Elle Quebec chooses its 1st plus-sized cover model, Justine Legault: gorgeous?

Justine Legault

Small steps, people. Elle Quebec has officially featured (for the very first time) a cover model that is, incidentally, also a plus-sized model. Introducting Justine Legault, a French-Canadian model who is positively ravishing on this cover in a gauzy white shirtdress and flashing some thigh in an ever-so provocative manner. This is definitely progress. Last fall, Ralph Lauren hired its first plus-sized model, Robyn Lawley, who was greeted with much enthusiasm. Of course, Robyn was 6’2″ and a size 12, so she didn’t really fit into the true “plus-sized” spectrum, but as a model, she definitely qualified as opposed to the size 0 types who can barely walk down the runway because they haven’t eaten solid foods in days. Now here comes Justine, who is several inches shorter than Robyn at 5’9” and a size 14, and she’s quickly taking the modelling world by storm in her own way.

As a side note, it does slightly offend me that some people will inevitably proclaim that it’s entirely amazing to witness a fashion magazine representing on behalf of “real thighs” … as if female Olympians who strenuously work out on a near-daily basis possess “fake” thighs? Seriously, let’s embrace all body types. All thighs are “real.” Here are some excerpts from Justine’s cover interview:

On her discovery: “At my first photo shoot, I remember hearing the photographer call my agent on the phone and say, ‘Oh my god! We’ve got something here!’”

On her regime: “My beauty regime is similar to that of other models. Except that I love a good meal and I eat very well!”

On criticism: “How many times have people told me during an audition: ‘I don’t like your hair, I don’t like your teeth…?’ I didn’t listen to those people and I continued to have confidence in myself. I prefer to remember compliments from people who like me how I am, and believe in me.”

[From Elle Quebec]

I love this woman. She demonstrates a very smart attitude towards an industry that possesses a commonly accepted and dumb attitude towards female body types. Please, let this be the very beginning of true body diversity acceptance in mainstream fashion magazines. One can only hope, right?

Justine Legault

Photos courtesy of Elle Quebec

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62 Responses to “Elle Quebec chooses its 1st plus-sized cover model, Justine Legault: gorgeous?”

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  1. Val says:

    Beautiful woman, my thighs are similar to hers so makes me feel better about myself in a small way!

    • RocketMerry says:

      Gorgeous, and so classy.

      See, this is why I don’t get the Kate Upton thing: look at this unbelievably beautiful woman! She IS showing skin, she IS provocative, she DOES have her lips parted… but look how classy she comes across! Look at the expression she conveys with her face!
      It’s not about body-weight and shape, it’s about having a way of being sexy, not trashy.

      • minime says:


      • TheOneAndOnly says:

        Agree, nice to see a real model on the cover not the same tired celebutards also, Vogue Italia featured Robin Lawley and two other regular sized models on their cover a few yrs ago, but it was ignored here in the states;
        The supers of the 90s were thin but not anorexic, they were womanly curvacious and sensual, Yasmeen Ghauri had curves that would make an Egyptian goddess jealous and Cindy Crawford was healthy looking; the fashion industry screwed itself when it became enamored of the waif look.

    • MCraw says:

      i feel terrible. I’m short and a size 10, with thighs similar to hers and yet… I admit I felt a little peeved seeing thick thighs on a mag cover. I guess I’m a little more brainwashed than I thought. Made me realize that not only does the industry have to change, but even the consumers who are used to the old way. Small steps on both sides, I guess.

      What a brave, beautiful woman.

      • mac says:

        I can relate. My first thought seeing her thigh was “that’s not a flattering pose”. It’s sad that a beautiful, normal sized woman looks “large” to the average viewer. She’s very pretty.

      • Pandy says:

        I’m short and curvy and recently had a tummy tuck. Celebrated by going to Aruba with bikinis and then could only comment that I look fat in photos. I’m definitely brainwashed to not like how I look, even after surgically altering myself. WTF??

  2. Chi Chi says:

    Thank God for this gradual change. Love your body for what it is worth cos no one will do dt for you. Chisom

  3. don't kill me i'm french says:

    i’m not against the thin models but i’m against the skinny (anorexic looking) models
    it’s great to show that a healthy woman or even a fat woman is beautiful and has a great body

    • Andrea says:

      Ok but there is a way to have that convo where you show concern for eating disorders without putting it back on the actual women themselves and robbing them of their personhood by claiming they aren’t “real.”

