-- Candice Huffine always knew she wanted to become a model. Little did she know that she’d one day make history as one.
“There’s nothing like opening a magazine, or watching television, or looking at a billboard and being like wow you know what, she reminds me of me,” Huffine says on an episode of ABC Radio’s “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis”.
The former pageant girl promptly took matters into her own hands at 15 years old, when she decided to take a trip from her Maryland hometown to visit modeling agencies in New York City. Huffine came face to face with rejection on her first day there, with some agencies asking her to consider losing 20 pounds.
“This really eye opening reality sort of hit me in that, I can’t be a model I suppose because my body was not those ideal measurements” Huffine tells Jarvis.
Reminiscing on her 15-year-old self, Huffine remembers feeling discouraged and ready to head home. Her mom had another idea, and instead encouraged her to stay in New York for just one more day. It was on that second day that Huffine landed a life-changing opportunity and was signed as a plus-size model.
Huffine was surprised to learn that this separation for plus-size models even existed, telling Jarvis, “I wasn’t afraid to tell friends that I had just gotten this contract as a plus-size model at this new agency. To me it meant no different.”
In 2011 she landed on the cover of Italian Vogue, and in 2015 became the first plus-size model to be featured in the revered Pirelli Calendar. Her childhood dreams had come true, but Huffine was also breaking barriers one picture at a time, redefining the terms of what it meant to be a high-fashion model.
“We’re blurring the lines. That’s been the point for a very long time is blurring those lines, because it gets very confusing and I think frankly damaging,” Huffine says.
But lately she’s being recognized for another endeavor: Project Start, an initiative she created with Women’s Running Magazine to encourage women to run.
For Huffine, running began as a dare from her husband but as soon as she started she realized that “there is so much that running brings to your life outside of just covering distance.” Huffine completed the New York City half marathon in 2016
“I really just wanted to encourage women to start their journey, or restart their journey and know that they absolutely can,” she added.
Today, Huffine has become a role model for young women everywhere. “Our world is made up of so many different kinds of women and it’s time that others get to see that so that they feel represented.”