I flippin’ love this woman. Sick of American Apparel's gratuitous use of sexual imagery and fixation with skinny bishes (plus, as she puts it the ‘skeevy stare of its hipster CEO’, the infamous Dov Charney) when Nancy Upton saw American Apparel were running a contest for 'booty-ful’ (puhleeez) plus-sized models, she decided to enter its 'Next BIG Thing’ contest as a joke, and won. The images speak for themselves - Nancy wasn’t having any of American Apparel’s sudden marketing of itself as a paragon of plus-sized empowerment, so she took 'em down the best way she knew, with satire. 

Nancy’s photos are hilarious and make a mockery of American Apparel and its ridiculous marketing tactics, but as she points out, there is a serious point in all of this. AA is near bankruptcy. Its myriad overpriced lycra abominations - marketed to only the sveltest of all young women through of soft-porn advertising campaigns - are not selling well. The 'Next BIG Thing’ contest and AA’s sudden warmth towards women size 12 and above (who Dov Charney has always previously shunned, claiming plus-sized women are “not our demographic”) is surely a desperate, cynical move to broaden its market and thus claw in the dollar it so desperately needs. But Nancy Upton wasn’t having any of it. 

I was recently asked, “Why are you making a statement about American Apparel? Why not Dove, or another company that has made a famous plus-sized campaign push?”

Here’s why.

The blatant, sloppy attempt to lazily win over the hearts of women who, because of their size, already face daily struggles to defend their looks and physical behavior.

The insinuation that the only way a fat girl could win a “beauty contest” was if a company with American Apparel’s street cred deemed it hip or fashionable.

The idea that someone must be a “fan of full-sized fannies” to even recognize a redeeming quality in women size 12 or above.

The unstated yet apparent belief that fat women can’t be noticed on their own merits.

And the message that a subservient, nearly naked woman has always earned a place in American Apparel’s advertising with no trouble, but that larger women need to vote each other down and compete against one another to even deserve a chance.

THAT is why American Apparel.

I have so much love for Nancy and her photos. I’m glad that someone had the guts and intelligence to challenge American Apparel’s cynicism with creativity and humour. But at the same time it mustn't be forgotten that countless women entered the contest with the genuine hope of winning an unpaid photo-shoot (how insulting) with the skeeviest of companies. I just hope more women (and men) learn to challenge AA and its desperately hackneyed 'sex sells’ vision of fashion. 

Nancy Upton's "Plus-Sized" Rebellyon

This is Amanda Palmer’s latest blog post talking about Nancy Upton, the woman who took the offensive wording and approach in American Apparel’s “plus-sized” model contest campaign and lambasted it hilariously and gorgeously, and I really feel like it’s worth seeing on tumblr. It’s just…fucking amazing. Read on. 

you guys will love this one.

nancy upton, a chick who’s got a dresden dolls’ heartplane logo and the lyrics JUST SING from “sing” tattooed onto her forearm, made national news this week, after winning an american apparel model-search contest for “plus-sized” girls. she found the wording of the contest really patronizing, so she responded by sending in hilarious and surreal high-glam photos of herself stuffing her face & bathing in a tub of ranch dressing.

she won the contest (by popular vote, i assume) and american apparel were appalled that her cheeky photos had won. they sent her an email rejecting her, telling her she basically wasn’t the girl they’d been fishing to find…and going so far as to say they wanted someone who “exemplified beauty inside and out.”

the photos are amazing, and the nancy herself seems pretty amazing as well. when the news story first hit me, i was terrified that she would be one of those indignant fuck-you girls….she’s not, she’s hilarious, smart and all about the fucking love. watch this story/interview of nancy on “the today show”:

here are some the photos in question, taken by shannon skloss (located in dallas, tx). the top one shows off her dolls tattoo. HOT.

(and may i join in with this classic number from the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book? i mean, it’s appropriate. nicholas vargelis took it. it’s called “VEGAN”):


when i see things like this, i feel like we really are winning a fucking battle.

here’s a girl who sees a problem, and instead of bitching and moaning about it, she makes art. funny art. then she gets on national television and talks in a calm, humorous way about how we’re all beautiful. 

this is the way we win. this kind of action gets you miles further than bitching and complaining endlessly on the internet about how life (or the the beauty standard or…anything) is unfair. that shit honestly just doesn’t work. it doesn’t change things. it just adds negative smog to the already clouded airspace.

but doing this….this changes things. in a real, good way. i hope teenage girls all over america saw her on TV and realized they’re not just hunks of flesh in a demographic, but human souls with unique shapes that cannot be dismissed and stuffed into a teeny box in a corporate marketing meeting. 

it makes me burst with fucking pride that this girl is a tattooed dolls fan. seriously. RIGHTEOUS.

and whether nancy takes the job with american apparel or not is beside the point. i think she just deserves a massive high-five for what she’s done, period…story continue as it may - this chapter is a win.

and i hope she shares what she’s about to learn, going into “the belly of the beast”, as she calls it. watch out for her…we tweeted back and forth (she's @nancyupton) and told her she’s totally got a job modeling amanda palmer merch for next years line of fashion must-haves. 

fuck, i’ll design a whole new line for her.
or maybe she’ll be the poster model when i FINALLY put out my perfume, “Fucking.” seriously. girlfriend is gonna put us on the map.

nancy upton, you exemplify beauty. inside and out. 

i’ll send her the link to this blog, so if you have anything to say to her, post it in the comments.


p.s. here’s some rebellyon bellies….just to make you happy for a second. if you’re new and you missed all that…go read the blog on it.

