Model Profile: Philomena

We sat down with our lovely model Philomena at a recent Gwynnie Bee photo shoot to talk about diversity in the fashion industry and the rapidly changing world of plus modeling.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in the industry!

I’m from London originally and Evans, they’re a plus size brand in London – they were looking for a new model and my friend entered me in online and then Models One, who were co-hosting this model search, called me in and a bit after – I think they saw me twice – and they said, “We’d like to sign you!” And that was it!

That’s very exciting! Did you have any aspirations to become a model before this?

No, not really. I was getting my Master’s Degree in International Health Management and Economics, so that’s where I was.

So, you’re from London – 

Born and raised!

– but you live in New York now. How are you liking the states?

Very different, very exciting. I thought London was fast-paced, but New York just moves at a crazy pace. But I like it because it’s like around the corner there’s something new and something different. So much to see and do.

Do you feel that the plus size fashion industry differs a lot between New York and London?

In London it’s very new, it’s like a baby. It hasn’t been around for very long. I mean, there are many brands; I can only think of three off the top of my head: Evans, Simply Be, and ASOS, which is quite recent so it’s not as big a market. There are not as many models and not as many agencies, but that’s changed this year, a lot. There are new agencies, a whole wave of new models, so it’s growing. I think New York is more established.

What is one positive change that you’d like to see within the industry?

Plus-sized models and straight-sized models booking the same campaigns. So, I’d love to see a plus model do a beauty campaign or do a makeup campaign or even doing a normal high-fashion campaign without it being specifically a plus-sized brand.

And how do you see yourself contributing to the industry?

I feel like I’m adding some diversity. I have a very different look; I don’t have any hair and I’m of a darker skin tone so, for me, I feel like I’m adding diversity to plus size modeling.

What has your experience with Gwynnie Bee been like?

I’ve worked with Gwynnie Bee once before, absolutely loved it, it was refreshing because I was allowed to do lots of smiley stuff and be really natural and fun. And it’s a great team and it’s a really great concept. I mean, there’s lots of stuff for, I would say “straight size,” in terms of being able to rent clothes, borrow clothes, return them – just being able to explore different clothes and I think it’s great that Gwynnie Bee’s doing that for plus size.

Help us welcome Philomena to the Gwynnie Bee community! Meet more of our models here!

  • Comments ( 1 )

  • Bean

    Will someone PLEASE start a catalog or site named “Pear” ? For hippies its the hardest shape to find good styles and sizes for. Too- long tops look like we’re smuggling melons. Tops that fit the smaller bust are too tight for arms. I see millions of Pears.