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Has Ajay Rochester Started a Social Movement to Drop the “Plus-Size” Label?

Photo: Laura Wells

Photo: Laura Wells

Model Laura Wells and former The Biggest Loser host Ajay Rochester were at war earlier this week over the use of the “plus-size” label in the modelling industry, and now that another model, Melbourne-based Stefania Ferrario, has chimed in on the topic, we think we could have some kind of inspirational body-image movement on our hands.

It all started when Ajay posted a stomach-baring pic of Laura in The Upside’s latest campaign to Instagram on Sunday, slamming the media, and this article in particular, for describing her as plus-size. “How the FUK can this woman be considered plus size?” She asked.

“Any idea the kind of damage you (the media/fashion industry) do to the minds of young girls by even using those words with a picture like this?” The post continued, “Where is there PLUS of anything. Anything less of her and she’d be a MINUS something. Seriously this is so ridiculous and harmful! This is not empowering anyone labeling her! ‘Laura Wells is proud to be a part of a body positive campaign.’ – shame on you news.com.au it shldnt be an issue at all. #curves #everywoman#beauty #bbw #bullshit”

Laura, who is in the upcoming documentary A Perfect 14, interpreted Ajay’s comment as a dig, and retaliated accordingly. “Work up this morning to tabloid media and quotes from @ajayrochester saying that I am not a plus size model and that I am not empowering anyone,” it read.

“Well this picture serves its purpose. Me on the right a size 14AU (12 US, 16UK) on the left a size 6AU model. Its obvious here the differences. I am a ‘plus size MODEL’ because I am 3-6 sizes larger then industry standard,” the post continued. “Miss @ajayrochester the campaign nor I are #bullshit and the fact you would put that out there is not exactly campaigning successfully or positively for body image diversity.”

Things escalated quickly, with the pair rallying their intentions in a bouncy Twitter convo. Laura admitted she too doesn’t agree with the “title” even though she feels like she empowers people through it, and Ajay tweeted that she felt wrong done by. 

Laura made peace by asking her “friends and followers” to stop getting nasty about the dispute, but it looks like Laura and Ajay’s keyboard battle has just taken a plunge into social-movement territory.

Melbourne-based model Stefania Ferrario posted an almost-nude pic (ala Robyn Lawley) to Instagram this morning, with “I AM A MODEL.” written across her stomach to keep the conversation afloat. “I am a model FULL STOP,” read Stefania’s post. “Unfortunately in the modelling industry if you’re above a US size 4 you are considered plus size, and so I’m often labelled a ‘plus size’ model. I do NOT find this empowering.”

It continued, “A couple of days ago, @ajayrochester called the industry to task for its use of the term ‘plus size’ by making the point that it is ‘harmful’ to call a model of my size ‘plus’ and ‘damaging for the minds of young girls’. I fully support Ajay and agree with her.

“Let’s have models of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and drop the misleading labels. I’m NOT proud to be called ‘plus’, but I AM proud to be called a ‘model’, that is my profession! #droptheplus #ajayrochester”


And so the #droptheplus hashtag was born. We bet Ajay didn’t see that one coming, but we’re totally on board with getting rid of the “plus” label once and for all.