Bebe Rexha, size 8: Designers won’t dress me for the Grammys because ‘I’m too big’

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It’s become quite a thing for fashion designers and fashion houses to “refuse” to dress women who are larger than a size 0/2 for various red carpets and awards shows. By “refuse,” I mean “refuse to lend out existing dresses and refuse to alter or tailor existing designs to a larger size, like a size 8.” It happens all the time, to women like Megan Mullally, Melissa McCarthy, Bryce Dallas Howard, Leslie Jones and more. And now it’s happened to Bebe Rexha, who looks like she’s the size of most pop stars – slender but curvy, and like she could probably shimmy into most couture pieces. Not so. Rexha says she’s a size 8 and that designers have refused to dress her for the Grammys, where she’s NOMINATED.

The 2019 Grammy Awards are extra-special for singer Bebe Rexha. The pop star is nominated for Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance, but as she gets ready for her big night she’s discovering that finding the perfect red carpet dress may be harder than snagging those nominations. The “I’m a Mess” singer, 29, voiced her frustrations with the dress-finding process on Instagram, explaining that a number of designers she was hoping would dress her for her big night are unwilling to because of her size.

“So I finally get nominated at the Grammys and it’s like the coolest thing ever,” Rexha starts by saying in her Instagram video. “And a lot of times artists will go and talk to designers and they’ll make them custom dresses to walk the red carpet. So I had my team hit out a lot of designers and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.”

Rexha, who wears a size 6-8, defended herself, and all women who wear a size 8 and up, in the second half of her video. “You’re saying all the women in the world that are a size 8 and up are not beautiful and that they cannot wear your dresses. So to all the people who said I’m thick and I can’t wear your dress, f—k you, I don’t want to wear your f—g dresses.”

In the caption of her Instagram video, she clapped back at any designers unwilling to create options for all woman. “If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. Empower women to love their bodies instead of making girls and women feel less then by their size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large!”

[From People]

Bebe, to me, looks like she’s the same size (or smaller) as someone like Selena Gomez, and Selena wears a lot of couture on red carpets. I believe Bebe, but I also believe that if she had a higher profile/was more famous, tons of designers would be lining up to dress her, you know? But her core point remains, which is that the fashion industry perpetuates a Size Zero Privilege and that (mildly/moderately) famous women who are larger than a size zero often have to jump through hoops to get good clothes. But isn’t that a problem for us normal women too?

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47 Responses to “Bebe Rexha, size 8: Designers won’t dress me for the Grammys because ‘I’m too big’”

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  1. BaronSamedi says:

    But why is it ok to demand free work? Because she is talking about a custom dress here NOT a sample size to lend. I am sure they would all be happy to make her a dress if she wants to pay for it. That’s what they DO.

    Honestly in this case the problem is with her. She is expecting a custom made dress FOR FREE – why exactly?

    The houses lend out or gift dresses they already HAVE. Sure we can discuss why the sample size is size is 0 but there is no way you can turn a 0 into a 6 or more without serious work that again costs money.

    Honestly it’s a business: You get a dress and the house gets free promotion. Maybe she is simply not famous enough for a house to throw the costs of a custom dress after her. Which is totally their right. You can’t just DEMAND free work?

    • elimaeby says:

      I think you make a good point here. She isn’t that much of a household name. I think the reason she’s making a lot of noise about it is that other designers LOVE the PR of making custom dresses following a dust-up like this (Christian Siriano comes to mind). She’ll find someone to dress her. The whole thing is a PR stunt, imho.

      • BaronSamedi says:

        Oh for sure! It is absolutely a PR stunt and good for her if it works and she gets a free custom dress out of it!

        I just really think we need to start seeing the WORK that goes into making these dresses. Someone is actually doing that work and it’s not ok to demand they work for free because you’re famous.

        People who have reason to be on a red carpet are exactly the people who can in most cases afford to actually pay for a custom made dress.

        I admit my new passion on this topic also comes from seeing the incredible women who work at the Chanel Atelier in that Seven Days Out Netflix documentary. Granted that was Haute Couture but still. Their work deservers to be honored and paid for you know?

    • Mcbeanerer says:

      Well if the houses responded, “to make a custom dress would be X amount of dollars” would be one thing. Or “we are only able to lend out sample sizes.” But it sounded/she made it sound like it was much more size based.
      Also, why assume she was “demanding it for free”?

