TORRID FACE: Georgina Burke has been named the first face of Torrid, the 236-unit retailer serving shoppers sizes 12 to 28. The 23-year-old Australian plus-size model will make her debut in images within Torrid’s swimsuit catalogue, in its store windows and on its Web site. When her agent called her with the news that she’d scored a one-year deal with Torrid, Burke said, “I kind of freaked. It was just so exciting. A plus-size model going under contract with a brand hasn’t happened for years, and it couldn’t be with a better company.”
This story first appeared in the February 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Liz Muñoz, senior vice president of product development at Torrid, detailed that Burke’s confidence, her enviable curves and the fact she’s not ubiquitous, at least not yet, appealed to Torrid. “I personally had not seen her in a ton of things and that was part of what we thought was interesting and exciting. In the plus-size world, there are not a ton of models and what sometimes happens is you see the same girl over and over. We wanted to find someone newer and fresher that we could make our own,” she said.
Burke wears one-pieces, bikinis and tankinis — her favorite is a red polka-dot tankini — in Torrid’s catalogue of swimsuits. The catalogue stands in marked contrast to Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue that will release its 50th edition this month. “It’s not your typical catalogue,” said Burke. “Sixty-eight percent of women in America are over size 12. Why can’t we be put in the magazine as well? Who’s to say we aren’t good enough to be in there? What’s wrong with putting me as the face of a company or using us [plus-size women] in a magazine or putting us out there in a fashionable way?”
Burke is hopeful she can leverage her work with Torrid to be put out there more. “My dream was always to be a weather girl. When I first started, I thought, ‘I’m going to use this to be a weather girl,’” said Burke, who was discovered about four years ago at a fashion event in her hometown of Brisbane. “Of course, though, every model’s dream is to be in Vogue, but, basically, if I make some women feel great, I’m doing my job.”