Plus-Size Model Contest Officials Publicly Reject Winner

   By drodriguez  Oct 06, 2011

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?

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AngeloMontana by AngeloMontana | New vegas, IN
Jan 11, 2022
AngeloMontana by AngeloMontana | New vegas, IN
Jan 11, 2022

brensmom by brensmom | LOOKOUT, WV
Oct 06, 2011

Let me preface with the fact that I am definitely not a small girl. While I agree that American Apparel did not use the most eloquent words to market to a new audience I have heard worse. The thing here that seems to be the most disappointing is the way in which American Apparel reacted. Bravo Upton for sticking up for women! I will think twice before purchasing anything from American Apparel again!

Mika_says by Mika_says | Lilburn, GA
Oct 06, 2011

I would say Iris Alonzo is the first woman that I've ever called a douche and I hope you forward our comments to her. It's too bad that she is so out of touch with the people her company is trying to market their products to. Nancy is fantastic (though I don't consider her plus sized) and good for her for sticking up for people who have no voice. You don't have to make up stupid and offensive pet names for overweight women Iris, grow up.

pinkadidas178 by pinkadidas178 | Black Diamond , WA
Oct 06, 2011

It's so funny how they sent out that rejection letter then started being nice to her after they were probably bashed for treating her the way they did when it came to winning. It's amazing how fake a company or person can be when the public pushes them to do what they should've done in the first place. What happened to being Genuine. They deserve the wrath they get for what they did.

enchantinglight by enchantinglight | Sunbury, PA
Oct 06, 2011

Good for her! She is entitled to her opinion and apparently others agreed with her! I also was offended by the wording, "the next BIG Thing" and honestly don't know that I like hearing any sized woman being called "bootylicious". What about treating women with respect and not like a piece of meat?

didama by didama | MAPLEWOOD, NJ
Oct 06, 2011

Shame on American Apparel & good for this offended consumer for speakingup. Understand AP is an edgy brand but sensitivity is critical.

jkallsen by jkallsen | Clemmons, NC
Oct 06, 2011

Bravo Nancy!! I find the next big thing offensive.

MissyDeelicious by MissyDeelicious | Lebanon, MO
Oct 06, 2011

sorry to tell her but size 12 isnt plus sized...lmao!

Kay3131 by Kay3131 | New York, NY
Oct 06, 2011

Bravo Nancy Upton! American Apparel should try to merit plus-sized business by manufacturing quality, competitive garments - - because they do not have any skin-in-the-game of the Entertainment Industry.

emimorgan by emimorgan | Pittsford, NY
Oct 06, 2011

good for her