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      Also a body type doesn’t reflect upon health. Therefore calling a person with a specific type of body a “healthy woman” tells more about your own prejudges and literally nothing about the actual status of health of the person in question.

      Also – and this is very important to remember – “health” should not be a criteria to decide if a person deserves to be treated with kindness and respect! If you are not against cancer patients, why are you against “anorexic looking” women?

      • Jacqueline says:

        What I think Don’t Kill Me was saying is that they’re against perpetuating and glorifying women who look like they’re on their death-bed. Plus, anorexic women have done that to themselves (yes, I know it is an illness, body dysmorphia, etc, before anyone starts to yell at me) but it isn’t nearly the same as a cancer patient whose body has been ravaged by treatment – I don’t even understand the connection you’re trying to make.

      • *unf* Joan Jett says:

        “Plus, anorexic women have done that to themselves”
        Do you really believe that a person can magically make oneself mentally ill? That the can/do choose to be ill?

        But it is not important if the person brought it up on oneself or not. The cancer patient also might have been a heavy smoker. They still need to be treated with care, love and humanity, they still deserve respect. And so do people who have body types who you consider “unhealthy”. That is all.

  4. gee says:

    Yes, we should be embracing all body types! Thin to thick! Beautiful.

  5. Meredith says:

    I think her thighs so look a bit big on the cover but it’s the way the photo was taken. And I certainly find her much more appealing than the size 0, 16 year old models I see in clothing ads (I’m looking at you, J Crew!). Very nice.

    • Jenny says:

      I just wish she was wearing pants there. I don’t think that would be a flattering pose for anyone, thin or thick.

      I LOVE the second photo though. So beautiful!

      • Erica says:

        I agree. Even thin women need to photos taken from the right angles and poses, so why does that go out the window when a bigger woman is modeling? I feel like the magazine was saying “Look!! She’s fat, see?!” It’s just not a great pose, and like you said it’s not cause shes fat, it’s just the pose.

      • Lucy says:

        I agree, I don;t think it’s a very flattering pose for her

      • *unf* Joan Jett says:

        Hmm, I actually like that first pic and I do find her legs flattering on it. But I also do like wide hips and bigger thighs in general (a lot!) and not everybody has the same taste, so…

  6. Leigh says:

    She looks amazing! A picture of real beauty and confidence. YAY Canada!

  7. Andrea says:

    Stunning woman! I am wishing her tons of success. So happy for her!

    I agree though: this “real” woman BS has to stop. All women are real. All bodies are real. If we want to have a convo about the pressure that culture puts on women to be thin then have at it. But all women are real and implying otherwise has bad victim blaming and body shaming connotations and still upholds an idea that there is a “right”way to look.

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      Agree, we need to tear down the manufactured binary of “wrong” and “right” way of being because life is complex and people are diverse. And so are their bodies.

    • Nina says:

      Thank-you Andrea! I agree.

      Why does it have to be “plus size” or 00 where is the representation of of all women? I’m so sick of opening magazines and seeing pre-pubescent girls dresses up as grown women.

  8. marie says:

    she’s a beautiful woman. she kind of looks like Elizabeth Rohm.

    • Lemony says:

      I was trying to think of who she resembles, that’s it!
      She is gorgeous.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s it! I couldn’t think of it either, but she does look like her.

      She’s very pretty, and it’s nice to see body type diversity. People come in all shapes and sizes, designers and magazines should remember that.

    • j.eyre says:

      Kind of a cross between Elizabeth Rohm and Laura Linney, non? Gorgeous.

    • DGO says:

      When I first saw the thumbnail, I thought it was Bar Refaeli.

  9. Oops says:

    Perhaps I’m the only one but I have a problem with her : thin or curvy, it seems that for magazine, the only perfect woman is blonde with blue eyes and big boobs and that’s a shame for me

    • Jenny says:

      It’s true, but at least this is progress in one direction. Hopefully the spectrum of what is “beautiful” for fashion magazines will continue to expand.

      I think she looks lovely.

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      Don’t forget that she is also young and able-bodied. So you are right, she is just a tiny bit different from everybody else who is allowed to be shown in the media.

