Dallas Woman’s Social Commentary Wins Model Contest

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When American Apparel launched a campaign looking for plus-sized models, it ran a contest called ‘The Next Big Thing.’

Dallas resident Nancy Upton saw that and she was put off by its pitch. But instead of complaining, she entered the contest, playing on the stereotypes as a joke.

“How do they really picture us?” she asked. “Do they picture us sitting around all day being lazy and eating fried chicken?”

The ad said it was “calling for curvy ladies everywhere!”

“You know, ‘bootyful’ or ‘curvalicious,’ as opposed to calling us sexy, or attractive, or beautiful,” Upton said. “No plus sized woman in her right mind would have written that.”

So Upton, who has never modeled before, enlisted the talent of her friend Shannon Skloss to shoot the photographs she had in mind.

“She was like, ‘hey, you want to do it?’ I was like, ‘yeah, sure, let’s go for it. I completely stand behind you,” Skloss said. “We made a list of what order to do  them in, from cleanest to messiest so that way we could just go into each one right away.”

The end result? Outrageous pictures featuring Upton lying naked, face down upon a dinner table, or bathing in a bathtub filled with ranch dressing. Another, she’s sitting in the kitchen covered in chocolate syrup. Another has Upton swimming in a pool, chicken wing firmly in hand.

“I definitely wanted there to be an element of satire and kind of an underlying statement about, like, perceptions of beauty in America; perceptions of overweight people and body awareness,” Upton said.

After American Apparel posted the photos online, Upton ended up taking the top spot in the contest. She would end up winning – the popular vote. The company wasn’t too happy with the outcome.

Upton said they sent her a letter saying, “It’s a shame that your project attempts to discredit the positive intentions of our challenge … and that booty-licious was too much for you to handle.”

The company chose 10 other women to represent its brand. And Upton said she’s OK with that decision.

“I stated pretty blatantly on my blog that if I was asked, I would say no, because I feel if you are going to be the face or the body or the voice of the company, you really should agree with as much as the company’s history as you can find out about, as much as their manufacturing and marketing philosophies and those kinds of things,” Upton said. “I don’t think we would click that way.

But not everyone was OK with American Apparel’s decision, and folks complained. As a way of making amends, the company flew Upton and Skloss out for a tour of its Los Angeles factory.

They’re now back in Dallas, exploring numerous opportunities that have come their way as a result of the pictures.

They’re already working on a book.

Full American Apparel response: 

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/10/dallas-woman-launches-social-commentary-at-american-apparel-wins-contest/ Dallas Woman Launches Social Commentary At American Apparel, Wins Contest — Me and the Chicks

    […] instead of complaining, she entered the contest, playing on the stereotypes as a joke. And she won. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/1… […]

  • bill burns

    Hank Williams is my hero.

    • Roger

      Funny in the USA we have plus sized, thick, BBW etc. An average sized American is considered FAT in most of the rest of the world. These BBW, Plus, thick people are just grossly obese and should be called such.

  • http://fortworthinsight.com/news/dallas-woman-launches-social-commentary-at-american-apparel-wins-contest/ Dallas Woman Launches Social Commentary At American Apparel, Wins Contest « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Go to News Source […]

  • smugliest

    You don’t like “bootylicious”. Other woman do. But you have an opportunity to scold here. Can’t let that go.

  • Robert

    “They didn’t ask for “beautiful”, “Sexy” fat women, because if you’re FAT, you’re NOT “beautiful” or “Sexy””

    Speak for yourself, George.

    • Ed Stark

      George nailed it. Fat is not sexy at all. There’s a class of sexually deviant men who like it, my guess is mommy issues, but it’s not sexy. Women are attracted to other things than looks, which gives fat, undisciplined slobs like you a shot, Bobby. I guarantee every women who is with a fat man would prefer he was fit, even if he was still large.

      • Baccar Wozat

        So because we Fat Admirers are different, we are automatically “deviant” and therefore wrong?

        I say fat is sexy and YOU are wrong.

      • Jean Lyde

        Hey Señor Wozat, it’s cool. Some guys are into all sorts of creepy-freaky stuff, so if fat is what floats your boat (and we know it’s more boyant than muscle), go for it. Speak truth to hygienonormative power!

  • cakedisparity

    I am the 99%. Nancy is hoarding my cake. I’m so mad I’m going to occupy space. And maybe dress up like a zombie.

    • Auntie Christine

      let’s have a contest..submit your photo..I’m betty Nancy will have no problems winning. She’s isn’t a huge tub of goo at all. She’s very pretty..enormous, gorgeous blue eyes..zaftig figure..ever hear of Rubens? i thought not.

