Why I love H&M's latest swimsuit campaign

Maria applauds H&M's decision to lauch a new swimsuit campaign featuring "plus size" model Jennie Runk.

Jennie Runk. Image courtesy of H&M.

I love buying magazines. Nothing beats sitting down with a latte and a fresh stack of newly released mags. It’s my favourite way to spend some “me” time. Of course, anyone who spends a certain amount of time doing this ultimately exposes themselves to endless advertising — sometimes it feels like magazines are simply just a ridiculous amount of ads.

I haven’t done a survey but I’m going to guess about 99% of those ads involve unrealistic looking models that look more like bobbleheads. They’re so thin and so tiny that their heads look oddly out of proportion to their bodies. Not a good look — and not a realistic one either because most people don’t look even remotely close that. But has that stopped me from looking at these pictures and thinking, wow, if only I were that thin so I could wear everything? Nope. I hate to even admit it, but I do it all the time.

Enter H&M.

They are promoting their latest swimsuit campaign and, without much announcement, decided to use a “plus-size” model in their advertising. Jennie Runk is a 24-year-old model who is proud to be plus-sized. She’s a US size 14 (which I still don’t think should be called plus-size, but unfortunately that’s just not the reality) and she’s absolutely gorgeous. She’s also wicked smart and wrote a fantastic piece that was posted online on the BBC website.

She actually seems very surprised by the enormous amount of positive attention she’s received since the photos of her in various bathing suits have come out. But she’s thrilled to be a role model if it means sharing her confidence with others:

“Some even told me that my confidence has inspired them to try on a bikini for the first time in years. 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.'”

I kind of love her because I totally get it. For the first time in a long time, I looked at someone that doesn’t look super thin and thought: her body is beautiful and real and a possibility.

She also wrote, “There’s no need to glamorize 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.”

Agreed.

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