Meet the plus-sized model from Bayonne who’s breaking molds

Brittney Holguin is a plus-sized model, born and raised in Bayonne who is breaking molds in the modeling industry. A graduate of Horace Mann Community School and Bayonne High School, the now booked-and-busy local star caught up with the Bayonne Community News.

“I started having an interest in becoming a model at age 13 or 14,” she said. “That started because of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. When I saw that, the first day, I knew that’s what I wanted to be in life.” 

While Holguin did not necessarily look like the models on stage in terms of body shape, and that affected her early on in her journey. 

“At that time, it was just slim figures,” she said. “I was very curvy growing up, so when I saw the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and those models being super skinny, I started to try to form my body into that throughout high school. That was really hard for me because I wasn’t built like that. So I was trying to force my body to be something that it wasn’t because I wanted to do modeling.”

Holguin said that standard for certain body shapes was practically all that was seen as acceptable in the modeling world. That was, until Ashley Graham donned the cover of Sports Illustrated, sparking an effort to highlight different body shapes including models from the plus-sized community. This proved to be a pivotal moment for Holguin. 

“That’s when I knew I could do it,” she said. “And that’s when I started.” 

Striking a pose

Holguin has been privy to a successful modeling career following her launch five years ago, when she was just an 18-year-old graduate from Bayonne High School. She hit the ground running after high school, chasing her dreams.  

“It was a really crazy situation,” she said of the beginning of her pursuit of a modeling career. “In high school, a lot of people didn’t believe in me when it came to modeling. I would tell people that’s what I wanted to do instead of going to college and they would just look at me and be like: ‘Yeah, yeah.’” 

Holguin is proud of her career, looking back at previous modeling shoots.

However, she had the support of her family, which proved to be a key part of her success. 

“My dad actually started my career,” she said. “I sat him down and I told him this is what I really wanted to do. I wanted to start modeling. He said that he knew someone. From there, it just took off. He basic signed me with someone that knew the industry.” 

Following the introduction of Holguin, with a little help from the connection made through her dad to her current modeling agency, State Management New York, she has been with them ever since. 

“My first gig was with Sarah Jessica Parker on Amazon Style,” she said. “I did her shoe line. That was the first, first gig I ever got. I was put on reality TV. I had no experience whatsoever. I was super shaky.” 

On to the next gig

While she was nervous, success with Holguin’s first gig opened other doors for her, including modeling for Target, Wal-Mart, Costco and Peloton, as well as the aforementioned Amazon.

“That led me to Inside Edition and Fox 5 News,” she said. “I did Lane Byrant swimwear for Fox 5. I was filming a lot of reality TV and TV segments.” 

Not only was Holguin thrust into the modeling world, but also quickly adapted to the realm of reality television. 

Holguin has walked the runway modeling garments for Target among other big brands.

“It was great and I really enjoyed it because I felt like my personality was really broadcasted and everyone got to see me for who I am instead of just my face all the time,” she said. “It definitely opened up a lot of doors for me. A lot of people recognized me more and they just enjoyed who I am and my personality.” 

Throughout her career, Holguin has graced shows including Wendy Williams, Project Runway, in addition to the gigs she had with Inside Edition and Fox 5 News. She enjoyed all of it, including her time as a model for the garments designers created on Seasons 17 and 18 of Project Runway. 

She said of Project Runway: “I got a really great sneak peak of everything. It was funny because while I was filming that show, I would know everything beforehand. As they are styling their stuff and doing that, I would pay attention and talk to the designer.” 

From watching TV, to being on it

Holguin grew up watching the show, so being able to be a model on it was surreal. 

“Growing up with the show, it was a really great experience for me because I really got to understand it in a different way,” she said.

All the while, her journey was not only significant to her, but to others as she serves as stunning representation of a plus-sized body making it to the higher echelons of modeling. 

Holguin shows off the garment she’s modeling on Project Runway.

“The plus-sized community really shined on me and on everyone else,” she said. “It made the modeling industry become more aware, more open, more wanting real bodies because not everyone is skinny. And not everyone has the ability to become that. So having the modeling industry really accept more bodies types and people to broadcast themselves and inspire others is really amazing.” 

This was important to Holguin following her own battles with her body shape at a young age. 

“I always say, you’re fabulous at any size,” she said. “It’s really important for me to broadcast that and to stay as natural as possible. I really hope to inspire the next generation, the upcoming generation of younger girls. That’s where insecurity starts at. So for me to be able to be on these billboards and TV shows and these girls see me they can relate to me and my body and stick with themselves and be as natural as possible.” 

Paying it forward

And she looks to give back to the future generations, not just through the televison but in Bayonne and other communities around the state as well, including working with the New Jersey-based non-profit Oasis which aims to provide educational and social service programs that help women enter and succeed in the workforce and help children flourish academically. 

Holguin hopes to inspire younger generations to embrace their natural body shapes and sizes.

“I recently did a fundraiser with a non-profit organization where I donated a bunch of makeup to younger girls who don’t really have a good background or grew up in a hard community. I donated and I spoke to them and we had a really great time just sitting down and talking about their backgrounds and aspirations. A lot of them told me they would want to do modeling. So seeing that, then seeing me being authentic in the way I am, I hope inspired them to take that step into the modeling industry.” 

Holguin looks to keep giving back through similar events as well as continuing to be a positive role model for the plus-sized community in the modeling industry. 

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected]