In the modeling world, as in all things, trends come in go. If there is no industry that is more fickle, constantly changing and always looking for the next big thing, it is modeling.
In an industry that values body types, looks and visual presentation, modeling is like the proverbial chameleon of always changing. Whether it is the small and petite models of the 1940’s such as Lisa Fonssagrives—widely credited as the first-ever supermodel—Dorian Leigh, Suzy Parker and Audrey Hepburn.
The industry would continue to evolve from the the early glamour days of the for mentioned Leigh, Park and Hepburn to the more shapely and curvy models such as Marilyn Monroe and Sophie Loren of the 1950’s and 60’s.
It wouldn’t be until the 1980’s that modeling would enter it’s “Supermodel Era” of modern-day sex symbols led by Cindy Crawford, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Paulina Porizkova, Christy Brinkley, Claudia Schefter, Stephanie Seymour and Cheryl Tiegs, that the industry would ascend towards it’s collective zenith.
After a brief waif-thin era highlighted by Kate Moss and Twiggy in the 1990’s, the modeling world would truly take off thanks to the shapely, curvy yet firm supermodels known as Victoria’s Secret Angels such as Laetitia Costa, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Daniela Pestova, Adrianna Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio in the latter part of the decade and into the 2000’s.
Thanks to a social media-obsessed society more influenced and swayed by body image, likes, tweets and shares, the so-called “rules” of modeling have changed so much that even the extremely cutthroat modeling industry has gradually shifted more towards acceptance towards full-figured “plus-sized” models, unlike years past.
Thanks to the likes of Iskra Lawrence, Jennie Runk, Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley—and a more self-aware society focused more on positive body image—plus-sized models becoming more of the norm, one name who has been turning heads is Bree Warren.
Warren, a native of the eastern Queensland coastal city of Brisbane, Australia, has appeared on the cover of Australian-based health and fitness magazine, Body + Soul and featured in others such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Marie Claire, modeled for brands such as Tigerlily Swimwear, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Saks and most recently Adore Me’s new fitness line, Adore Me Fitness, she is a game-changer in the ever-changing world of plus-size modeling.
To think that not even 25 years ago, you had the likes of the forementioned Klum, Marisa Miller, Elle McPherson and Linda Evangelista commanding runways. Now, you have the likes of the forementioned Lawley, Graham, Lawrence—and now Warren—changing the way we look at models today thanks to appearing in popular magazines such as Cosmo, Maxim, Sports Illustrated.
An avid surfer and athlete, the 5’11 Warren—along with her boyfriend Mitch McCann—are co-founders of the travel blog Wave Provocateur spends her free time traveling to various surf destinations around the world, has already been to 30-plus countries and counting. The 29-year-old brown-haired stunner—who also holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and business management—has modeled globally in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, in addition to contributing to The Telegraph as a columnist, per her modeling bio.
Below is my Q and A with Bree as we discuss the challenges of being accepted as plus-size model, how the modeling industry has come to accept the newest trend and he favorite places to surf and travel to.
Name: Bree K. Warren
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Measurements: 36 C/D-29-43
Robert D. Cobb: As a plus-size model, what has been the easiest and hardest aspect to accept in the modeling world?
Bree Warren: “For me, one of the easiest aspects of my career has been accepting my body and shape. This is the body I was born with and how I have always been, so I found it pretty easy to fit into the industry in that way.
There is a new wave of models who are diverse, confident, and proud, so to be a part of that movement is pretty cool!
The hardest thing to accept in the industry is the fact that so many brands still only work with one body type. It just doesn’t make any sense to only convey one shape in images and campaigns. Size should be a non-issue and diversity should be welcomed by all.”
Robert D. Cobb: As Co-Founder of the travel blog, Wave Provocateur along with your boyfriend, Mitch McCann, what has been the best and most exotic place that the both of you have been to, and why?
Bree Warren: “That is so tough! I have traveled to so many beautiful places, and it’s hard to pick favorites. For me the top three most exotic destinations would be Lombok in Indonesia, Bocas Del Toro in Panama and Chacahua in Oaxaca Mexico.
Indonesia is lush and tropical so staying on the island of Lombok (45 minutes from the nearest shop or village) was magical. You really feel so far removed from the rest of the world.
Bocas Del Toro is this colorful group of small islands near the Costa Rican border on the Caribbean side of Panama. It is only accessible by a tiny plane or boat, so it’s a totally unique travel experience.
Mexico will always be a Wave Provocateur favorite but Chacahua really stands out in my mind. It’s a remote, indigenous community outside of Puerto Escondido that has epic surf and the best local seafood. It was one of my favorite day trips of all time!”
Robert D. Cobb: You have been making quite the name for yourself in the press, in magazines and modeling shoots, which shoot and brand have you enjoying working with the most and why?
Bree Warren: “Swimwear and activewear are my thing! I just shot a campaign with Tigerlily Swimwear, which was one of the first mainstream swim brands to feature a plus-size model. I love the water and practically grew up in a swimsuit, so it’s when I feel most confident. Activewear has a similar effect on me. Wearing it makes me want to be healthy and fit, even if I’m just hanging out at home.”
Robert D. Cobb: What is your opinion on the rise in popularity of “plus-sized models” and will the current trend continue?
Bree Warren: “It is so inspiring! We are starting to see curvy girls on the covers of magazines and in major campaigns without calling it out. That is where we need to be across the board. We, as women are so diverse and that same diversity should be reflected in the fashion industry.
Social media has forced brands to revisit the message they are putting out there and gives women a platform to show their confidence. Why can’t curvy girls model bikinis? We can all wear a bikini at the beach. It’s not just for one size! I am all about appreciating a range of sizes. Being healthy and happy and accepting our bodies for what they are is the trend I want to see continue…”
Robert D. Cobb: Outside of modeling and traveling, what are your hobbies?
Bree Warren: “I come from a very sporty family – my grandfather was an Olympian, my dad was a soccer coach, and my sister and I played basketball.
Growing up, it was normal in my family to play six or seven sports a year. I think that’s why my hobbies now all revolve around fitness and activity.
I like swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, barre class, basketball, and water polo. I don’t mind playing tennis either…although I’m not very good!”
Robert D. Cobb: Any favorite sports teams and clubs?
Bree Warren: “I don’t follow anything religiously, but I love watching Steph Gilmore on the women’s World Tour.
Since I moved to New York, I’ve gotten into ice hockey. I had never seen it before but I went to a Rangers game and now I’m into it!”
Robert D. Cobb: What advice would you give any plus-sized model hoping to break into the industry?
Bree Warren: “First and foremost I would say be yourself and have confidence in your own ability and body. My dad always told me “back yourself”, which has stuck with me throughout my modeling career. If you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will!”
Special thanks to Bree Warren, Shannon Zuber and Katherine Grubaugh of JAG Models for their help and assistance during the Q and A, Images used with permission. Follow Bree on Instagram at @breekwarren and her blog, The Wave Provocateur