  10. Bored suburbanhousewife says:

    Fashion designers would sell more clothes if they featured models of all sizes. They don’t even seem to consider this most of the time.

    • ShaCur says:

      I absolutely agree- usually when I flip through fashion mags the clothing is more like art- something pretty to look at but I’d never buy. That second pic…that dress I would hunt down in a second!

  11. lisa says:


    but they didnt need to take the pic from the point of view of the thigh. the proportion is all weird like the shoot is for North American Thigh

  12. smee says:

    Sorry, but the AVERAGE clothing size for a woman in the U.S. of A IS a size 14. She’s not a PLUS size, she’s just regular. Instead of calling her “plus” lets call the usual models Minus Sized or something along those lines.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that she’s there, but it’s still a slap in the face to consider her to be an extra large woman when she’s really just REGULAR.

    • Just me says:

      I think in a lot of countries she’s a plus size, for me size 14 is very huge and absolutely not average and she’s not regular but a plus size

      • teehee says:

        Agreed. 14 is ‘large’ or even ‘xlarge’, whereby here the average clothing for mature women is M and even S.

        Clothing here for adult women (business blouses for example) begins in 40 (s/m) so that is the norm for a grown woman but in all other departments and ages it begins down with 34-38 (xs-s). In casual it usually ends at L and you have to go into the ‘large’ department to find things above 44/46 (L/XL). I wish they would understand, that “not skinny” is NOT equal to “large”.

      • smee says:

        Statistics tell a different story.

      • *unf* Joan Jett says:

        Arguments like “to me her size is (X)” don’t bring you anywhere as they rely on your very specific point of view. While to you she seems big, to some she might seem thin, or fat, or exactly the same like them.

        But what is true:

        She is very tall, so proportionally her waist looks slim and so does her face. Additionally her neck and legs are long. How many “plus size” people do you know who look like that?

        Melissa McCarthy, Queen Latifa, Roseanne Barr, Hilary Clinton, Swetlana Nikolajewna Podobedowa, … They are all as far away from the model above as they are from size 0 models.

        I think that is why she seems more like a woman of an “average” size than “plus” size.

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      I strongly disagree with the idea to define people in negative terms. Because that would not only imply that there is a right way to be a human but also in addition say that if you don’t meet the criteria you are literally LESS than the required MINIMUM AMOUNT OF HUMAN BODY. Which is harmful and dehumanizing.

      • Emily says:

        Er, most models do have less than the required amount of a human body to continue to function normally. Being even slightly underweight is incredibly unhealthy, and at the starvation level most models are, their immune and reproductive systems are in fact broken.

    • telesma says:

      In clothing, the term “Plus” has nothing to do with population size averages and everything to do with how the clothing is shaped. The term is used differently with models, with “plus” being anything larger than the average within the modeling industry, but that also has nothing to do with overall population averages.

      Regarding clothing, it’s about proportions. Juniors sizes are similar to Misses in B/W/H measurements, except the arms and legs tend to be longer and the torso shorter – because that’s how adolescent girls are usually shaped. They hit that 11 or 12 year old growth spurt and the arms and legs grow faster than the rest of the body, so there’s a whole line of sizes to fit them that are proportioned that way. Overall height and other measurements might be exactly the same as Misses sizes, but the ratio of arm and leg length to the torso are different. Petites are proportioned differently from Misses as well, with shorter arms and legs and torso and the same B/W/H measurements as Misses.

      Plus sizes are proportioned for a larger body that has average length arms and legs. The term refers to this proportioning and isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad about their size or weight.

  13. lori says:

    Sheès a beautiful girl.

  14. teehee says:

    I just want that balanced middle that used to exist in the 50-70′s: flab on the arms, a bit of a tire, but otherwise in normal shape and good health. No cellulite shopped out, no hair extenstions- just fizzy hair and imperfect skin– and a beautiful face or good makeup and lighting and fashion anyway, — thats all you need to “model” something, since they arent trying to sell us the PERSON but whatever the hell they are wearing or selling, right????

    • *unf* Joan Jett says:

      1. You can not tell by simply looking at a person’s body if the person is actually healthy or not. There are plenty of thin people who are not healthy and there are also people who are super skinny or fat and still perfectly healthy.

      2. “Normal shapes” as in opposite to what? “Non-normal shapes”? Who decides what is “normal”? From whose point of view? Why does a specific body type deserve to be considered “normal” while others don’t?

