Twenty-three-year-old model Molly Constable is having a breakout year.
Exuberant and unquestionably sexy, her career catapulted after, in a millennial dream moment, she was discovered on Instagram at 17 years old. Coming from a middle-class family with limited resources, Constable skipped college, not wanting to waste time and money in order to figure herself out, and placed her bets on a modeling career. Since then she’s been shot by Alasdair McLellan and Tom Ford, and appeared, most prominently, in a headline-making Playboy spread, where the magazine was lauded for using a curvier model.
It’s a step toward size inclusivity, certainly, but Constable is not here for the headlines. The Hudson, New York native doesn’t want “plus-size model” to be a big thing, just a normal thing, a model without the qualifier. She’s not shy about her feelings, either. Constable has spoken out about the derision that comes with not being a sample size, receiving side-eyes from stylists and makeup artists, and the difficulty of staying confident when the definition of beauty is (literally) too constrictive.
With her charming laugh and devil-may-care attitude, however, it seems like Constable might be the perfect woman to make the industry rethink its dated standards.
GAYDUK: How did you get into modeling?
CONSTABLE: When I was 17, I was on Instagram and it was when hashtags were first becoming a thing. I was looking through all the hashtags and I clicked a photo and it happened to be my now mother agency’s photo. They had reached out to me on this fucking awful selfie that I took and they were like, “Are you a model?” and I was like, “No, but I don’t want to go to college right now so I’ll be a model.” Then they sent me to New York City and I signed with an agency.
GAYDUK: What do you do when you’re not modeling?
CONSTABLE: I grew up on a mountain, so I’ve always snowboarded. It’s probably my favorite thing ever to do. I try and do it as much, as often as I can. That’s something I do in the winter and then in the summer I like to skateboard everywhere. I don’t do tricks or anything, but I cruise around, try to get to the subway quicker—that kind of stuff. I kind of paint now and then—not my favorite thing, but I like to do it. And I’m like trying to teach myself how to make rings now, but it’s really hard [laughs].
GAYDUK: Maybe there’s a jewelry line in your future.
CONSTABLE: Oh yes [laughs].
GAYDUK: I wanted to see what the experience of being called a plus size model was like for you.
CONSTABLE: At first, I was really embarrassed because I didn’t know that there was such a thing as that and I didn’t know that people were actually calling women above size 12 “plus size.” I didn’t realize that there was an actual niche for that. I thought that clothes were always just clothes. And recently, now that I’m in the industry and know things, I find it boring. It’s a boring subject and I don’t think that it needs to be a thing—and everyone says that—but I truly believe it’s so unnecessary. Just make clothes a size bigger. You don’t need to put someone in the back of a store because they’re one size bigger than you or 10 sizes bigger than you.
GAYDUK: Do you think the industry is taking more steps to become diverse?
CONSTABLE: Yeah, I think they are. There are certain women trying to push the boundaries and it’s working. And a lot of brands can say that they’re inclusive with [size], but there are some that say they want to be part of it so they can use it as a marketing strategy, but they don’t really know what they’re doing because size 12 is not plus size.
GAYDUK: What, in your opinion, would be a better way for brand to make themselves more inclusive?
CONSTABLE: Stop using it as a marketing ploy and use it as if you really want, if you really want to be inclusive with all sizes, then you just have to add ten sizes to your clothing and that’s it. You don’t need to make it into these big headlines. People will still pick up on it if you just do it. Instead of making people feel like everyone wants to be part of something, but you’re making the plus women feel still excluded from things, if that makes sense.
GAYDUK: Yeah, it does. And also if you want more diversity, cast diverse models.
CONSTABLE: Just do it. You don’t need to put someone on the spot because they’re a size bigger than every other girl on the thing, you know.
GAYDUK: Do you feel pigeonholed or any undue pressure?
CONSTABLE: I don’t feel like I’m under pressure because I’m the type of person who just goes with the flow. I’ll make it work wherever someone wants to put me, but it’s very easy to feel pigeonholed because people subconsciously want you to feel that way so they can use it as another marketing ploy [laughs]. I don’t care, but other people do and it’s hard to get around that.
GAYDUK: I read that you were wary about shooting for Playboy at first. What kind of reservations did you have?
CONSTABLE: I just didn’t want it to be a spread eagle, like something weird. You know, Playboy has its moments where it can be very not artistic and I guess that’s everyone’s fear—that you don’t really want it to be this weird, porn-y thing. And I also thought about my mom and she has her ideas of Playboy so it’s always different for older people to see that in Playboy, but then I found out my friend [Heather Hazzan] was shooting it so it was totally cool and I was very happy to do it.
GAYDUK: What was it like?
CONSTABLE: It was actually really nice. I went out that night and I stayed in the woods with my friend, who’s a photographer and a stylist, and it’s pretty much my hometown so it was just nice to be back in the woods. It was very serene and quiet. It was just a bunch of laughs all day like in the woods, in the water, in my underwear the whole time [laughs]. It was fun.
GAYDUK: What else do you have on the horizon?
CONSTABLE: I’m trying to work on this thing where I get younger girls who don’t have the chance to go snowboarding all the time sponsored by a brand and [the brand] pays for the girls’ tickets to ride the mountain for the day and we teach them how to snowboard and teach them that it can be cool to be sporty and you can still be girly. That’s what the new year will bring.