      • bubba Jones

        Oh, you mean Rubens Studdard from American Idol?

      • LarryG

        Paul Rubens?

      • Rico

        Nope, she looks like your typical unattractive feminist type searching for social relevance through activism, as a compensating factor to offset her lack of attractiveness to the opposite sex.

  • Jean Lyde

    This is great. We go from heroin-chic and bulimia to excusing and glamorizing the sorts of disgusting and unhealthy behavior that have made us one of the fattest countries in the world (and which drives medical costs up and productivity down). A decade and half ago, not a single US state had an obesity rate over 20%. Now Colorado (at like 18%) is the only state *below* that. Not just one in five people is fat, but one in five is obese! This isn’t right, and someone who’s so fat they take up two seats on the bus shouldn’t be “celebrated” but given help.

    BTW: Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Eating sugar makes you fat. And causes diabetes.

    • dan

      That’s because they redefined what qualifies as obese back in 1998.
      The numbers where to low to scare people into supporting more government, so they simply changed the numbers… instant crisis that needs to be fixed.

      Here’s a few quotes for 1998.

      Under the proposed guidelines, which are to be announced later this month by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 25 million more Americans would be considered overweight — including two baseball third-basemen: Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves and Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles.

      Using the old criteria, the average woman — with a height of 5 feet, 4 inches (1.6 meters) and weighing 155 pounds (70 kilograms) — was considered overweight.

      Under the new definition, that weight drops to 145 pounds (66 kg). A person at the same height who weighs 175 pounds (79 kg) would be considered obese.

      • Jean Lyde

        Do you seriously think we’ve become less fat?

        I was wrong above when I said that Colorado was the only state with less than 20% obesity. This from the CDC: “During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more.”

        From the NYT: “…68 percent of adults and nearly one-third of children are considered at least overweight, with a body mass index of 25 or higher. For a 5-foot-8 person, that would be 164 pounds.”

        There are 195 nation-states in the world (not “thousands” as per Diane Sawyer). Different sites have us ranked differently, but even if we’re “only” 9th, coming after Tonga, Somoa and Malta, we’re still way too damned fat. And celebrating it the way this fat model is is not a good thing.

      • Roger

        5 feet 4 inches and 145 in most of the world is considered FAT, not even normal or average. Hell but I guess thats a starting point.

    • Baccar Wozat

      This has nothing to do with healthy/unhealthy. This has to do with beauty. Keep your medical opinions to yourself.

    • Buddy Lee

      BTW. Eating sugar does nothing…. Eating more calories than you burn makes you fat, and diabetes isn’t caused by being fat, a virus can trigger it faster in some people than a hundred donuts could in a fat person. Don’t repeat what you heard in school it only makes you look stupid.

      And for your information the US is only ranked number 9 in the most overweight population. So get our facts straight.

    • skh.pcola

      Actually, eating more calories than your body burns causes fat…regardless of the source of those calories. But nice try on sounding authoritative and intelligent. You failed.

      • Freedom

        Calories in doesn’t tell the whole tale.

        Different forms of energy (fats, carbohydrates, etc.) are absorbed and processed in different way by the body.
        Some forms of energy more readily convert to fat then others, and some trigger a stronger insulin reaction then others.

        If necessary I can provide you a mountain of links from professional nutritionists, doctors and fitness experts that can clear this up for you if you find it too confusing.

        Nice try on sounding authoritative and intelligent though, you failed.

  • puke

    “How dare people call me fat. That hurts my feelings because I’m fat. Everyone should lie to me and tell me I’m pretty. Sure it’s a lie and unhealthy as hell and I’ll die fat and early, but at least the hate will have stopped.”

    • john

      dear, you control this!!!

  • annon

    If she lost 100 pounds she’s be pretty hot

    • christine

      really, becaues if she lost 100 lbs she’d be 60 pounds…moron.

      • Ed Stark

        She’s way more than 160. That girls is easily over 200 if she’s an inch over 5’9″.

        I don’t think she’d be hot if she lost 100 pounds though, 40-50 would put her in a healthy weight that is incredibly attractive, biologically, to any man with a breeding urge.

        As is, she’s too fat. Only another fatty would declare her otherwise.

      • Bill

        She could lose 30 pounds and she would be hot, hot, hot. More than that is too much.

        That said, I would still hit it. She looks like a hell of a lot of fun.

  • talkingpig

    What about long pig, hater? Hmmm? Think the world rotates just for near or far pigs? Long pig here to clean your house? Is that what you think????

  • peter

    I was obese for years, only when i decided i was going to be at both of my daughters college graduations and walk both of them down the aisle did i lose the weight it took three years and 80lbs. later i am a different human, if i can do it anyone can, no diet, lots of exercise and thinking before eating….

