Broad Recognition


Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up: Nancy Upton

According to the LA Times, the average American woman wears size 14 clothing. Almost all advertising, though, features women less than half this size. Los Angeles based company American Apparel, however, recently decided to feature larger models than their usual  HYPERLINK “” half-naked, size zero waifs.

American Apparel called out for “bootylicious” and “booty-ful” “curvaceous” women to submit photos of themselves and asked the public to vote for their favorite models. One plus-size woman, Nancy Upton, was troubled by the campaign and took matters into her own hands. Upton entered the contest with subversive photographs of herself eating. She held a cherry pie to her crotch, poured chocolate syrup into her mouth, and even bathed in ranch dressing. News of her entry buzzed across the Internet, and Upton racked up the most votes of all of the women in the contest.

In a Daily Beast interview, she stated that American Apparel “has always gone above and beyond other companies in objectifying women” (remember their creepy CEO?) and felt that this contest, with all its “overused euphemisms for fat,” was a weak apologist attempt to encourage plus-size women to buy more of their merchandise.

American Apparel, in the end, did not crown Nancy Upton “The Next Big Thing.” Instead, Iris Alonzo, the Creative Director of the firm, wrote an angry email to Upton, stating, “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 ‘bootylicous’ was too much for you to handle.”

Never mind. Nancy Upton is not “The Next Big Thing.” In fact, she’s not a “thing” at all. She’s a person, and as she put it herself, one too  “XLent” for them anyway. Nancy Upton stood up to a world of fashion consumed with curating and objectifying the female body, and that’s why I want to be her when I grow up.

Chamonix Adams Porter is a freshman in Yale College.  She is a staff writer for Broad Recognition.

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