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'Big Sexy' stars hope for large changes in attitudes

Big is beautiful -- at least that's what the stars of TLC's new reality show "Big Sexy" hope they've taught audiences during their three-part series.

Heather Roach (a fashion designer), Nikki Gomez (a plus-size model), Leslie Medlik (a stylist and personal shopper), Audrey Lea Curry (a makeup artist and aspiring plus-size model) and Tiffany Bank (another aspiring plus-size model) were the subjects of the reality series, which premiered on Aug. 30. The show focused on their roles in the fashion industry, which generally doesn't have much room for ladies who dress above a size zero.

 The five women are, in their own ways, bucking the trend and trying to redefine current standards of beauty, and as Bank notes on the on the show, "Once you go big, you'll never go twig." They joined TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on the eve of "Big Sexy's" final broadcast (at least for now) to talk size issues and the challenges they faced not just while making the show, but in everyday life.

"You need to represent different body shapes and sizes and be examples to younger women that there are curvy models out there, and it's OK to be full-figured," said Gomez.

The stars of the new reality show "Big Sexy" talk about working to change the fashion industry's preference for size-zero models.

 But Bank was quick to note that just because a person is a plus-sized model, it doesn't mean they don't have to conform to specific body requirements: "There's a huge misconception in the plus-size modeling world that you just have to be fat and happy with a pretty face," she said. "But there are huge standards and huge constrictions. You have to have certain measurements and be a certain size to fulfill a client's needs. There are so many things people have to pay attention to."

Guthrie noted that even on the show, the women were sometimes insulted to their face.

"You have to just try and give people who are bigger a sense of confidence that they can be what they want to be, look how they want to look and dress great, and have confidence and go out every day and be happy with themselves," said Curry.

Medlick said it felt like a "therapy session" to make the show, but added that finding clothes that make women her size look good remains "a challenge."

"But the responses that we've already gotten from people and from women, sending me emails and letting me know that we've really touched their lives and are making a difference and making them feel better about themselves and feel more empowered, and that is what we're all about," she added. "Whether we're big or small, we're all women."

"Big Sexy" wraps up its three-part series tonight, Sept. 13, at 10:00 pm on TLC.

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