      3. What is the “balanced middle”? White, young, thin, able-bodied girls? I think you still have them, they are just a little bit thiner and less hour-glassy now.

      4. During the 60s and 70s hair pieces and wigs were BIG!

      5. “Cellulite” was actually a word invented by Vogue magazine in the 50s. Before that it was simply called “fat” and therefore not considered “non-normal” ;)

      Maybe not the specific types of bodies are the problem but the system that dictates what kind of people we are allowed to be and what kind we are not. What if in reality there is no “good body” vs. “bad body” binary. What if all bodies are normal? What if diversity is real? What if the beauty standards are just artificial? Imagine that…

      • Yvonne says:

        Thank you, *Unf* Joan Jett, for addressing all that in such a classy manner.

  15. Sarah says:

    She looks amazing in that red dress

  16. RHONYC says:

    “I prefer to remember compliments from people who like me how I am, and believe in me.”


    my life’s motto…P-R-E-A-C-H! ;-)

  17. Joy says:

    As much as I wish this signaled change I think it’s a fad. Designers are going to cling to the exclusivity factor and having models that are 6ft tall and 100 lbs is part of it. They design clothes and god forbid a woman’s body ruin their design. I’m the same height and size as this model, and while it’s good to see her, I’m not getting my hopes up.

  18. curegirl0421 says:


  19. StaCat1 says:


    I think it’s funny she is classified as plus. She is actually statistically normal.
    Outside of being insanely photogenic!

    I don’t think it’s a fad. I think designers will always have a spot for the uber thin models (couture)but if they want to make the $$$$$ they need to speak and represent the mass market. The aspirational shopper isn’t going to get you that far.

  20. Monte says:

    Glad they show her body, and not just the head shot.

  21. Heathers says:

    This makes me unbelievably, unconditionally, happy. :)

  22. Emily says:

    She isn’t plus-sized either. But she is gorgeous and healthy, neither of which most models are. (Starvation is not pretty.) So I guess it’s a positive step. And a smart one: I want that dress she’s wearing, and I could fit into it, too.

  23. titecouette says:

    Makes me soooooo proud to be from Quebec AND plus size ! She’s FABULOUS !

  24. Ally8 says:

    “real thighs” = “not-starved thighs”

    They should use the latter term, to avoid offending the young’uns who are still naturally skinny.

    The cover is groundbreaking because it shows voluminous flesh, instead of a “plus-size” model with the same proportions as a size 0 (proportions not measurements).

  25. jane says:

    I’m sorry. But when your body start to be fat… it’s mean your not healthy. Being fat is not healthy!! When you gain weight, your body is telling you something. Same thing when your too skinny. I’m from Quebec, and I don’t like this issue.

    • Bex says:

      This just isn’t true, and it goes to show how skewed our thinking has become.

      Our bodies are supposed to store fat–especially women’s bodies. We’re built that way for a variety of biological reasons. But we’re not all built the SAME. Some people store more, some store less. And this variety can occur in people who are equally healthy.

      Obesity IS linked to some major health problems, but THIS WOMAN IS NOT OBESE. You’ve just never seen anything above a size 4 on a magazine cover before, and it’s shocking to you.

      I think we could all do with being shocked a little more–until our abstract idea of beauty and the REALITY of beauty start to coincide more.

      The reality is not size 14 thighs. It’s not size 0 thighs. It’s all of them, people. ALL OF THEM.

      People come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and that variety is a beautiful thing. Our media and our minds need to reflect that.

  26. misstrishm says:

    Hum I wonder Marilyn Monroe was a size 14-16 and many many adore her and I guess in our time now she’d be considered obese by some of the comments here. I’m tired of women ripping apart each other no one is perfect.

    • Inari says:

      Which chart are you using? US sizing is a bit of a mystery to me, but IMDB states that Marilyn’s measurements were 37-23-36. If I go with Wikipedia, that would mean 10/12 bust, 4/6 waist and 6/8 hips, Torrid’s 12 would fit like a sack… (BTW, the latter’s US/EU conversion chart is quite bizarre.)

      I can believe that back in the day she might have used size 14/16, but those sizes have little to do with today’s standards. Manufacturers didn’t add 00 because people are getting smaller, but because of vanity sizing.

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