Georgia Pratt is a Kiwi model living the dream in New York City. But the 24-year-old, who is also a fledgling fashion designer, isn’t waifish or stick-thin. She’s 1.8m tall, a US size 16 and a successful plus-size model.
“When I first got here, the plus-size division had always been super commercial with e-commerce and everything,” she says via Skype from The Big Apple, which is in the grips of a heatwave. “But now, a lot of the girls are doing amazing editorials and becoming more a part of the fashion industry than the advertising industry.” The idea of plus-size modelling is a new concept for New Zealand, says Pratt, who has been living in New York for about 18 months. Until now, there haven’t been enough people or a market to make it viable. There is, she says, a really big conversation right now about fashion diversity. If you don’t fit in to the fashion model sizes – zero to four – you are considered a plus-size model, she explains. “So it’s nice to know that there are girls who make so much money as plus-size commercial models, which is amazing. All of the top earners at Ford are plus-size girls. “It’s crazy it’s such an in-demand thing,” adds Pratt who was signed with Ford models and is now with Muse Model Management.
In 2012, before she left for New York, Pratt was working at Miss Crabb as designer Christine Crabb’s right hand woman in the design room. Pratt had just finished studying fashion at AUT and was hired by Crabb to run the workroom while she went on maternity leave. “I think there’s a sort of genius to her [Crabb’s] work and people who know it really respect and become loyal to it. No one else I know makes clothes like her.”
Before Pratt left for New York, she and her friends designed a small collection for a runway show at Flagship Studio in Auckland. And when she indicated to Crabb that she was planning to move to New York to pursue modelling, Crabb offered to put her favourite pieces from her label into the Miss Crabb store on Ponsonby Road. When she got to New York Pratt thought she would leave design alone for a while and simply reflect on it. But she has since set up a sewing machine and work station. “I’m kind of getting back into the ‘I need to be making stuff, I need to be putting stuff out’ [frame of mind]. Now, looking forward, the modelling and the design stuff do go hand in hand. “I’ve realised it’s a really good idea for me to sit back and observe a little bit. The industry is quite interesting over here.” At the moment, she’s working on a denim hat collection for summer.
In terms of body image, Pratt is rock solid. Comfortable. At school, she loved physical education, nutrition and learning how the body works. She was shocked to learn that this year, PE had been taken out of the school curriculum in America and she’s supporting a friend working to have it reinstated. When it comes to diversity and beauty, Pratt says there is a changing perception and a more rebellious view. The industry is steering away from what’s predictable.“It did take a while for me to embrace my body but when I did, everything became easier and I realised bodies are bodies, no matter what shape or size they are.”
Words: Rosie Kelway
Photography: Lily Cummings