Lizzie, a.k.a. Sailor Rose, is one of my favorite BBW models along with Plump Princess. Because I really haven’t gone into much detail regarding the BBW community, I will do so now. BBWs (or Big, Beautiful Women) are those plus-size ladies who are openly proud of their pudge and often model online. Their modeling is usually for the world of cyberspace as they are often considered too big to be “regular” plus-size models. Lizzie for instance, models for VaVaVoom BBWs, a BBW modeling site founded by Reenaye Starr (a 400-pound model, blogger and webmaster).
On a sexual level, the acronym BBW is commonly used to describe women who get turned on by being big, and consider their chunky bodies incredibly hott. However, all it really stands for is big, attractive ladies, and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with sex or fat fetishism or morbid obesity (though, of course, it can). The term itself was actually coined by Carole Shaw, the founder of BBW Magazine in 1979, one of the longest-running plus-size fashion magazines out there.
Going back to Lizzie, the punk-chic English beauty whose career as a BBW is relatively new, she’s a great example of a BBW model who loves her body and has no qualms with showing it to the world. The start of her modeling career is explored in the documentary My Big Fat Fetish. The documentary is a decently un-biased look at the BBW world — from those who are simply chunky and love it, to those who actively gain weight for modeling/sexual purposes as well as a look into the modeling industry as a whole. In the film, Lizzie is only having her first photo shoot with Reenaye, but it’s really interesting to watch them work. Both ladies are extra large and lovely, and seem totally confident in their bodies. Reenaye has no problem taking off her shirt, and Lizzie poses proudly and porkily in front of the camera. Reenaye dubs Lizzie “Sailor Rose”, and chooses to launch her career due to her unique, rocker-esque look which includes piercings, big, funky hair and a general 80s grunge feel to her overall aesthetic.
I’ve brought this all up for several reasons: 1: The BBW world has been growing (no pun intended) online for years, but doesn’t really have much exposure anywhere other than on the sites dedicated to it. Because I focus on plus-size news, fashion, celebrity and lifestyle, I think it’s really important to send a shout out to those ladies who, despite not being too known by anyone other than their immediate fans, are doing something pretty awesome. They’re taking the “radical fats” idea that Bethany Rutter proposed in the Huffington Post article and bringing it to new heights. Not only do they wear whatever they want, they put themselves in an extremely vulnerable position and model for a world that’s still very skinny-centric. It’s pretty impressive. 2: Tomorrow I am doing my very first photo shoot…ever. Jay Ehrnstrom of Jay Photographics will be taking some pictures of me for my “Positively Plus” section of Big&Beautiful&Bold. The problem is that I’m super camera shy. I clam up in front of a camera, and so in light of this I’ve turned to the BBW models who are ridiculously confident and beautiful and light up when being photographed. 3: While I think that plus-size models (meaning those a bit over a size 12) are becoming more popular and renowned in recent years, I think BBWs still have a long way to go before they have the recognition that Tara Lynn or Whitney Thompson have. But if we slowly start acknowledging that they exist, and that what they are doing is seriously big and beautiful and bold, we might be helping them come out of the internet shadows and a smidge more into the public stratosphere, or at least the blogosphere.