Social media users sound off in support of plus size models

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The battle is old, but the weapons are new.

Across the Internet and on social media, hashtags like #droptheplus and #effyourbeautystandards are popping up. Many people are urging the fashion industry to include women of all sizes in ads, magazines, and on fashion runways.

Two young women from Texas are joining the fight, but they come from different sides of the issue.

As a teenager, Natalie Torres' dream was to be a model.

"You need to lose six inches off your hips," is what she said talent agents told her.

"For a 15 or 16 year old, it really tore me apart and it made me feel really bad about myself," Torres said.

She pushed herself hard at the gym and just as she was about to give up, an agency in New York signed her. The only catch is that at a weight many consider normal, she was labeled plus sized.

"We pretty much do the same job as any other model. We shouldn't be labeled," Torres said.

Now, she and others are fighting back with social media hashtags.

She joined #droptheplus, which has gained steam in the last six months. Another trending topic is Eff Your Beauty Standards, started by another model earlier this year.

Plus sized retailer Lane Bryant has recent campaigns with the slogans #ImNoAngel and #PlusIsEqual.

Torres says a change in the industry will help slender models as well.

"They are so skinny and they will airbrush out their bones and give them abs and make them look fit," Torres said.

But Dr. Lauryn Lax, the founder of Thrive Wellness and Recovery, thinks there is more to the solution than labels.

"It's not talking about internally how we feel about ourselves. It's still talking about what we look like on the outside, and if that's our barometer for happiness with ourselves... it's never going to be enough," said Lax.

Lax speaks from her own experience. At age 23, she weighed just 79 lbs.

"[I was] really on death's doorstep," Lax said. "Body image was a huge part of what set my eating disorder off."

After a 14 year struggle with an eating disorder, today she is thriving and helping others. The message she hopes to inspire is that it is all about one's mindset.

"Just realizing everybody is different," Lax said.

That's something that Torres also hopes will catch on.

"Hopefully within the next five years it won't even be a question. Girls will see all types of girls in the magazines. And that's the goal," Torres said.

For more on Natalie Torres, follow her on Instagram at @nataliemartintorres
For more on Dr. Lauren Lax, visit her website
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