It's a tale as old as fashion magazines themselves: why, when we open those pages, turn on the television, or look up at a billboard, do we never see anyone who looks like us? The tendency for modelling agencies to only use women of a certain, very slim body type has been known to have disastrous consequences at each end of the spectrum.
Women and girls who are larger than the average model - which, let's face it, is most of us, considering the average British woman is a size 12 - are left feeling abnormal and paranoid about their bodies. At the same time, the industry drives many of its models to physical and psychological trauma through extreme dieting, sometimes with fatal consequences.
It's a breath of fresh air, then, to see a modelling agency taking a stand against the divide between models for 'normal' and 'plus-size' clothing - a division which makes the latter somehow freakish and excessive. In a bizarre twist, many models are told they either need to lose or gain weight, in order to be 'normal,' also known as a UK size 6-8, or 'plus-size,' a UK size 14-16, since apparently there is nothing acceptable in between.
Jag modelling agency in New York have dispensed with the divide, instead choosing to group all their models together. Their aim is "putting girls of all sizes on the covers of magazines" and while there's a long way to go before the industry itself starts running campaigns with women all sizes, as well as with ladies of different ethnicities and ages, it's a hugely positive statement.
Jennie Runk, a successful plus-sized model, is one of their clients, and says she agrees that the distinction should be lost. A size16 swimwear model, she said in an interview with the BBC that “people assume that ‘plus’ equates to fat, which in turn equates to ugly. This is completely absurd ...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’.”