  • Auntie Christine

    I think she has more pizzazz than anyone attacking her..and certainly more than American Apparel. She’s beautiful and gutsy with a great sense of irony .

  • redfish

    This whole thing seems self-indulgent.

    Its true that the fashion industry is patronizing on the whole weight issue. They only show ultra-skinny models, then once in a while, they do a big campaign with fat models to combat the issue — instead of, you know, just choosing normal weight models.

    Then they make the fat models in the shoots look as if they’re skinny models glammed up that have been stretched using Photoshop instead of something natural-looking.

    Most of the public thinks the fashion industry is ridiculous.

    But Nancy makes this into a thing about “a statement about perception of beauty in America.” Ugh. It sounds like she went to art school.

  • SharingNews

    Hilarious! Oh, I love being thick! Pa-Pow! Pa-Pow! Pa-Pow! Women WISH they had my curves (and their boyfriends do, too)! I celebrate them with my extremely successful husband everyday- he has NO complaints. All of my thin friends are single.

  • Jesse

    Mmmm the Bigger the better, I love the sexy lady and would love to see much more on TV in movies and everywhere I can!!! There are more of us that can appreciate these women but society wants them to feel bad about themselves, well society doesn’t rule everything and don’t listen to them, by the way I think Hank Williams Jr. is a great American, Peace!~

  • Jim

    We don’t use the term sexy or beautiful for plus size women (or men) because they are not. Now they can be attractive, even very attractive. But then we say what a shame that they let themselves go so badly, they could have been beautiful. Yes the inside is important, but everyone has an inside, it is the outside that people see first and make their initial opinions. It is the whole person, and being plus size says something about you.
    An alcoholic has to give up drinking, same for the drug addict. But the obese person can still eat, they just have to burn up the calories. As long as you burn more calories than you take in, you will loose weight (at least for 99%)

  • Scudbuster

    Does anyone proof read anymore?

    “She would up winning – the popular vote. The company wasn’t too happy with the outcome.”

    • MichelleOisEvenFatter

      She won the popular vote. She was not the company’s choice. There’s nothing wrong with the phrasing.

      • TC

        They intended to us “wound up, not “would up”. Wich is still wrong because that means to be brought to full tension (like a clock). I would guess that “ended up” is where they were heading. Also, it’s proof-read or proofread, but never proof read.

    • Chip Kochendorfer


  • Robert

    Twistedsis: I was making fun of George’s attitude. I am defending Nancy, not attacking her.

    There is an entire community of people who find larger women absolutely gorgeous. I’ one of them, and I don’t care what anyone thinks of it. And before I get the juvenile schoolyard taunts in reply, my wife and I are a productive family, with kids, jobs ,own our own home, and so on. Not that that should really matter, but I know a lot of people will probably launch cowardly little snide shots at me as a person just for expressing this.

    I’m sick of our stick figure culture. If someone wants to be rail thin then that’s they’re right, and if you find that beautiful, more power to you. I don’t. A lot of guys don’t. I even read an article about a survey that said that most men don’t, but I’ve not been able to hunt it down again since I first saw it.

    I can find this article, though:

    “Study: chubby people live longer”

    In any event, though, it shouldn’t be about how long you live but how much you enjoy your life. If someone is 700 pounds and are happy with who they are, as long as they aren’t endangering anyone else, who the heck is anyone here to tell them how to live? Where do you get off thinking that it’s any of your business?

    I applaud Nancy, and think she’s gorgeous. And I don’t care what anyone thinks of that.

  • Connie

    I am 60 lbs. overweight. I own it, and it’s my responsibilty. I don’t foist it on anyone else and as the CEO of my own company I pay my own healthcare insurance and for my HEALTHY body (my bloodpressure is 115 over 70, my cholesterol is 176 and my blood sugars are good.) To all of you who call me “disgusting” and “Stupid,” at least I will still be successful and self-confident even if I lose my 60 extra pounds. You’ll still be judgemental, shallow jerks.

    • Joey

      I applaud you Connie….My wife is a bbw–Thats big BEAUTIFUL woman for the haters-but she is healthier than anyone i know. She is also a very successful corporate executive and worked her butt off to get there. Not because she was a piece of uneducated eye-candy. She is the sexxxiest woman I know. She carries herself with confidence and conviction and does not care what anyone says. All these idiots on here hating on thick women just hate women in general. Nothing more. They are too insecure that their so called friends will make fun. My friends flirt with my wife all of the time. Wonder why that is? Anyway, just sayin all of us REAL MEN are not haters on big beautiful women.

