes start to feel more confident in their own bodies, and stop trying to be what society tries to tell them they to be. Just be confident in yourself and know that you can look good no matter what size you are.