Before she became the face of plus-sized modeling, Kate Dillon had a “nontrivial eating disorder.” A size 4, she was highly sought for “normal” modeling gigs thanks to her beautiful face, but “I felt so fat all the time,” she says in a profile in Vogue. When she got an intestinal virus and someone at work told her she looked great, she quit. “I lost any faith that being pretty or skinny was better than anything else.”
Dillon returned as a plus-sized model with a message: “You can be beautiful and a little bit bigger.” But she was just lashing out through food, she says, which wasn’t much healthier than starving herself. “I used to eat an entire bag of Tostitos. I didn’t know what full was.” So she took another break, started working out, and got a degree at Harvard, and started a program to educate girls in Rwanda. Now she models on the side—but on her terms.