New Magazine Aimed at Fuller-Figured Women

July 22, 2002 -- Open a women's fashion magazine and what do you see? Most likely you see a woman whose body type in no way resembles most women's bodies.

That's because nearly 70 percent of the women in this country wear size 12 and above. In the first part of a series called Living Life Larger, Good Morning America took a look at a new magazine called Grace, aimed at the millions of American women who are size 12 and above.

Some argue that women read magazines as a form of fantasy, and that they simply wish they could look as the models do. Grace's editor-in-chief, Ceslie Armstrong, does not entirely disagree.

"In women's magazines, there is certainly a degree of aspiration," Armstrong said. "But we wanted to be honest and address the real needs and wants. So we mixed aspiration and inspiration."

Grace, which debuted in May, is published every other month. It doesn't skimp on stories about fashion and style, but it avoids the diet stories and "how to get firm abs" articles that are common in women's magazines.

Untapped Market

The market for plus-sized women is growing. While retail sales have been flat for clothing in sizes 0 to 12, plus-size sales have soared as much as 18 percent in the last two years, Armstong said.Some designers, including Tommy Hilfiger and Liz Claiborne, address the demand by designing clothing for the plus-size market.

Meanwhile, there are new openings for models — no starvation diets required. Grace's current cover girl Kate Dillon, is one of the world's best-known plus-size models. But she started out on the traditional model's route, and even won the Elite Model Look competition in 1991.

Dillon, who is 5 feet 10 inches tall, was wearing a size 6, but said she was not naturally skinny. When she was a girl, other children called her "Overweight Kate."

After a few years of mainstream modeling, Dillon decided she did not want to submit herself to the unhealthy dieting, and the pressure, so she quit. She then returned to modeling as a plus-size model, and is one of the highest-paid models in the field, now wearing a size 14.

To find out more about Grace, go to