      • BaronSamedi says:

        I assume she wanted a free dress because no fashion house would say “no” to a paying customer?

        She and her assistants rolled up and wanted a free dress for her. Since they can only lend out sample sizes that don’t fit her she will need a custom dress. They do not do those for free unless you are nominated for an Oscar.

        She didn’t want to pay and now she uses this PR stunt to get a young up and coming designer who needs the good PR to make her a custom dress for free.

        Win, win for them and we can all feel good about shitting on the fashion houses not making their people work for free.

      • Kerfuffle says:

        Because in her statement she literally mentions that other artists get custom work – that’s done gratis. And design houses do commissioned custom work all the time, as well as sell clothes. That’s kind of the entire point of being a clothing maker. What this lady is complaining about is a lack of free designer wear for an event.

      • Montréalaise says:

        Because that’s what big-name designers do – they lend gowns to A-list stars and will sometimes even pay them to wear their designs. And they do it for the priceless publicity. Let’s say Chanel lends Nicole Kidman a $10,000 gown to wear to the Oscars. The next day, everyone will be talking about the Chanel dress and how fabulous Nicole looked. Now, very few people can afford haute couture – but that’ s not where Chanel makes its money. It’s the makeup, the perfumes, the handbags and other accessories which bring in the big bucks.

    • Kerfuffle says:

      Yep. She’s complaining that they won’t give her a FREE custom dress. Not that design houses don’t want to see their clothes on her, but that she’s not a sample size for an easy loan (not to mention, they may already have their larger samples out to loan to more well known artists, since they gather many options) so what she would get would need to be custom. She could go out tomorrow and buy one, or work with a lesser known designer. Or perhaps this is how she’s trying to hustle a free dress out of Siriano, since this is his niche.

    • velourazure says:

      I see what you’re saying, but the amount of free publicity and name-checking designers get when someone wears their stuff on the runway is likely worth WAY more than the cost of a custom dress.

      If these designers would be honest and say “I don’t want to see my design on anyone but a size 2” then fine. Otherwise it’s just short-sighted foolishness.

  2. Dttimes2 says:

    Some dude from a project runway reached out and said he’d dress her. After fighting with my van stuck in the ice for an hour im too exhausted to google. Gah i hate winter

    • Steff says:

      He’s not just some dude. Christian Siriano has been well known for years. He’s dressed a ton of A-listers for big events like the Oscars. Dressing for women who aren’t a size 0 is his thing.

      • Erinn says:

        They could be referring to Michael Costello who ALSO offered to dress her – who is still well known, but not as big of a household name as Siriano.

  3. Harryg says:

    Then ignore them and find your own dress and be interesting.

  4. me says:

    Can she not just purchase a dress from Chanel or whatever in a size 8? I’m pretty sure Beyonce and other famous women have worn designer gowns given to them. The problem here is that Bebe is probably not as big of a name.

    • Wasabi says:

      Agreed. She’s a regular size, designers do dresses in her size. It’s people who are actually plus size who can not simply walk into Mordor… I mean… Chanel and purchase a size 16,18, 20, etc. dress

  5. Jadedone says:

    One of the reasons I love Christian Siriano is bc he designs for women like Leslie Jones and Christina Hendriks, plus he makes beautiful dresses for women of all sizes.

    • Snowflake says:

      Yes, I too love that about him

    • Tiffany says:

      I will never forget the reality show that Christian had after his Runway win. One of the prizes was dressing Heidi Klum for a awards show, I think that time around it was the Emmy’s. Christian had a design that was pretty killer and would have worked on Heidi (she has just given birth at that point) and at the 11th hour decided not to use her dress. Her excuse was something about it not working for her since she just had a baby. Considering Siriano’s designs and how Heidi’s continues to dress ( I really think she likes to mess with us with her decisions) I never really bought her reason for turning it down.

  6. Ellie says:

    Not that this is an issue but I think she actually looks a little bigger than size 6-8? She’s still gorgeous obviously and designers should jump on the opportunity to have their dress showcased at the Grammy’s by her, even if it’s a custom design they’d have to shell out some money for. Size 0 seems so unattainable and unhealthy to me and I’m petite/5’5. When are we going to stop celebrating such an extreme standard?

