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Thursday 31 July 2014

“The future is bright”: Irish plus sized model Louise O’Reilly on the changing standards of the industry

Freya Drohan

Published 14/07/2014|18:18

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CONTRACT: Louise O'Reilly before photoshoot for Littlewoods
CONTRACT: Louise O'Reilly before photoshoot for Littlewoods

Award winning blogger Louise is on the books of eight modelling agencies around the world- here she shares her advice on how to crack the industry and build your profile as a model.

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Malahide native Louise is an ardent campaigner for women with curves. Independent Style readers may remember her recent opinion piece where she slammed lingerie brand La Perla for their use of skeletal mannequins.

Vogue McFadden with Most Aussome Fashion Blog Winner, Louise O'Reilly, Brian McEvoy
Vogue McFadden with Most Aussome Fashion Blog Winner, Louise O'Reilly, Brian McEvoy
Daniella Moyles, Rosanna Davison, Louise O'Reilly

Through her popular blog Style Me Curvy, she promotes and endorses the idea that beauty is not defined by the size on your clothes label.

Do you have any advice for aspiring models?

A key factor is not to spend hundreds of euro paying to build a modeling portfolio. The first step in becoming a working model is to get a solid agency to represent you. Simply research good agencies online that have good credibility and tend to be referenced in magazine editorials. Apply to them with simple polaroid’s wearing a fitted pair of skinny jeans and a tank top (

no makeup). If you are taken on they will point you in the right direction for building a portfolio that shouldn’t cost you too much.

What is the best thing about being plus sized in the Irish modelling industry?

Most of my work is abroad at the moment, but when I do model here I love how positive and friendly creative teams are. My mother agency, Morgan the Agency, as well as the stylists especially in this country have been behind me with positivity since day one, which I am truly grateful for.

Most positive experience of your career to date?

There have been a number of positive things so far. Being one of the first plus size models to sign with Models 1, which was a huge career highlight for me, one that I will never forget. And as of last month I just signed with my 8th international agency, which still feels so surreal.

What do you think the future is like for plus size models- is it getting easier to make it?

I think it’s becoming harder to ‘make’ it as a model at any size. It’s something that has become really popular in the past number of years so you will see new faces springing up on agency boards every day. It just means a lot more work, determination and patience is required. My career certainly didn’t happen overnight it took a lot of hard work.

Is the use of curvy women becoming more regular?

The future is looking brighter as more international brands are either starting to include bigger sizes into their collections or they are including us in their regular lines to reflect their consumers. There are also some great publications and online platforms that are also starting to take notice of this and are thankfully including a more diverse range of shapes and sizes in editorials.

There still needs to be more done on an overall scale such as a stronger push for diversity at Fashion Weeks around the globe and on a regular basis, but I am hoping that will be just around the corner.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years time?

Hopefully I will still be doing what I do now in the modeling world. The response also so far with my blog Style Me Curvy has been fantastic. I was even asked to be a presenter last year at the Clothes Show Live, which was a great experience and something I hope to pursue as I aim to bring the blog to bigger and better things. I live by the motto ‘ What’s meant for you won’t pass

you by’ so who knows what the future will hold.

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