**Emphasis mine.

This is just…both AFP and Nancy say exactly what is needed to be said. And I absolutely love it. I love that someone can bring attention to such a fucked up and perpetuating issue by creating art that makes people NOTICE and stand up, instead of defensively bitch about their own narrow views being violated. And I hope that in that meeting Nancy Upton gives American Apparel really something to talk and think about, and seriously reconsider their misrepresentation of the American woman. 

American Apparel can suck it.

Nancy Upton, the gorgeous prankster who satirized American Apparel’s condescending search for a plus-sized model with smutty and silly overindulgence photos, actually won the online contest! Then American Apparel acted all American Apparel and wouldn’t recognize her victory, even though she had the most votes.

Her tumblr:

Of course she was doing it to counter the belittling statements of American Apparel’s search of a plus size model. And when she won, AA retorted with the most unprofessional manner in both denying her clear victory and in personal letters.

External image

Fuck that shit. She’s gorgeous even with her ‘silly’ photos.
"Woman Who Made Fun Of American Apparel Contest Wins, American Apparel Act Like A Bunch Of Babies"

Nancy Upton, the gorgeous prankster who satirized American Apparel’s condescending search for a plus-sized model with smutty and silly overindulgence photos, actually won the online contest! Then American Apparel acted all American Apparel and wouldn’t recognize her victory, even though she had far and away the most votes.

External image

External image

fuck you American Apparel!

Lolz, people keep thinking that picture of Nancy Upton, the girl from the "Boycott American Apparel" note, is me.

I gotta say, it’s really flattering. I respect her so much as a human being, and she’s gorgeous. <3 If you’d like to follow her, her tumblr is here. For the post I’m referring to about what these pictures are and why she is my latest hero, click here.

Now, enjoy more pictures of the magnificent Ms. Upton!

External image

External image

External image

External image

External image

External image

A Plus-Sized Model Search Gets Punk’d

 Taps Tumblr to parody American Apparel contest

When American Apparel launched its plus-sized model search (with the somewhat tone-deaf title “The Next BIG Thing”), it got more than it bargained for in Nancy Upton.

A 24-year-old student with a pretty face and luxuriant size 12 physique, Upton had never been a fan of the hipster clothier, renowned for its slim-fitting togs and the off-color antics of its CEO, Dov Charney. But something about the call for “booty-ful” girls spurred her to action. Upton entered the contest, but only to parody the company’s iconic soft-core image.

“It’s really tacky, poorly done, offensive, and demeaning,” she tells Adweek. “So I took that tone of theirs—’Hey fat people, you can play too’—and used it as an inspiration for my photos.” Shot by a friend, Upton poses bathing in ranch dressing, pouring chocolate syrup into her mouth, and stuffing her face with chicken in a pool.

When Upton posted the pictures, which manage to be both sexy and satirical, to her tumblr (, the Internet took notice. With help from the sympathetic blogosphere, Upton had by far the most votes at AA’s website by the close of the contest last week.

The company did not immediately return calls for an interview, so it remains to be seen if Upton ends up winning. At least for her part, she says she’d turn down the contract.



Plus-Sized Lady Mocks American Apparel’s XL Model Contest

Very intrigued by this story (as an amply proportioned woman) and the response by Nancy Upton who also has her own tumblr page (That’s not our demographic).

“Think you are the Next BIG Thing?
Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up. Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL! Show us what you’re workin’ with!”

Nancy Upton’s decided to their lack of respect for plus-sized women and she says in response to their:

“Hey, come on, fatties, we want you to play, too” tone, wouldn’t it be kind of brilliant to respond in a, “Thanks for letting me play, just let me try put down the pizza, first” similar mocking tone.

You can see the photos she took for the competition on the link. She got the most online votes but didn’t win. Thanks for kicking ass for us “plus size” women out there Nancy.
Breaking: American Apparel responds to Nancy Upton, is shitty.

I got CC’d on an email that American Apparel sent to Nancy Upton in response to her protest campaign over AA’s plus-sized model search. I was a little surprised by it, mostly because the tone is pretty firmly in the “you know what, you suck!” camp, and that’s not how corporate press releases tend to read, when they’re responding to their critics. But cool. I’m not too worried about journalistic objectivity in this one, since the positions put forth are basically “American Apparel did this marketing campaign that I found offensive and responded to creatively” versus “And boy is she a jerk for it.” I like Nancy Upton, and I didn’t read anything in the response from AA that countered any of her points – just the usual shit about how she should get a sense of humor (said to the young woman whose photos included ranch dressing jizz shots!); how she was insulting the women who really “put themselves out there” (like a photo showing off her belly fat while pouring chocolate syrup down her throat was totally harmless); and how American Apparel creates jobs, so all of the people who pay their bills sewing those plus-sized clothes are really disappointed in Nancy.

Read the full response, and my analysis of it, over on CultureMap.

Watch on

“American Apparel’s plus-size contest winner is minus prizes” …. I really admire this woman. Definitely recommend watching the video to get the full story.