Tyra's Newest Model Find: A 'Fiercely Real' Contest Winner

03/03/2010 at 05:15 PM ET

Michael Loccisano/Warner Bros

She’s a size 14 and fierce: Meet Sheridan Watson, the 17-year-old winner of Tyra Banks’ newest modeling competition, the Fiercely Real Teen Model Search. “Since cycle 1, the teen fans of America’s Next Top Model have written me letters and have approached me…asking me ‘Tyra, when are you going to do a cycle for teens?'” Banks tells PEOPLE. So this year, Banks launched the first ever plus-size teen modeling search, which invited girls between ages of 13 and 19 who wear a dress size between 12 and 20 to compete for a contract with Wilhelmina Models and the cover of Banks’ MagaLine Tyra: Beauty Inside & Out. As the winner, “I’m still waiting for it all to hit me,” says the New Jersey-based Watson. “Growing up it was like modeling was not an appropriate profession for someone my size because I’ve always been curvy.” Now, she says, “I know it is possible.” In addition to expanding “the narrow definitions of what’s considered beautiful,” Banks — who will continue to host this contest annually on her site tyra.com — says she’s looking to redefine the term plus-size. “The term plus-sized is so misleading so I’m renaming it Fiercely Real,” explains Banks. “What’s considered plus-sized in the fashion industry is actually average in the real world. I want women to realize that the women they see in the magazines are not the norm.” See more at tyra.com and pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday for even more from Tyra.

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Showing 108 comments

Elle on

Are you kidding me, fat people are not good looking.

Stephanie on

@ Elle: you’re a close-minded idiot and an example of what is wrong with people today. Marilyn Monroe was a major sex symbol and about a size 14. Are you going to say she is not good looking?
The girl in the photo above is very pretty. Stick figures, where you can see every bone in their body, is not an example of prettiness or high fashion, it means the girl needs to eat and be healthy. Curves do not equal fat nor does it equal ugliness.

Kathy on

Seriously Elle? Ignorance is never pretty. I think beauty depends on the person who is doing the looking. Some like twigs, some like a little cushion and some just like people.
Oh and watch out for Karma.

Jaclyn on

Elle – You’re a total moron. A size 14 is NOT even close to being “fat”.
It’s people like you who cause these young teens develop eating disorders, have self-esteem issues, and struggle their entire lives to be proud of their curves.
Get a clue…and a brain while you’re at it.

Lucy on

I am pretty sure that Elle is just hungry for attention. IGNORE HER.

Alice on

whatever! coming from a skinny person, we eat! Don’t be mad that you can’t eat whatever you want and stay rail skinny!!!! Just keep eating your feelings…
skinny people rock.

HJ on

Well Elle, if we’re going with your “logic”, then you must be extremely fat because that’s one of the ugliest comments I’ve ever heard! I feel sorry for ignorant people like you, my dear.

Alice on

hey jackie,
you can buy a clue not a brain!

Jane on

I tend to find that bigger sized women are a lot more attractive they have gorgeous faces and personalities!!!

Ashley on

@Alice. Fantastic for you that you can eat whatever you want. I’d rather have curves and shape to my body than look like a rail. I’m not fat my size fluctuates from 10-12 I have hips, boobs, and curves and I or my man wouldn’t have it any other way.

Real Women Have Curves.

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