Women's running mag takes quick steps in right direction
The models people are used to seeing in fitness magazines often do not reflect the various shapes and sizes of their readers.
But this month, Women's Running challenged the assumption that people have to look a certain way to be considered fit and healthy by choosing Nadia Aboulhosn, a size 14 - 16 fashion blogger, designer and keen runner as its cover star.
Many will already be familiar with Aboulhosn. Over the past few years, she has developed her Instagram following to 380,000, designed a size 16 - 24 range for Boohoo and modelled for American Apparel. Lena Dunham said she is "obsessed" with Aboulhosn.
Women's Running Editor-In-Chief Jessica Sebor also lavished praise upon the model: "We love that Nadia uses running as a way to be her best self - and that self is pretty incredible. Whether it's being the only girl to join her high school's football team or scoffing at the idea that high fashion is only for stick-thin models. Nadia blazes her own path."
The Independent spoke to Aboulhosn about why she "cried hysterically" when she saw the cover, how she ignores trolls and why she's backing Ashley Graham's call to leave the term "plus-size" in the past.
How long have you modelled for and which brands have featured you in their campaigns?
I've been modelling on and off for about four years. I've modelled, campaigned and designed for various brands and magazines including Marie Claire, Seventeen, Redbook and American Apparel. I've designed for Boohoo and Addition Elle, campaigned with Evans and tonnes more.
What does being on the cover of Women's Running mean to you?
More than anyone could imagine. I've been working so hard for five years to get to milestones like this. It's more work than people think. A lot assume because I don't have a 9-5 job that there's no work involved but it's a tonne of behind the scenes to get where I am. I cried hysterically when I saw the cover.
Brb I'm crying ugly tears. I shot a few months ago with @womensrunningmagazine for their April 2016 issue that's out on stands now. I was in the airport last night flying from Florida back to LA and went in the store, saw it, and started crying. This elderly couple next to me was like...whats wrong? I'm like THIS IS MY FIRST MAGAZINE COVER AFTER WORKING NON STOP FOR 5 YEARS! I'm glad no one was around to see it Bc snot was every where, I was sweating. 😂 I know I joke a lot so let me be serious and say thank you to Women's Running Mag for choosing me. When I got the email I still didn't believe it was going to happen. I for sure thought last minute something was going to happen and I wouldn't be on the cover just solely off the fact that things have turned wrong for me so much of my life when I'm almost about to have something, I get disappointed or let down. I'm never satisfied and feel like I could always be doing more but seeing my cover made me calm down and enjoy this moment that's such a milestone for me and my career. Thank you especially to Jessica Sebor. You amaze me. It's so important to feel good about yourself. I'll be taking over @womensrunningmagazine's Instagram account tomorrow so be sure to follow and be sure to get the mag and read my story inside! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this, the entire team at Womens Running, also to my family and close circle who keep me aligned. Thank you to all of you because you contribute so much to my success. Wearing @adidasoriginals outfit in this shot with @nike roshe runs. 🙏🏽
What does healthy mean for you, how do you stay healthy?
It means feeling good for me regardless of physical appearance. I make it a point to stretch and workout in any free time I have but it's just as important for me to mentally wind down and take a break sometimes because I'm constantly on the go.
How significant is your cover and others featuring models such as Ashley Graham on Sports Illustrated?
Incredibly significant. I just want to normalise all shapes in mainstream media. I've always wanted it to be an everyday thing to see different sized women and ethnicities in our society. I hate that it's such a shock factor for someone my size or larger than me to be on tv or magazine. Your size doesn't define you.
You've built up a strong following on social media, but a lot of models have talked about being trolled on Instagram. What is your experience of social media?
I get hate comments of course but you just kind of ignore them because the outpour of people with positive comments is greater. I don't mind taking the heat if that means I can change one person into feeling better about themselves.
What do you think about the term 'plus size'?
I can understand why it was used in the fashion industry at a point but I see so much behind the scenes things and people feeling like they don't belong or have a space in mainstream media that I'm over the term. There needs to be a shift where all sizes can be models so that people can have something to relate to.