'The model scout told me I should get fatter or thinner ... I chose to upsize': Plus-size bikini babe Jennie Runk on body confidence and THAT H&M advert
- Size 16 model Jennie Runk appeared in the latest H&M swimwear pictures
- Now has a huge fan base and receives thank you letters from young women
- 24-year-old has been modelling since 14 when she was spotted in a pet store
- Wants young girls to know it's ok to be confident, whatever you look like
By TONI JONES
Size 16 model Jennie Runk made waves last month posing for H&M's summer swimwear campaign.
The 5.10" brunette was hired by the high street brand to show off the range of larger sizes that their beachwear collections come in (U.S. sizes 14-24) and the shots caused a stir because there was no obvious reference to the fabulous looking model's size anywhere on the ads.
The collection was simply presented to customers as 'this season's new swimwear'. The only clue alluding to the line's larger sizing was a small '+' sign sitting to the right of H&M's logo.
Jennie has been modelling full time since 2011, after gaining 20lbs on the advice of a scout who spotted her volunteering at her local pet store as a teenager. She is now using her new found fame as an opportunity to promote positive body confidence in young women.
Size 16 model Jennie Runk made waves in the recent H&M campaign and is now using her fame to promote body confidence in young girls
Jennie has been modelling full time since 2011, when she gained 20lbs on the advice of a scout
She told the BBC: 'I was given the option to lose weight and try to maintain a size four (a UK six or eight), or to gain a little - maintain a size 10 (a UK 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.
'People assume "plus" equates to fat, which in turn equates to ugly. This is completely absurd.'
The 24-year-old from Missouri, has received thank you messages from lots of new fans since appearing in the H&M campaign who say that her confidence has inspired them to try on a bikini for the first time in years.
She said: 'I found it strange that people made such a fuss about how my body looks in a bikini, since I don't usually give it much thought but this is exactly the kind of thing I've always wanted to accomplish, showing women that it's OK to be confident even if you're not the popular notion of "perfect".
'This message is especially important for teenage girls. Being a teenage girl is incredibly difficult. They need all the help and support they can get.'
The H&M campaign didn't make any reference to Jennie's size and she says that it's time we all stop obsessing about body shape
Jennie is on the books of the prestigious Ford Models agency in New York
Now on the books of New York's prestigious Ford Models Jennie admits that she found her teenage years difficult.
She was 5ft 9in and a size 12 by the time she was 13 and envied the smaller girls at school. Her thick, curly hair, braces and wire-rimmed glasses drew more unwanted attention and she now wants to show young women that it is acceptable to be different and that they will grow out of that awful awkwardness.
She says: 'Just focus on being the best possible version of yourself and quit worrying about your thighs, there's nothing wrong with them. There's no need to glamorise 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.'
Her Facebook page gained 2,000 new 'likes' in 24 hours once the campaign launched (she now has over 3000 likes on the social networking site)
Following her appearance in the H&M adverts Jezebel's Jenna Sauers praised the brand's choice of model, writing that she hoped it is a step towards viewing normal-sized models as matter of course, rather than continuing to see them pigeonholed into 'plus-size' classifications.
She said: 'I think it sends a positive message about inclusivity and changing standards of beauty.
'Seeing plus-size bodies in fashion spreads and ads should be as common as seeing anything else.'
Cuistomers too praised the mega retailer, with some writing 'thank you' notes to H&M's marketing department.
One woman posted an open letter to H&M in Jezebel's comments section, writing: 'Thank you so much for using Jennie Runk as your beachwear page covergirl. That you did so without calling attention to her shape makes it all the more commendable.
'I love seeing a girl with my body type not only represented on your website but represented without fanfare.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2324854/Plus-size-bikini-babe-Jennie-Runk-body-confidence-THAT-H-M-advert.html#ixzz2TOAQwwbZ
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