by Stephen Garner

Wilhelmina Models is partnering with JCPenney and its big and tall style ambassador Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal, to launch “Shaquille O’Neal’s Big & Tall Model Search presented by JCPenney”.

Through this unique collaboration, the nationwide model search addresses a growing need in the fashion industry for big and tall models. One-third of American men today identify as either big, tall or big and tall, representing ten percent of the U.S. menswear business.

“When I launched the Shaquille O’Neal XLG collection exclusively at JCPenney, it was a challenge to find big and tall guys to model for the campaign, so we asked our friends at Wilhelmina to hit the streets to find a few good men who are larger than life,” said O’Neal. “Through this exciting partnership with Wilhelmina and JCPenney, we’re hosting the biggest and tallest model search around to help big, sexy guys like me finally get the recognition they deserve.”

Big and tall men can enter the contest and find more information, including size requirements, online at ShaqJCPModelSearch.com, now through April 28. Live casting call events will also be held in the following JCPenney store locations:

  • Atlanta: JCPenney at the South Point Shopping Center in McDonough, April 11 from 5 – 8 p.m. (Shaq will be making a personal appearance at this event.)
  • Los Angeles: JCPenney at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, April 18 from 5 – 8 p.m.
  • Dallas: JCPenney at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, April 25 from 5 – 8 p.m.

Winners from the Shaquille O’Neal Big & Tall Model Search will be signed to Wilhelmina’s “Titan” division of big and tall male models. The winners will also be featured alongside O’Neal in the JCPenney fall marketing campaign, wearing O’Neal’s namesake collection along with the retailer’s popular big & tall private brand, The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co.

“We’re proud to partner with Shaquille O’Neal and JCPenney to provide more opportunities for big and tall models,” added Bill Wackermann, CEO of Wilhelmina Models. “Wilhelmina is founded on the philosophy that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”