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Men to show off curves

Plus-size men are invited to a #PlusIs Equal casting show – the first of its kind – taking place at The Radisson Red Hotel at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 9 November.

Casting will be from 10:00 to 12:00, followed by the deliberations from 12:00 to 14:00.

The event aims to raise awareness and inspire bigger men to be comfortable and confident in their bodies.

Leonie Andereya, a curator at the hotel, says: “We see this as not only an opportunity to create awareness around representation and equality but to also potentially launch or further someone’s career. If it’s not a modelling career one is after, then it’s the chance to be heard and make history. Every voice counts.”

Andereya explains that there is no specific entry criteria. All over 18s are welcome and there is also no height restriction.

She says it is open to any gentleman who is full-bodied, full-figured or considered larger.

“The campaign is looking for real men. They can arrive dressed in anything they feel comfortable in and no headshots or portfolio shots are required,” says Andereya.

Twelve of the participating men will get a chance to model a new plus-size men’s range designed by a secret designer.

Jade Campbell, a fashion designer and an advocate for plus-size men, says this is an attempt to close the gap on how plus-size women are portrayed and catered for in comparison to men. He says men need their voices to be heard and to be represented in the market.

Campbell says that he was once 28kg overweight and felt frustrated every time he went shopping. He loved fashion but could not find anything to his taste. Campbell learned to be proud of his body and to have a positive mindset. He then scored a rare gig to be a plus-size model and never looked back. As an advocate for plus-size men, his favourite inspirational line is: “If you look good, you feel good.”

He says there are opportunities for men to get recognised.

“We are not seen, nobody sees us. The focus is on women and as men, we need to get the message across,” he says.

TJ Ngoma, actor and body positivity advocate, says there is still a lot that needs to be done to create awareness and build a confident, plus-sized male society. He says even the #PlusIsEqual campaign is mostly supported by women.

Sharing his personal story, Ngoma says he has always been bigger than his peers.

“For example, at the age of nine, I was already wearing a size 13 to 14 years’ clothes. My journey was an up and down one until I got tired and started doing something to change the way I think,” says Ngoma.

He says changing your mindset is a big step. For him, it is not about health, but rather body positivity and self-respect.

“Be the change you want to see, start sharing your images or those of other ordinary men instead of models. By doing so, people will start to admire and respect us for who we are.”

V To attend the casting or for more information, email red@20across.com or visit the #PlusIsEqual casting call event page on Facebook: PlusIsEqual Casting Call.

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