  • Shelly

    I was told yesterday by a neighbor, to my face, that she didn’t like me because I was fat. She has a bad heart and many fat people have good hearts and it isn’t fair that she has to exercise everyday to keep her heart working and fat people can just lay around and still have a good heart. HOW SICKENING!!! My feelings were too hurt to say anything. I just went home. The truth is I was very thin until I was diagnosed with Lupus and Scleroderma in my esophagus.. I now live on steroids which make me about 40lbs overweight all the time. Without the steroids, my lupus would spiral out of control and my scleroderma would harden my esophagus so much that I would have to be fed with a tube in my stomach. PEOPLE, UNDERSTAND THIS!!! NOT ALL PEOPLE ARE FAT BECAUSE THEY ARE LAZY AND EAT TOO MUCH!! But people who make statements and assumptions like my neighbor are hurtful, ignorant, and rude!!!!

  • Samantha

    She’s beautiful and this is hilarious.

    As for the rest of the comments, everyone needs to get off their high horse about being skinny. There’s absolute nothing wrong with Nancy, nor is there with most people who would qualify as “XL” models, or even wears a size 8, 10, or 12.

    Further, diet isn’t religion (no matter what Michelle Obama says). There’s no moral imperative involved here, and you’re not going to hell if you prefer to eat a cheeseburger than go to yoga class. I hate how the eternal obsession with beauty is taking on a new insidious incarnation as the “cult of health”.

    Of COURSE people have a responsibility to themselves to take care of themselves, but it’s not the black plague, it’s none of your business short of encouraging your own family and friends to be healthy, and I seriously see no signs that Nancy – or anyone else in this video – is neglecting herself to an extent that deserves to be either (a) criticized or (b) put up for government intervention.

    Besides, you say “5%” of people can’t help themselves and everyone else should? Then even by your own rules you should be pleased when that 5% gets to look at some .05% of advertising and discover someone even half their size. Unless you say that it is NEVER acceptable to try and encourage or look positively at someone who is larger than a size 6, you have no call to criticize a one-in-a-million story like this. (One-in-a-million, of course, being much less than 5%.)

    a person who both goes to yoga and eats pie

  • Ed Stark

    Being fat isn’t healthy. Never was, never will be. Being fat is not attractive. No matter how hard you try, men who are attracted to fat women are the minority. It’s human nature. People want to breed with healthy people. Eventually someone may settle, but if you are fat, you are second prize.

    This truth will be unpopular and draw the ire of many men and women who cannot control what they shovel in their mouth and get up off the couch and spend their free time doing something, ANYTHING active.

    • fran

      Ed, you really are sooooo damn stupid!!! If you look at the art world of yester years women were well endowed. You are just another of the ignorant stupid me out there making these comments. Bet your momma and sister were fat, in fact, I willing to be you are as well. Your opinion is unattractive.

      • Ed Stark

        Hey genius, I didn’t say anything about well endowed. If you call the morbidly obese tanks that walk (or don’t walk) around the US today ‘well endowed’ then bulimic women are light framed. My entire family is athletic or active, because my parents didn’t allow us to sit and rot in front of a TV, they both cooked wholesome meals with fresh ingredients, and now I do the same for my kids.

        Don’t be offended because you are stranded on your bed with a laptop and it will require a rescue crew to get you out of the house when you start having your heart attacks, Fran. That’s not my fault. It’s yours. Put down the fork, turn off the TV and go outside.

        Being fat isn’t healthy. Never was, never will be. Being fat is not attractive.

        As I said about drawing ire. I don’t have to tolerate obesity. Your laziness and lack of self control are YOUR problem there, Second Prize.

      • Rico

        Face the facts Fran. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. And if a man says fat women are unattractive to him, that’s the way it is, insofar as his opinion is concerned. And all your wishing, insulting, and denouncement won’t change a thing. All you unattractive women can get together and define for yourself what you THINK men should find attractive in a woman, but it won’t change the fact that most men STILL will find you unattractive. Same goes for good looking women too – they don’t find you attractive either. That’s why you hate them and all the men who find THEM attractive.

  • Kevin

    I love Drudge, so it makes me a troll, however, I thought that these ladies had a terrific sense of humor in the way they sent their feelings and message to the Apparel company. Hats off ladies, humor makes the day better.

  • udo

    Good for Upton. Srew Un-American Apparel. They have no sense of humor and with such a poor PR attitude, no one should buy their lame clothing. You can find just as good at Target or WalMart.

  • Issi

    One of the greatest American curses is the ‘gunt”, a nasty bulge that looks like a woman is hiding a football under their waist of their jeans or overly tight spandex pants. The gunt must be outlawed.

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