MOVE over, Ashley Graham, because we have our very own plus-sized models doing the dang thing right here in St. Lucia. I am referring to today’s FITC, 21-year-old Jeanelle Merius.
Merius is a big and bold beauty who has an equally big and bold statement to make about the concept of beauty itself.
The Entrepot resident is a plus-sized model and is breaking all the barriers that say that women bigger than size six cannot be symbols of beauty on magazines and catwalks.
She is well on her way to redefining the word ‘model’ itself by showing St. Lucian women that they, too, are beautiful and can live their fashion dreams, regardless of their size.
Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but also beautiful on the inside, and is friendly, outgoing, fun, smart, considerate and loving with a warm and inviting spirit.
However, even with all these qualities, Merius has shown that she is also resilient and won’t go according to the mainstream ideology that tells her that she should hide away from society because of her size.
She instead holds her head high as she carries her frame in a stunning, classy and elegant manner.
Here is what she told The VOICE about her life as a plus-sized model.
The VOICE: You are currently paving a way for plus-sized models in St. Lucia. Firstly, I want to know some info on that venture. Tell me what you have been up to.
Merius: Currently, I model for Access and H&H for their plus-sized clothing line. I have been informing other stores and businesses of what I do and try to get as much exposure as I can. I am venturing out of my comfort zone and moving into modelling for magazines and international photographers.
The VOICE: How do you see your efforts fitting into the local modelling industry since the norm is to have slim/skinny models?
Merius: My efforts have been motivating and encouraging plus-sized women all over to be comfortable in their own skin. We are as sexy as we feel and, sometimes, dress even better than skinny/slim models.
The VOICE: What impact do you see your work having on women in St. Lucia, particularly the young ones?
Merius: The impact I see this initiative having on women in St. Lucia is helping with their self-esteem and showcasing an opportunity for their full-figured beauty.
The VOICE: Do you think St. Lucia is ready for this kind of movement?
Merius: Yes, St. Lucia is ready for this kind of movement. The plus-sized women have been ready for a long time now.
The VOICE: What would you say to people who believe that plus-sized equals unhealthy and that you are glorifying an unhealthy image?
Merius: Being plus-sized doesn’t equate to being unhealthy. There are numerous reasons why a person could be plus-sized, such as hereditary. Who are they to say I am glorifying an unhealthy image? In other words, are they saying that I should be down and depressed because of how God made me? I am embracing all the extra curves that I was born with and I feel very comfortable in doing so.
The VOICE: If you could speak to the young ladies who dream of getting into fashion and modelling, but think that they might as well forget it because their size tells them that they don’t look the part, what would you say?
Merius: I would say to them their size doesn’t define them and their capabilities. You can do anything you set your mind to, so don’t let fear keep you back from living your dreams. Instead, look at FEAR as Face Everything And Rise!!!