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