Jezra M Goes High Fashion in ‘Chubby Chaser’ Photo Series
Jezra M. is a model and body positivity activist who’s pioneering the #purebodylove hashtag and going to school to be a counselor for women with body image issues. We talked to her about how she got into the plus size blogging community and more.
She also recently modeled in a photo series called “Chubby Chaser” for Maison the Faux.
“The designers created that title and the meaning,” she told Galore. “Chubby Chaser is a never ending desire for more, more, more. In the insanely strange world of fashion, fashion houses act as godlike institutions; telling us how to look, act and who we should be. Fashion seems to be a repeating ritual of brands overfeeding us.”
Tell us about yourself.
I actually work and go to school — that’s my full time job. Modeling came by me trying to give women my size encouragement about their size and confidence. So I kinda started basically speaking through my pictures. I started modeling four years ago now. I started working with a photographer, and the feedback I got from women was, “Your pictures give me the confidence to wear this, your picture just made me feel good.” So thats why I basically started modeling more and speaking through my pictures.
It’s cool how a lot of girls in the plus-size community use social media turn themselves into models without waiting for someone’s permission.
The thing is girls my size, first of all they’re scared to come out their shells. I see a lot of women start now, not waiting for someone to say, “Oh, you should model.” They take it upon themselves to say, “You know what? I’m gonna do me and I’m gonna model.” Which is very good. And I see a lot of plus size girls really having the encouragement and the confidence to come out of their shell and be who they want to be and not worried about whatever stereotype you wanna say about us.
What are you going to school for?
I’m going to school to become a counselor for women with confidence issues. Right now I’m getting my B.A. in psychology and then gonna pursue my masters.
When did body confidence become something you were interested in?
It came about when I noticed that magazines and clothing lines weren’t pushing the plus size girls. They weren’t making clothes for us. They weren’t making us front line. It was more behind the scenes — “oh, you a plus size girl? Okay, you can probably be in the magazine but not on the cover.”
That’s when I decided, you know what? If I could encourage one girl out of 100 that’s fine for me. As long as my message gets out there, I’m good with that. That’s how I kinda saw it. I saw that it wasn’t getting pushed enough and then I decided to start taking pictures, start talking to girls, and start helping out women who have that issue.
I mean confidence is… I can’s tell or teach somebody how to gain confidence, it’s all within. But some people just need a little push [when it comes to] what to do to actually get it.
What do you think was the tipping point for the rest of the world to start noticing these issues?
When other girls started seeing girls doing it. That’s what I think. And then another good thing is a lot of brands, like Michael Kors and Bar III [started paying attention]. It’s so crazy because I love Rachel Roy’s clothes, and it’s recent that she launched her plus size line. With a lot of these lines having plus size, it encourages other girls to wear clothes they like. The only thing I kinda wish was that in the advertisement and commercials, plus size girls would be front line and on the website.
Did you ever think about losing weight when you were younger?
I’ve always thought about changing my diet. I don’t mind changing my diet. But I definitely don’t try to lose my curves. I always want to be a plus size girl. Plus size and healthy. Plus size and fit. I don’t mind working out, which I do twice a week now, but I definitely don’t wanna be skinny. Nothing wrong with being skinny but I don’t ever wanna be skinny. It’s just not me.
I think a lot of people don’t realize that so many girls work out and eat healthy without a goal of weight loss.
Exactly. Right now, I started working out and not eating junk. It’s not that junk is bad for big people. Junk is bad for everyone! Whether you’re skinny or big, junk is just not good. I have my cheat days where you just wanna bang on some ice cream or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, I try to control my weight but it’s just something for me that I need to do.
It’s not a matter of looking someone smaller and saying, “I want that.”
Oh, no, no. That’s what I wanna tell women. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Be you. You’re the only one on this earth. Even twins are not the same. Embrace who you are and just love yourself.
Do you ever get fed up with the plus-size label and the fact that it’s considered a separate category?
Yes and no. Yes because at the end of the day we’re all the same, we’re all humans, we all have blood in our veins. But no because it’s like plus is just, to me, an extra pop. A lot of people say, “Why you gotta call us plus? Just call us women.” Which I agree with. It has its positive and its negative sides to it.
Wardrobe: Maison the Faux
Hair : Sean Michael Bennett