Otterbein Senior Breaking the Beauty Standard Boundaries with Professional Modeling

Posted Jul 26, 2021

By: Catie Duzzny ’21 

After five years of being a part of the modeling industry, Otterbein University senior Brea Galvin got the opportunity of a lifetime — to work with fashion retailer, Express, as a plus-sized model. Galvin, an advocate of the body positivity movement, is pursuing a career in modeling while double majoring in public relations and health communication and minoring in marketing at Otterbein.  

Growing up, Galvin was inspired to enter the modeling industry because of her mother who has been a model for 30 years, as well as plus-sized models in the industry like Ashley Graham, who broke and continues to break the industry’s normal beauty standards.  

When Galvin auditioned for the modeling role, she was only one of two plus-sized models in the in room. In a room of around 100 girls from all different backgrounds, she was unsure she would get the role because of her size. When she got the call confirming she was one of the finalists, she was overwhelmed with emotion.  

“Modeling for Express was such a surreal moment; I never thought that would happen for me. It feels great seeing the positive reactions from everyone and feeling like I inspired people around me to learn to appreciate their bodies like I appreciate my own curves, thick thighs, and stretch marks,” said Galvin.  

Brea Galvin '22
Brea Galvin ’22

Today, having representations of all shapes and sizes is necessary. Galvin’s modeling is motivated by spreading body positivity, inspiring women to love their bodies, creating change in the modeling world, and representing a realistic body type that is not often shown in advertisements.  

The Express campaign Galvin was selected for is the launch of a new jean line called the Flex-X. These jeans are made for women of all shapes and sizes; they can stretch up to three sizes.  

“I want to inspire and represent curvy women everywhere — helping others to learn to love their bodies instead of criticizing them. I want them to see this jeans campaign and think, ‘My body looks like hers, I can wear these jeans too.’ I want them to feel as confident as I do in these jeans,” said Galvin.  

Working in an industry where not all brands are inclusive and accepting of plus-size models, Galvin has hope that the modeling world will make more positive changes.  

“I hope to see it continue to grow. I think there’s a lot of women out there who are gorgeous, who are confident, but never take the chance to embrace their curves. I think that if more women could take their confidence and embrace their bodies, then the industry would grow and we could see way more equal representation, especially on big campaigns,” said Galvin.  

This modeling opportunity was not Galvin’s first; she has also modeled for Macy’s, Swim Outlet, Kroger, Wendy’s Bridal Show, and Columbus Fashion Week. She hopes to continue her modeling career and work with many other clients, including Express. 

In addition to her modeling work, Galvin is currently an intern for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), where she has used her public relations skills to help develop and run a youth support group discussing mental health. After Galvin graduates in May 2022, she hopes to continue modeling and pursue a career in the healthcare or fashion industry.