When fashion rags start promising a new me, my body begins to feel less like flesh and bones and more like a construction site. “With a little work,” the magazine covers promise, “this house will be ready for sale and looking fabulous before you can say summer. But…it’s gonna cost.” Thankfully this year, I’d already found Plus Model Magazine, a monthly online publication that sings to a completely different tune. In the editor’s letter of a recent issue, Madeline Jones wrote, “I truly hope this is the year that big changes will be made. Not just in the modeling industry, but in all of our personal lives. Stop the persecution of your arms, bellies and thighs and celebrate the bodies you were given by loving them inside and out.” Along with messages of body acceptance, Plus Model Magazine provides fashion inspiration for the curvy woman, information about the plus size modeling industry, gorgeous editorials, and interviews with strong and smart women, like the managing editor of BUST. I got a chance to interview Jones, the strong, smart woman behind Plus Model Magazine, to hear more about the publication and her thoughts on the fashion industry.
Plus Model Magazine, in its own words, “inspires you to thrive in your curves, crave contemporary fashion and design your life on your own terms, sans apologies.” Why do you think it’s important for a fashion magazine to have this message?
Many people underestimate the power behind fashion, especially to how it relates to women. Plus size women lack the images they need to inspire them daily; they do not have it in television, movies, or magazines. Have we seen more of a push towards acceptance in the last few years? Absolutely. However, this is all it has been, a step closer, but we are not there yet. Plus Model Magazine published it’s first issue six years ago. Without truly knowing whether this was a publication that would be accepted, we took the initiative and the feedback from brands, designers, and plus size women was overwhelming. It was clear to us, plus size women and this industry in particular was ready to grow with us and allow us to explore where it would take us. It was important for us put the goal of this publication out there for all readers to see. It would not only inspire us, but it would hold us accountable to our very own words.
In the short film The Fat Body (In)Visible , Jessica says, “Fat style is one of the biggest ways you can be political as a fat body.” In what ways is the plus size movement political? Do you think personal style can be empowering? How so?
The plus siz movement is political because it affects so many people and several industries. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. What would happen if we were to suddenly shift gears from “it’s horrible to be fat” to “let’s be healthy”? What about the fashion industry? The fashion industry openly makes the plus size woman feel like she is at the bottom of society. She is invisible during fashion week, in clothing campaigns, and in magazine covers and editorials. The plus size movement is fighting for equal rights for 60% of Americans.
Your January issue featured a provoking nude editorial with model Katya Zharkova alongside shocking statistics about the modeling industry. What kind of response have these photos generated?
The response was global and we are really excited about initiating the conversation that everyone is thinking about but most people do not want to address. The plus size industry is at a fork in the road right now; I’ve seen it coming for a few years but never so clear as it is today. The pictures were designed to bring attention to the message, “Plus Size Bodies, What Is Wrong With Them Anyway?”
What kind of impact have all the fabulous plus size blogs, websites, and communities like Fatshionista had on making the plus size movement more visible?
Every blogger and media outlet that covers the plus size movement is helping us to reach our ultimate goal. It’s essential for us to be able to spread our message and support those outlets who support us. Being in the media, whether it’s television, online, or in print absolutely helps the plus size industry thrive.
What can we do to see more and more realistic body shapes represented in the mainstream?
We live in a very comfortable society, we are used to seeing things happen, but how many of us are taking part in making change happen? We will only see change if we all come together as one united voice. If you want things to change, you have to sign the petitions, support the media outlets, comment on those blogs, editorials, and brand/designer Facebook pages. You have to be a voice. If there is a brand that is asking you to spend money but is not marketing to you as a plus sized woman, do not buy from them; email, tweet, and Facebook them and tell them why you will not be buying from them. Every single voice matters!
interview by Jenny Morris