Local Plus-Size Model Wins Global Modelling Competition

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In a groundbreaking victory for inclusivity and diversity, a local plus-size model has not only participated but emerged triumphant in an international modelling competition. How’s that for highlighting the talent and tenacity of our homegrown talent? 😍

IamModel Search International (IAMS2024) saw over 60 representatives from more than 20 countries this time around! Competing against nations like Mexico and Australia, Vernis Yeo, whose journey in the industry commenced with a pageant competition in 2017, has continuously defied stereotypes and societal expectations over the years.


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As previously discussed on JUICE, Vernis’ foray into the modelling world reached a significant milestone when she clinched the title of Miss Grand Melaka Best Advocate 2018, setting the stage for a career dedicated to challenging norms.

However, the path to success was far from easy for this resilient model. Growing up, she faced relentless bullying for her skin colour and body type. On 2 February 2023, her life took a dramatic turn while shooting for Adidas in Singapore.

Stricken by a severe illness stemming from an untreated kidney infection, she then battled sepsis – an intense and life-threatening medical emergency.

Today, we delve into the inspiring journey of this Malaysian trailblazer, who has now secured the title of ‘I Am Model Search International Plus Size Model 2024’, exploring how she summoned the strength and confidence to continue shattering barriers within the local modelling industry.

In another exclusive interview with JUICE, she candidly shares her experience, providing insights into the challenges she faced, the lessons she learned, and the message she hopes to convey to the world as an ambassador for change:

Embarking On The Challenge


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Vernis shared, “I was handpicked to represent Malaysia. Being five months postpartum, I accepted the offer as a challenge. I wanted to see how far I could go with it – especially after giving birth. Being handpicked meant something; it means the organisers have so much trust in me to represent the country well.”

Before the competition, Vernis suffered a knee injury, and throughout the competition, she struggled to walk and perform at her best. But she managed to pull through, reminding herself to keep her head in the game.

In her words, “My knee issue and my heels breaking right before I had to get on stage were two major challenges. Although it may not have been so noticeable, I was really struggling to keep my balance.”

Using The Platform For Positive Change


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Vernis hopes to inspire other aspiring plus-size models and empower plus-size women everywhere.

“Ever since I started my first modelling gig after the 2018 pageant, I have been working with so many renowned brands locally and internationally, including the likes of Adidas, Monki, Behati, Jovian, and many more. Winning the title of ‘I AM Model Search International Plus Size Model 2024’ will definitely help me land bigger opportunities in the industry, especially internationally.”

She added that with these opportunities came well-deserved recognition.

“I am surprised that strangers recognise me from the brands that I worked with. With this, I believe the local industry will start to see more potential in plus-size models as a whole, and more opportunities will be given to us.”

Not Your Average Model

On achieving such a significant milestone, Vernis says, “It means a lot to me. I stumbled into modelling through pageantry in 2017 when I competed for Miss Grand Melaka 2018.

“Despite knowing I wouldn’t win due to it not being a plus-size pageant, I secured the Best Advocate title. Sharing my experiences of overcoming body shaming and racial discrimination, I aimed to inspire others who could relate to my story.”

According to her, IAMS2024, which took place on 10 – 13 January 2024 at STEG Kuala Lumpur, has successfully established an inclusive platform where plus-size models can compete on an equal footing with other participants.

Emphasising the need to strike a balance between rehearsals and rest, she adds that she believes Malaysia is brimming with undiscovered talent, and hopes that her win will inspire aspiring models to put themselves out there.

We share that hope, and extend our heartfelt congratulations to Vernis Yeo on her outstanding victory at IAMS2024! ❤️‍🔥