An interview with Candice Huffine about her career and awesome attitude.
What was the first time modeling entered your mind? Gosh, I have no idea. When I was a kid, I just thought I was adorable, and I always wanted to pose. I wanted to have other people look at my poses, and I wanted a bunch of photos taken of me. I know it sounds so vain, but it was really fun and I loved it.
Certain kids grow up without very much confidence and certain kids just, like, have it. Where do you think your confidence came from? I think it stemmed from my upbringing at home and my mom. We never discussed size or beauty in a way that, like, you shouldn’t feel so proud of yourself or you should feel more proud of yourself or whatever. She told me that I was beautiful and that I could do whatever I wanted to, and if my weight fluctuated — and it certainly did — I didn’t get flack for that.
Were you overweight as a child? I went through a stage where my body was trying to figure itself out and I was growing in one direction before I was growing in another direction. And that’s fine, it happens. My mom didn’t put me on a diet; she didn’t tell me that I needed to make all these drastic changes. The body changes. We just always went with the flow.
When you got into modeling, did you feel like there was special scrutiny on your body?
No, not at all. I was 15 and a size 8, probably because I was tall. But I was signed as a plus model immediately. I didn’t even know that plus modeling existed, so I needed them to explain to me what that was: Another division set up for girls who weren’t a sample size. To tell a 15-year-old she’s plus-size is extremely confusing — especially for me because I was a cheerleader, and I thought I had this, like, very slim, trim body. I didn’t realize this label existed in the modeling world or that I would be tagged with it. But I thought it was great that I could be exactly what I wanted (a model), and I didn’t have to change. I got work immediately.
It’s amazing that being labeled didn’t affect you. Many women are torn apart if they don’t fit into a particular pair of jeans or need to go up a size. The “plus-size” label exists in the modeling industry because the client needs to know what to ask for if they want to hire a model who’s a size 14. So many plus-women are offended that models are being called ‘plus size’. But I think we’ve put a bit too much time and effort, or weight on the term.
Do you feel like it’s becoming an increasingly good time to be a “plus-size” model? Absolutely. Now people are opening their minds, realizing that you can put a plus size model in your advertisement or commercial or whatever, and you don’t even have to draw attention like, “Look what we did! We put a plus girl in there!” And it’s only going to have a positive effect.
What kind of misconceptions do you feel like people have about plus-size modeling? People think we’re unhealthy, plain and simple. And that’s not the case. So whereas on one hand, there’s so much praise and excitement for women like myself or other plus models for showcasing their bodies very proudly, you can’t please everyone. There’s always going to be a small group of people that thinks you’ve just, you know, eaten an entire pizza. It’s not that way.
Well, you look super-healthy, to me. You’re the picture of health. Thanks! We are super-healthy. Plus models that I know are some of the healthiest girls I’ve ever seen. They’re yoga teachers, they eat strictly organic foods, or they’re vegans or whatever. I can’t reiterate enough that this is just the way our bodies are supposed to be. I’m extremely active. You don’t see me dwindling down to a size 6 because my body’s not meant to be a size 6.
Did you start working out when you get into modeling? What’s your motivation? Well, I’ve always been active. In high school, I was a cheerleader. I played lacrosse. It just feels good. It’s not a weight loss thing whatsoever.
Would you be penalized if you did lose weight? Would you get less work? No, there’s work for girls of all sizes. You see a lot of women that are a size 8 working. It just so happens that they’re called “plus-size” models too, and then it gets all confusing.
Speaking of a “plus-size” model who is a size 8, are you technically a “plus size”? Well, yeah. I mean, I am between a size 12 and a 14, and sometimes a store will not carry past a 12. Sometimes they won’t carry past a 10. It’s a very blurred line for which stores I can shop in, depending on how high they go in their sizing. When they don’t carry your size, it takes you out of the store entirely.
Do you ever feel like you have been penalized, in terms of your career, for not being a big enough size? No. I mean, I think that the clients that need me at the size that I am are the ones that will hire me. There’s lots of different girls with different shapes. I mean, I’m not necessarily the same size 12 as another girl that’s on the board, just because we are proportioned differently. I’m not offended or worried that I need to make any changes or anything.