“When they hear the term ‘plus size,’ most people associate that phrase with ‘overweight and lazy.’” – Liz Standley
Welcome to Face Time. DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series goes beyond the runways to get to know top Dallas models on a personal level. Why?
Boasting prestigious agencies, producers, and shows, the Dallas market is emerging as a fashion force on the national scene. And, as our interviews with Carlotta Lennox, Myles Crosby, Donny Boaz, Atti Worku, David McKay, and many more prove, Dallas-based models are among the most fascinating and accomplished in the country.
Today, we’re breaking new ground again with an insider’s perspective on the plus side of modeling. Liz Standley embodies the word statuesque, and she’s found second career success in the often misunderstood plus size category. Below she reveals her candid thoughts, as well as the title of the book that changed everything for her, prompting a departure from corporate America in order to pursue her dreams.
Name: Liz Standley
Hometown: Ventura, California
Agency: Kim Dawson Agency
Notable Clients: Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Belk, Newsweek, Kohl’s, Dillard’s, People Magazine Style Watch, Brighton
DFW Style Daily: At what age did you begin modeling? Were you scouted, or did you pursue modeling as a career?
Liz Standley: “After dabbling in modeling as a child as well as a teenager, I actually began taking it seriously after submitting my pictures to local agencies at 24 years old.”
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the modeling industry?
“The biggest misconception that I’ve experienced is that models are uneducated airheads. The vast majority of models I’ve met are entrepreneurs in their own right and have careers outside of the modeling industry, as well.”
In your own words, define the “plus size” modeling category.
“To me, the plus size category encompasses your every day woman. Generally, when someone thinks of a model they think of thin and tall. While that is equally beautiful, it doesn’t include an entire category of women today.
“When they hear the term ‘plus size,’ most people associate that phrase with ‘overweight and lazy.’ In reality, most models who fall into this category work out and lead a healthy lifestyle, like any other standard model, but we just happen to be built larger. We’re afforded the opportunity to embrace sizes 6 and beyond, not just 1X, 2X, and 3X. We’re giving ladies with a booty and boobs a chance to say, ‘Hey, she looks like me! I can wear that outfit!’”
How do opportunities in this niche differ from the industry as a whole?
“Honestly, I see just as many opportunities as a plus size model as one would see as a ‘regular’ model. From bathing suits to beauty, websites to catalogs – the possibilities are truly endless.”
Have you ever been discriminated against or passed over for a job, due to your measurements?
“Even as a plus size model, staying in shape and keeping your measurements is extremely important. Clients typically know what they are getting into when they book you for a job, as our pictures, measurements, and dress size are listed on our comp cards and on our agency website. But, whatever situation you are in, it is important to not take things to heart. If someone says that a garment looks horrible on you, they aren’t necessarily calling you ugly or fat, they could just really not love that item of clothing! Having a thick skin is important in this business.”
What was the last book you read that made a big impact on you?
“I haven’t read it recently but Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert had a huge impact on me a few years ago. Because of that book, I quit my cushy nine-to-five corporate job, moved overseas, and literally started my life over!”
How have your travels affected your perspective on life and work?
“My travels have afforded me the opportunity to see some incredibly beautiful things, but in the same right, I’ve seen some incredibly heartbreaking things as well. I moved back to Dallas after living in Thailand, and out of all of the places I’ve been, that country has taught me the most. There is so much poverty and crime, and people will do whatever they have to do to support themselves and their family, no matter how morally challenging. But, the country is still called the ‘Land of Smiles.’ Being able to come home and digest everything I’ve seen and lived through has made me more committed to my work, but it has also taught me that life is short, and if you want something, just do it!”
Tell us three facts about yourself that might surprise us.
“First, I was on the dance team for the University of Colorado. Go Buffs! Second, in my next life I want to be a forensic scientist. Third, I tried out for The Bachelor and was told the guy – Juan Pablo – was too short for me!”
What is your dream assignment, or who would be your dream client?
“I would love to go on location for a job, preferably somewhere with a beach, so I could frolic in the water and get those gorgeous sunset shots! Also, I would lose my mind if I booked a job with Michael Kors. He is all about classic, sexy, and real, and as a plus sized model, that’s exactly what I aim to be.”
Do you ever miss the stability or the companionship of co-workers from your former office job?
“Stability? Yes. But, I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and you can’t be rewarded unless you take risks. Was being assured a paycheck every two weeks great? Of course, but I’m living my dream and have been very fortunate to be able to do that, so I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Do you have a personal role model? What have you learned from his or her example?
“In a way, everyone inspires me. I majored in Sociology, and people just fascinate me. I think it’s safe to say, however, that I look up to my family the most. I hope to be as hard-working and passionate as my dad, as loving and nurturing as my mom, and as creative and witty as my grandma!”
All photos, courtesy of Liz Standley.