Plus-size mania is officially sweeping the nation, and the latest to hop on the bandwagon is Tyra Banks, who today announced she's launching a nationwide competition to find the next teen plus-size model.
Tyra rightly points out that the average woman's size in America is 12-14 -- not exactly the 0-2 you often see on the runway, so she's kicking off the Fiercely Real Teen Model Search to select six finalists that will appear on the The Tyra Show (which is in its final season). There'll be Top Model-esque challenges involved, and the winner will receive Top Model-esque prizes like a contract with Wilhelmina, a spread in a magazine, a photo shoot, and even a whole day with Tyra herself.
On the one hand, this seems like a brilliant way to take advantage of a cultural moment (i.e. plus-size models suddenly getting the fashion spotlight), but on the other hand, it seems like a way to take advantage while avoiding making plus-size models, oh, the center of an actual TV show, as opposed to a segment on a TV show currently in its last season. Why not devote an entire season of Top Model to plus-size ladies? There've already been winning plus-size gals on the show, and we'd certainly tune in.
For now, check out Tyra's video on StyleWatch to see how to get the best submission photos. (Spoiler alert, there's "smize-ing" involved.)