These days, the term "plus-size" seems to be assigned to models with the slightest of curves, but it turns out there's a reason for distinguishing between straight-size and plus-size in the industry.
Jennie Runk, H&M's now-infamous plus-size swimwear model, broke it down for everyone in an essay she penned for BBC:
"While the idea of separating women into size categories seems stigmatising, clothing companies do this in order to offer their customers exactly what they're looking for, making it easier for people of all sizes to find clothes that fit their bodies as well as their own unique stylistic expression."
At 5 feet 9 inches, Jennie herself maintains a US size 10. She writes that she was asked to either lose or gain weight when she was discovered in order to fit into the fashion industry's bilateral system (she chose the latter). Aside from gaining weight, some other plus-size models have reported using padding to look "big" enough for clients. This extreme positioning doesn't always bode well for the ladies in front of the camera.
"People assume 'plus' equates to fat, which in turn equates to ugly," Jennie says, adding, "There are also negative connotations associated with thinness. Just as bigger women get called fat or chunky, thin women get called gangly or bony."
With size 0 and size 10 models dominating the pages of fashion glossies (with the former in the lead by a mile), will there ever be a place for an average-size model who doesn't have to gain or lose weight to maintain a career?