Spoof Entry Wins American Apparel’s Plus-size Model Search – but Furious Brand Awards Prize to Someone Else
A spoof photo shoot entered into American Apparel’s plus-size model search has controversially won the competition.
But despite winning the ‘Next Big Thing’ online poll, American Apparel is refusing to offer the 24-year-old the chance to appear in its campaign, and will instead award the prize to another contestant.
Thousands unwittingly voted in favour of blogger Nancy Upton, from Dallas, Texas, who was so insulted by the brand’s search for a face for its new XL line, she protested by submitting a parody entry.
Miss Upton, a U.S. size 12, told The Frisky site how she received a letter from American Apparel creative director Iris Alonzo, informing her of the news.
It read: 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 light-hearted language, and that “bootylicious” was too much for you to handle…
‘While you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company.’
Miss Upton’s entry, in which she posed suggestively with stereotypically high-calorie foods, was one of nearly 1,000 submitted on the American Apparel website.
The photographs were accompanied by a statement that simply read: ‘I just can’t stop eating.’
A blog dedicated to the competition explained how the purposefully mocking pictures were an attempt to highlight her offence at American Apparel’s cattle call approach, and its overt plus-size context.
She wrote: ‘I don’t believe that beauty should be qualified as BECAUSE of someone’s size or IN SPITE of someone’s size. Beauty is beauty, it’s fluid, it’s objective and it doesn’t need to be justified to or by anyone.’
American Apparel launched its ‘Next Big Thing’ competition last month, in its bid to find the perfect U.S. size 12-14 model.
The casting call published on its website read: ‘We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.
‘Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body.’
‘Show us what you’re workin’ with!’
Website visitors were asked to rate entries on a scale on one to five, with one deemed ‘not quite’ and five ‘XLent.’
Miss Upton said on her blog that she did not plan on winning the contest.
‘I most certainly would not model for American Apparel, because (pretty obviously) I don’t agree with their business practices,’ she wrote.
‘I also would not expect to be asked to do so, even if I receive a majority of the votes (something I never planned on).
‘That being said, someone will. While I disagree with the message American Apparel is sending in the way they handled this competition, other people do not… And I respect that opinion.’
American Apparel has seen itself on the receiving end of a string of racial and sexual allegations of late. Its CEO, notorious industry bad-boy, Dov Charney, is a known womaniser and recently revealed to the New York Times that he has aspirations of living a lifestyle similar to that of Hugh Hefner’s infamous 1970s era at the Playboy Mansion.
The move to finally include XL sizes is seen as an attempt to boost the company’s bottom line, after the it announced in April that it may be forced to file for bankruptcy.