NEW YORK – Erica Jean crossed body type boundaries as the first plus-size model to grace the cover of Women’s Running Magazine. The 18-year-old spoke to FOX411 about why she wants the term “plus size” to be replaced with “curve” and the misconception that having a curvier frame means you're unhealthy.
FOX411: Were you surprised by the reaction to your Women’s Running Magazine?
Erica Jean: I was wildly surprised because that’s how I actually found out I was on the cover. I found it on Twitter because a magazine publicist called me and said, “Hey, can we do an interview?” And I’m like, “An interview about what?” It was interesting.
FOX411: Why do you think people correlate curvy with being un-athletic?
Jean: I think that most fitness magazines are showing women that are size 2, size 4 and they don’t show many women that are plus size, unless it’s on the inside, and it’s a little story, and this is the first time that a plus size woman has been covered in social media and any sort of media, and so it’s good that we are starting to have a presence because that’s what we need to step forward with body acceptance.
FOX411: Do you hope that your cover will start changing how people think about what is healthy? After all, just because you’re a size 2 doesn’t mean you’re healthy or in shape.
Jean: The plus-size industry is a business and as a plus-size model, if that’s what they would like to call me, that’s fine, but as a Wilhelmina model we call ourselves "curve models," which is a little bit different in the sense that we don’t feel so plus size as people put that label on us. Just like the size 0 or 2 we’re something that women can look to and go, “Wow, I can be like that!” It’s not something unattainable. It’s something women can look to and go, “I can be healthy and I can be happy but it’s not a size 0, it’s not a size 2.”
FOX411: What do you think of the social media hashtag campaigns championing for body acceptance like #effyourbodystandards?
Jean: I think it’s amazing that women are really feeling like they can put themselves out there and they’re not alone; and they aren’t because if you’re a runner and you’re a size 20 you’re not alone, and you shouldn’t feel like you are because there’s so much availability to connect with other people just like you and having that social media is really nice.