beauty

H&M use plus-size model for swimwear campaign. No biggie.

 By NICKY CHAMP

Meet Jennie Runk the model fronting H&M’s new beachwear campaign.

Runk features on the front page of the fashion chain’s website in advertising presented simply as “This season’s new swimwear” – it just happens to be plus-size swimwear and she just happens to be a plus-size model. 

If you regularly surf fashion websites you’ll know this is a fairly rare occurrence.

And the best bit?

There was no giant “Plus-size swimwear” plastered over it, the only clue alluding to the swimwear being available in U.S. sizes 14-24 was a small plus sign sitting to the right of H&M’s logo.

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Runk, 24, who was gob-smacked at the attention the campaign received (she received 2000 likes on her Facebook fan page in 24 hours) has revealed she was told to either lose or gain weight if she wanted to make it in the modelling world. She chose the latter.

“I was given the option to lose weight and try to maintain a size four (an AUS six or eight), or to gain a little – maintain a size 10 (a AUS 12 or 14) – and start a career as a plus-size model. I knew my body was never meant to be a size four, so I went with plus,” she told the BBC.

“People assume “plus” equates to fat, which in turn equates to ugly. This is completely absurd.”

The body positive campaign gave many fans the confidence to try on a bikini for the first time in years, yet Runk points out there is a long way to go before the term “plus-size” will be considered in a positive light.

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“The only problem is the negative connotations that remain stubbornly attached to the term “plus-size”. There shouldn’t be anything negative about being the same size as the average American woman, or even being a little bigger. Some women are perfectly healthy at a size 16 (a AUS 18 or 20),” Runk said.

Jennie Runk in swimwear poses

“There are also negative connotations associated with thinness. Just as bigger women get called fat or chunky, thin women get called gangly or bony.”

“There’s no need to glamourise one body type and slam another. We need to stop this absurd hatred towards bodies for being different sizes. It doesn’t help anyone and it’s getting old.”

Well said, Jennie. Well said.

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