Plus-size model in bikini defies odds and stereotype

Jennie-size-model-beachwearMore than 600 people “shared” my story about Jennie Runk, the plus-sized model from Chesterfield, Missouri, who sparked an international debate when H&M decided to make her the face of its mainstream beachwear collection.

Only 25 people commented on the story page but when my newspaper The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted a link on our Facebook page:

  • More than 1,150 “likes”
  • Nearly 400 comments

Jennie’s personal Facebook page swelled from just 600 followers (mostly family and friends) to more than 12,000 international fans in a few months.

Since then Runk has been profiled by Cosmopolitan magazine, “Jennie Runk, H&M’s First Plus-Size Swimsuit Model, Will Make You Love Yourself.”


Huffington Post crowned her #1 on its list of Best Plus Size Models Dominating The Industry Right Now (more than 2,400 shares and nearly 800 comments on that post). And there’s more to come for this articulate and poetic thinker who just happens to have a 31-inch waist.

Her mere presence and confidence is already changing the world and I don’t say that lightly. When I wrote stories about plus-sized models a few years ago, the reactions were explosive and filled with hateful vitriol. But Jennie’s beautiful smile and effortless charm inspired an avalanche of kindness, compliments and adulation. That’s not common for internet commenters.

She lamented that people needed to grow up and stop obsessing about weight and appearance like high schoolers. It looks like she inspired people to do just that … this time.


In May, Jennie did this interview with ABCNews: 

Jennie RunkClick the story page above to enlarge and read or go to Deb’s Style File and take a look at it on a single page.

You can find my previous post about Jennie here at Size doesn’t matter to curvy model, about how she was discovered in a pet store by Mother Model Management and how she decided to gain weight to work as a model.

What’s fun to note is that Jennie’s level-headedness hasn’t changed. She was always much less concerned than her spectators.

4 thoughts on “Plus-size model in bikini defies odds and stereotype

  1. Pingback: Size doesn’t matter to curvy model | Debra D. Bass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s