When American Apparel put together a contest to find a new model for their latest plus-size line, they weren’t betting on someone like Nancy Upton taking the win. So much so that the company publicly rejected Upton as the winner even though she came in first place.
When the Dallas actress read about the modeling contest she took offense with the way the company described the contest, feeling they were using a patronizing tone – looking for “The Next BIG Thing”, they wanted “curvaceous bods” to participate in a “bootylicious photo shoot”
Rather than ignoring the ads or writing a letter of complaint, Upton decided to enter the contest herself and have a little fun with it. She put together some mocking photos of herself that she felt parodied the way the company described plus-size women. Some of the photos depicted her eating a roasted chicken while lounging in a swimming pool, drenched in chocolate sauce on the kitchen floor, and bathing in ranch dressing in the tub.
Upton recently appeared on the Today show explaining how she never expected to win and was just trying to poke fun at the way the contest was advertised.
In the rejection letter sent to Upton from American Apparel’s creative director Iris Alonzo, she was told that even though she received the most Web votes, she would not collect any prizes. Alonzo wrote, “It’s a shame that your project attempts to discredit the positive intentions of our challenge based on your personal distaste for our use of lighthearted language, and that ‘bootylicious’ was too much for you to handle.”
Since Upton received this letter, American Apparel seems to have softened a bit and has asked her to fly out to their headquarters so she can see their creative process first-hand. They have also admitted that in hindsight, they may consider presenting plus-size fashion a little differently in the future.
What do you think of Nancy Upton’s comedic response to American Apparel’s plus-size modeling contest?
Do you agree with Upton’s feelings that the company was being patronizing to plus-size women or was she overreacting?