American Apparel's Search for Plus-Size Model Backfires

| by Michael Allen

Clothing company American Apparel launched a 'next big thing' competition to find a size 12-14 model, encouraging women to send in photos of their bodies for a public vote, but it may have backfired thanks to one woman in Dallas, Texas.

Nancy Upton was so insulted by the contest that she entered by submitting parody photos of herself eating and being surrounded by high-calorie foods. Her contest entry at says: "I just can't stop eating." Her parody entry has been so successful that she may even win the poll.

Upton's Tumblr site, dedicated to her competition entry, says: "My name is Nancy Upton. I'm a size 12 and wanted to show American Apparel my fresh face (and full figure)."

Some of the pictures show Upton in suggestive poses (see here). In one, she is in a bath full of ranch dressing and, in another, lying naked on a bed of lettuce and with an apple in her mouth.

Nancy Upton

"I don’t believe that beauty should be qualified as BECAUSE of someone’s size or IN SPITE of someone’s size. Beauty is beauty, it’s fluid, it’s objective and it doesn’t need to be justified to or by anyone," wrote Upton on her blog.

Ranch dressing: The risque shots are deliberately suggestive and sexualised

"I most certainly would not model for American Apparel, because (pretty obviously) I don’t agree with their business practices. I also would not expect to be asked to do so, even if I receive a majority of the votes (something I never planned on)."

"That being said, someone will. While I disagree with the message American Apparel is sending in the way they handled this competition, other people do not... And I respect that opinion."

Nancy Upton

As of now, Upton is in second place in the American Apparel poll and may win the competition if votes continue to flow her way.