Sitting down tonight to binge watch and blog about the My Torrid Model Search on Youtube and I am loving it. So many conversations about how representation matters, both in size, shape and race. It is also nice to hear people acknowledge how important it is to be able to find clothes that fit, that you actually like, in terms of helping a person develop their own self-esteem. Over 14,000 women applied to this competition which will award one winner a new wardrobe and a modeling contract with Torrid. Torrid is all about young, hip, sexy style for plus size women that isn’t different from the styles you can find in straight size stores. They sell crop tops, skinny jeans, miniskirts and much more! For many plus size women, modeling for them would be a dream come true.
Here’s your official spoiler warning, I am going to post content that specifically reveals details of the show, so if you haven’t finished watching it yet and don’t want to read any further, I encourage you to read one of my other blog entries instead of continuing on here. Last chance! And the models are…Marguerite who is 22 from Chicago, Erica who is 24 from Texas, Lyanna who is 25 and also from Texas and finally, Brooke who is from California. They are competing to be the brand ambassador and the face of Torrid for 2016.
The women openly share their experiences with bullying, divorce, childhood abuse and intimate partner violence. All four women talk about the first time they shopped at Torrid and I think those moments are totally relatable. The search hosts indicate that they want a woman with a story to share as opposed to hiring a model who already has agency representation and these finalists do represent that goal. The finalists do have a reasonable amount of race diversity but all of the women competing are fairly light-skinned. However, there is no diversity in terms of representing trans women, women with disabilities or women who are not “curvy”. This is especially relevant since the two current brand ambassadors (Philameno Kwao and Georgina Burke) that appear on the web-series appear to be either a size 0 or 1 in terms of Torrid sizing, basically typical plus models, that are approximately a size 14, like me. Props to Brooke for discussing the fact that she is the largest woman in the group and still super sexy; she also mentions that Torrid has never had a model her size before.
I found it very interesting to see the design process that Torrid uses, especially learning that they fit on a variety of real-life models, sometimes their employees, instead of on mannequins or by starting with smaller sizes and never dealing with the distortion that results from doing so. (I briefly mentioned that in my post on Smart Sizing in Stores.) My favourite show is always the makeover episode in any modeling competition tv series, so I loved seeing the women pushed through typical model experiences, especially as a woman who admittedly clings to her hair like a security blanket. I loved seeing Torrid embrace natural hair, especially in the case of Erica’s make-over. The swimsuit episode was super cute and I loved Brooke’s attitude and look, I really want that bikini! In the end, it came down to one final face and winner…. Lyanna! Congrats gorgeous!