A successful plus-sized model has revealed how she lost modelling work – and many online fans – after she decided to lose weight.
Lilli Luxe, 28, from Ohio, has been modelling since she was just 14 and carved out a lucrative career as a larger model with her curvy 180lbs (12st 12Ibs) body.
However, she decided to lose weight after being plagued by low energy and embarked on a gym and healthy eating regime that has seen her lose 20lbs (1st 6lbs).
While she looks amazing and feels much healthier, Lilli says the warnings she had about being a ‘medium-sized’ girl have proved true, with modelling jobs all but drying up.
Ohio model Lilli Luxe says she lost modelling jobs after she decided to lose weight. Tipping the scales at 180lbs (12st 12Ibs), she now weighs 159lbs (11 st 4lbs) but says her slimmer physique hasn’t been a hit with everyone
At her heaviest, left, Lilli wore a size 20 dress (UK size 16)…and has since dropped three sizes, however, she says her new body (right) has seen her kiss goodbye to lucrative modelling work
Channeling Hollywood icons such as Bridget Bardot and Marilyn Monroe in photoshoots has seen Lilli build a huge online following. Some fans aren’t happy that she’s decided to shed the pounds however and have unfollowed her
Healthier and happier: Lilli says she’s more comfortable in her own skin since loosing weight and has lots more energy, beating the lethargy she was plagued with
The model says her agency ‘controlled’ her image after she signed with them at just 14. Now 28, she hopes to have more freedom over how her career goes
Inspired by old Hollywood heroines like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, Lilli has created a strong following online of fans appreciative of her retro look.
Her career took off in 2014, when one of her fans suggested she moved into commercial plus-size modelling and she was almost immediately signed by an agency that she sent her photos to.
Her profile soared, but despite this, she felt the conditions that came with the agency meant that they controlled her image.
In 2016, the 5ft 8oin began feeling lethargic and her energy levels decreased due to her lifestyle. She took the risk of revamping her diet and exercise to become more toned which decreased her weight to 159lbs (11st 5Ibs) and a dress size of 10 (UK size 14).
Due to the strict size regulations her agency had, her career suffered after she lost the weight and she began to receive many negative comments from her social media fans who threatened to unfollow her, as they preferred her when she was bigger.
Despite these changes, Lilli says she does not regret her decision to become healthier as her energy levels have sky-rocketed and she feels more confident in her own skin.
‘What really inspired the change was how tired I felt every day; I wanted more energy, I felt so slow and off, not like myself.’
She adds: ‘I had all these cool ambitions and things I wanted to do, but they just weren’t happening because I was so lethargic.’
People warned Lilli her modelling jobs would dry up and she says they’ve been proved right, with phone calls drying up since word of her weight loss has spread
She says of her old body: ‘My energy levels were really low, so I decided to revamp my eating style and get a bit fitter’
Of her pin-up sideline, she says she was surprised how followers loved it, explaining: ‘I liked how good the old-fashioned dresses looked on my curvy body. I began styling myself more into 50s and 60s clothing and taking photos.
It was a risky decision [losing weight] because it meant that I would be too thin to be eligible for plus size modelling jobs and also upset my existing fans…
‘I moved back to Ohio in 2011 after finishing fashion school. In 2012, I began posting my pinup themed photos on social media and created the pinup alter ego Lilli Luxe. It started as a hobby, but my pages quickly grew.
‘In 2014, a fan suggested that I try moving into commercial plus size modelling; it turned out I had exactly the right size requirements and look – so I submitted my photos to a few agencies.
Shortly after being signed, she was heading across the US working for big American companies including TJ Maxx, Rue 21, and Secrets in Lace – but it wasn’t quite as glamorous as she expected.
‘I eventually found out that this work wasn’t worth it because the agency wanted a lot of control over my image and wanted me to get rid of my Lilli Luxe persona and be more girl-next-door.
‘So, I stopped modelling professionally and continued doing Lilli Luxe as a hobby. At this time, I also switched fields in my professional career.
After she decided to go back to being Lilli Luxe, her social media following skyrocketed – but she was determined to shave off some pounds.
Some men were ‘very upset’ after spotting Lilli’s weight-loss, she says, and promptly unfollowed her on social media
Lilli says there isn’t ‘much room in the industry for medium-sized girls like me’
She explains: ‘In 2016, I was a UK size twenty and felt like my energy levels were really low, so I decided to revamp my eating style and get a bit fitter.
‘This was a risky decision because it meant that I would be too thin to be eligible for plus size modelling jobs and also upset my existing fans.’
Lilli says that her first step was documenting the food she ate daily to calculate how many calories she was consuming, which added to 3,500 a day which shocked her into changing her lifestyle.
She now cooks her meals which she prepares every Sunday to last her the rest of the week to avoid the temptation of picking up takeaways.
I got messages from men that said: ‘I like you better thicker. Unfollowed’
Since her new diet and going to the gym four times a week, overall she has received positive comments from her followers, although there are some who preferred her previous shape, that have turned their back on her.
‘I got many messages from followers who told me they were ‘unfollowing’ because I was losing too much weight, and sure enough – the modelling jobs dried up,’ Lilli said.
‘I got messages from men that said, ‘I like you better thicker. Unfollowed’, ‘Why did you lose weight? You’re losing your curves’, and ‘I thought you liked being bigger, doesn’t this go against body positivity’.
Lilli strikes a glamorous pose as she looks now after losing 20lbs in weight
The model has forged a successful online career by channeling her idols Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot in photos
Healthier and happier, Lilli says she’s pleased she no longer has to bow to the pressure of an agency
‘It didn’t seem like there was much room in the industry for medium sized girls like me. Ultimately, I felt good about my decision to lose weight because it was something I did entirely for myself and my health.
‘Now I know this had a lot to do with what I was eating. I felt really inspired to educate myself to learn how to cook healthy food that was actually tasty, because all the ‘healthy’ food I had was pretty gross.
‘Everyone I date loves my curves and I love my body. People say, ‘You have such lovely curves’, ‘Your body is perfect’, etc.
‘When I first started losing weight it was a good way to find out who my true allies were. On social media, some men were very upset and unfollowed me because they liked me plumper.
‘But other ones, the true fans, were very encouraging about my journey and my desire to improve myself. I am grateful for those ones.’