Thanks to the likes of plus-size models such as Ashley Graham, Robyn Lawley and Iskra Lawrence, women with curves has become the new “hot” in the modeling world.
In a world that has infamously been about petite and super-thin muses being plastered on the cover of both men’s and women’s magazines. Perhaps this is due to the changing demographics and cultural shift towards more full-size women who seem more realistic and relatable.
Men have always had a primal attraction to women with curves that dates back to the Stone Age, and even more so now thanks to the likes of curvier supermodels such as Kate Upton. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and thanks to both Upton, men—and society in general—are beginning to embrace it.
Enter Jennie Runk.
At 5’10, the 26-year-old Georgia-born plus-size model has modeled for the likes of H&M and their swimwear campaign in 2013, to being featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue, Cosmo Girl, Marie Claire and Seventeen.
In addition to her modeling, she has also appeared on Good Morning America and BBC—in which she wrote an opinion piece discussing her experiences as a plus-size model.
If there is a true trail blazer who helped pave the way for more inclusivity of plus size models in fashion, Runk is one of them.
Below is a Q and A in which I discuss her thoughts on the growth of plus-size models in the modeling and fashion world, feminism and talk her beloved Rams moving back to Los Angeles.
R.C. What are your thoughts of fellow plus-size model Ashley Graham being on the cover of popular lifestyle magazines such as Sports Illustrated and MAXIM?
J.R. “In the plus industry, if one of us succeed, we all do! The fashion industry is making great strides toward inclusivity and this is a great example of the forward progress. Having a plus size model grace the covers of magazines leads to more and better opportunities for other plus size models. It’s a way of showing the world we have a rightful place on magazine covers.”
R.C. You appeared in H&M’s swimwear campaign as well as discussed in an exclusive interview with Fashion Gone Rogue being a feminist and having a positive body image. In what ways do you feel that you are a feminist as well as a positive role model for other plus-sized women today?
J.R. “I’m a feminist because I believe all people should be treated equally and we should all work to make a positive influence in the world. By living my life as a confident, self-accepting plus-size woman, I hope to help others realize that it’s okay to love your body, no matter what shape or size.”
R.C. Plus-size models seem to be on the verge of becoming more and more accepted in fashion today, where do you see the industry 10-20 years from now?
J.R. “I hope to see a world where everyone is represented in the media – where a woman of any shape, size, or color can flip through a magazine and see a realistic representation of herself. The recent move toward inclusivity in the fashion industry has put us on a path of achieving that, but we still have a long way to go.”
R.C. What inspired you to get into modeling?
J.R. “I was discovered when I was 13 years old and at first, I didn’t want to be a model. I didn’t grow up wanting to model and at the time, I was more interested in reading every novel by Stephen King than fashion magazines. But after learning I could do plus-size modeling without having to change my body, I jumped right in!“
R.C. Who are some of the models in the industry that you look up to, or lean on for advice?
J.R. “I’ve learned something from every model I’ve worked with because everyone brings something a little different to a shoot. I remember how much I learned from more experienced models when I was a beginner and I love that I have a chance to do the same for younger models now.”
R.C. Word on the street is that you’re from The Peach State, are you a big sports fan, if so who?
J.R. “I spent most of my childhood in Georgia, moved to Missouri when I was about 10 and I grew up going to Rams games in St. Louis with my family. I’m not much of a sports fan, but those games were always a lot of fun and I’m sad to hear the Rams are leaving St. Louis!” *
*The Rams have since relocated to Los Angeles, as of press time.
R.C. Lastly, what are some words of advice that you wish to impart to other prospective models hoping to get into the industry?
J.R. “Always stay true to yourself and your body and find an agency that signs you as you are. I’ve fluctuated between sizes a few times over my career and my amazing agents at JAG Models have always booked me for jobs that reflect my current size. I’ve been so fortunate to have found JAG because they believe, like I do, that women of all sizes are beautiful.
Finally, be comfortable and confident – that will shine through and you’ll work better.”
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Jennie Runk and Katherine Grubaugh from JAG Models for their help and collaboration with this interview. Follow Jennie Runk on Facebook here, on Instagram at @jennierunk and on Twitter at @jennierunk