    • Veronica says:

      Nah, I’d put her at an eight. That’s what I looked like in photos when I was that thin. We’re just so used to hyper-thin models and celebrities that we don’t realize how much it’s skewing our idea of size. Just look at how “big” Bryce Dallas Howard looks in photographs sometimes compared to her costars – and she’s a SIX.

      • Ellie says:

        Yeah, you’re probably right. Plus the camera adds 10 pounds.

      • Kendra says:

        I would agree otherwise but she has a lot of curves so I think maybe she could be 8 in certain types of dresses but not as pants size.

      • Veronica S. says:

        If she was taller, I’d agree more, but she’s 5’5″. I’m only two inches taller than her, and I’m similarly voluptuous through the hips and chest. When you aren’t really tall, you don’t have as much “vertical stretch” to offset the look of wider hips in a 2D image. That’s why models are typically sought after for having slimmer hips as much as slim waistlines.

    • Ennie says:

      I fluctuate between 10-12 and in pics I don’t look like that. I photograph bigger. She might be 2 different sizes, she is very curvy whereas I don’t have much of a waist.

  7. Alissa says:

    I’ve heard her name and have probably heard her song since I listen to the radio, but I couldn’t name a single song of hers or tell you what she looks like up until now, and I read a lot of Pop culture sites and pay a lot of attention to the stuff. so I wonder if they don’t want to dress her because they don’t feel like she’s got the name recognition? it may be in part due to her size, but there’s definitely stars that are bigger than her that get dressed. I know Melissa McCarthy struggled, but I would say she’s a bit bigger than this girl. and yes, I still think it’s ridiculous that Melissa McCarthy struggled considering she’s a well-known and accomplished actress.

  8. Incredulous says:

    She should rock a tailored suit. (Also, women need to start demanding actual pockets on their clothes)

  9. Nan says:

    No clue why any woman in 2019 is wearing dresses fron hyped up, tired designers. I’m over all the fashion houses. With instagram and etsy, there is no excuse for wearing the same dumb Givenchy styles they recycle every 14 years. Snore. Get a custom dress from an independent designer. Also, what is it with bath robes for coats?

  10. Winnie Cooper's Mom says:

    I kind of see both sides of it. On one hand, it must be frustrating to feel the effects of the fashion industry, that rushes to dress the size 0/2s, and scoffs at those who are a 6/8+. The fact that designers look down on “thicker” women is pretty sad for this day in age where we are working as a society to try and be more progressive and accepting. Hollywood A List men in designer suits/tuxes who are bigger don’t seem to have this issue?

    On the flip side, it’s not like there’s zero availability of designer clothes in 6-8. She could easily have a personal shopper with Nordstrom send her a bunch of pieces in her size that are designer. I’ve heard Bryce Dallas Howard has had to do that for red carpets. At the end of the day, sounds like she is mad about not getting a custom-made dress for free, like other commenters above stated. Oh well, girl, I wish I had famous-ppl-problems like this lol.

    • Veronica says:

      I had a friend who is a size 4-6 actually get told by a high end bridal boutique not to worry because she “still had time to lose weight and look good” at her wedding. She’s a pharmacist, too, so it’s not like she was dropping small change there. She literally could not believe they had the audacity to say that to her.

  11. Veronica says:

    While the culture of “give me free stuff” is pretty gross, I get her underlying point about how it normalizes an outrageous aesthetic that is fundamentally impossible for most women to achieve. At my thinnest, I’m a size eight. My waist might make it to a size six, but my bone structure around my hips and torso just won’t allow for it. Just the way I’m built, and I’m sure I’m closer to the majority than the Hollywood ideal.

  12. minx says:

    Fatty! /s

  13. Usedtobe says:

    I feel like she’s making this more of a thing than it needs to be and, honestly, I didn’t even know who she was until yesterday but she is exhausting. Honey, buy a dress. Problem solved. Stop whining and making this about your size because I really don’t think it is. It is likely none of the designers think you are a big enough deal.

  14. BANANIE says:

    I agree that this is a PR stunt to get a dress for free. I just wanted to say that she’s definitely not Selena Gomez’s size or shape at all. Bebe is much curvier and has hips. They are both beautiful women.

  15. Millennial says:

    I know some of y’all don’t know her, but her song with Florida Georgia Line was literally the #1 song in country for like… 5 months. It set a record, I think beating out Body Like a Back Road for longest reigning #1. I heard it all the time. My three year old knows the words we heard it so much. She’s not exactly a nobody.

