You wouldn’t know it from looking at her tall, lean figure, but 23-year-old Robyn Lawley is a plus-size model who has been deemed the “plus-size wonder from down under.”
At 6-foot-2-inches tall, Lawley is a size 12 and breaking stereotypes left and right with her curvy physique. Just this year, she became the first plus-size model to land a campaign with legendary clothing designer Ralph Lauren.
The model appeared on Good Morning America recently to discuss her growing success not only as a model, but also as a figure of health and beauty for women all over the world.
People Magazine senior writer, Jen Garcia, said Lawley is paving the way for plus-size women to land these kinds of high-end campaigns. Lawley, who began modeling at age 16, said that although she’s doing well in her career now, it took some time to get comfortable with her size 12 figure. Now, she’s happy in her own skin and that’s something she thinks a lot of girls can look up to.
As a teenager, Lawley felt pressure to lose weight and look like other models on the runway. She admitted that at times, she succumbed to that pressure and struggled with eating disorders at various points in her career.
“I felt a huge amount of pressure to diet and my body…it was such a battle to do that because I’m such a big bone and I’m tall and I’m broad,” said Lawley. “At that age, I was trying anything and everything. When someone wants to become a model they think you have to be skinny and have to lose weight.”
Lawley recalled going into castings or trying on clothes that didn’t fit, and then seeing models on runways and thinking she had to become a woman of that size. “It was like, ‘exercise a bit more and eat a little bit [more] healthy.’ That’s what they’d say to me.”
But despite any doubt or adversity she faced, the breaking point in Lawley’s career came after she essentially gave up on her dream.
“I gave up trying to be a model and moved to France and fell in love with food all over again. I came back much bigger than I was,” she said. “That’s when I saw plus-size models were doing well…and that’s when I decided I wanted that; I wanted to be on magazines.”
At age 19, Lawley signed on with Wilhelmina modeling agency in Australia. Her biggest moments of success came when she landed her first magazine cover on French Elle, and later on Vogue Italia. At the news, Lawley was shocked and incredibly pleased with how the photos turned out.
As far as how Lawley feels about her role as a pioneer in the plus-size modeling industry, she feels proud and hopes more women are able to embrace their bodies as they are and not let body images struggles inhibit their modeling careers.
“There’s so many plus-size models in New York doing so well and I think there’s going to be more understanding and less discrimination with that,” she told Good Morning America.
Other curvier models, such as Kate Upton, are setting new standards for beauty not only in the modeling industry itself, but for women in general. I personally feel a bit more normal and esteemed for not being a size two when I see women like Lawley and Upton landing modeling jobs at sizes beyond a six or eight.
If you’d like to see more of Lawley’s modeling portfolio, you can view images of the model on her official Facebook page. Additionally, if you’re interseted in seeing what the stunning Australian eats and craves on a day-to-day basis, visit her food blog Robyn Lawley Eats.