    • Scotchy says:

      But she is a nobody. That is the thing, she is a songwriter and while she has participated or written some US pop “hits” she is by no means a household name.
      She is relatively unknown and her voice pretty indistinguishable from the rest of the baby girl “singers” that are churned out today.
      I think this issue is has more to do with designers not knowing who she is than her size.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I totally agree, Mellennial. She’s the first female to ever have a song debut at #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Her song is also the longest running #1 song on the chart. It spent 50 weeks there…which is almost 1 year! That is incredible, if you look at it objectively.

        There really isn’t such a thing as a “household name” anymore that spans all of American society, because pop culture has fragmented. The idea that she is a “nobody” with 690 Million views on youtube is wishful thinking.

  16. eto says:

    Wow the comments here are…interesting. The same thing happened to Leslie Jones and people were sympathetic then – what’s the difference? I don’t know anything about Bebe so honest question.

  17. Zabar says:

    PR stunts are a common technique for Bebe. See also: her instagramming screen shots of a conversation with a guy asking to meet up. She identified him as an unnamed married w/ kids NFL player. It got her a few headlines & additional IG followers. She plays the PR game well.

  18. enike says:

    I am really confused by the sizes….. it seems its quite different in the US, UK, other parts of Europe….. what is size 0 in European size? and what is size 8? how many kilograms loosely?

    • Snowflake says:

      It looks like a US 8 is a UK 10. So i guess a US 0 would be a UK 2? I think when i was 150 or160 pounds i could barely squeeze into an US 8, depending on the cut, designer and material. But it was tight, so maybe 62 to 65 kgs for a comfortable proper US 8?

      • enike says:

        thanks Snowflake!
        I read somewhere that the sizes changed over the time, designers or fashion houses (or clotsh-factories) started to use smaller sizes for bigger clothes to lure in women who would feel better about themselves, or something

        like what used to be UK 14 size like 15 years ago, it stayd the same size, but they put the label 12 or 10 on it and admitted its exactly for the purposes of the placebo weight-loss, or they said

      • Flffgrrrrlr says:

        I think actually a UK 10 is a USA 6 and a UK 12 a USA 8 – and those would be 38 and 40 in European sizes. I.e. a slim human, just not a model. Size 0 is UK size 4 and the smallest size stocked is usually 6 in the UK.

        I find it really funny when people use the word thick in relation to bodies. In the UK we use it to mean stupid.

      • Snowflake says:

        ^^^yeah, I’m not sure tbh, just googled conversion charts. So you are probably more accurate

    • Valois says:

      I’m not sure a US 6 is actually comparable to a UK -0 or European 38 even thought it would be according to conversation charts. Just speaking from my personal experience but American sizes/brands run much bigger.

      Like when Amy schumer said she’s a size 6… there was no way she’d fit a 38 at her height.

  19. manta says:

    I’m old .I was a teen on the 90s and overjoyed to see a vibrant Tracy Chapman triumph, in her basic T-shirt-jeans-shirt uniform.
    She must be glad she won back then because girlfriend wouldn’t stand a chance now.
    An original thought: put on something from your closet( I’ m sure it’s not empty) , show up , perform.
    How groundbreaking, putting your talent as a musician , a vocalist ahead of the label of your dress, in a MUSIC award show.

  20. Ladykatan says:

    What’s more gross?

    A successful woman, who has worked hard in her industry, feeling a little entitled to perks and benefits that are rampant in her industry? (Dresses loaned from big name designers in exchange for promotion-which is also work, by the way. She’d be a brand representative- at red carpet events.)

    Or a fashion industry standard that devalues women’s bodies and self worth? We can pretend that designers create sample sizes because “clothes look better on smaller bodies”, but that simply isn’t true. This is a fallacy. A well constructed and tailored garment would equally look good on any sized body. We’ve just been conditioned to believe our bodies are too large because it is honestly not cost productive for the fashion industry to let you believe otherwise. This is capitalism and marketing at its very worst. A size 0 and a size 16 dress will cost the same on the rack, and to charge more for a larger size would most definitely be discrimination. However that size 0 garment used fewer materials and fabric, and ultimately took less time to construct. So instead of embracing all body types and creating a median, cost effective price; the fashion industry will continue to devalue larger bodies. They would rather keep conditioning you to make you feel bad about yourself, because it doesn’t make fiscal sense for them otherwise.