Rewriting Narratives: Erin Zhurkin, Author of ‘Plus-Size in Paris’ and Host of the ‘Plus-Sized Hearts Podcast

Welcome to an inspiring conversation with Erin Zhurkin, the author of “Plus-Size in Paris” and the host of the “Plus-Sized Hearts Podcast.” Erin’s journey from feeling like an outsider in Paris to rewriting her own narrative is a testament to the power of self-discovery and embracing vulnerability. Through her book and podcast, she opens a dialogue about body image, cultural challenges, and the importance of storytelling in finding empowerment and belonging. Join us as Erin shares her experiences, insights, and the transformative impact of embracing one’s true self.

Can you tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that inspired you to start rewriting your story?

The pivotal moment that I decided to rewrite my story was when I realized that I COULD rewrite my story. My book Plus-Size in Paris was inspired by some of the experiences I had living in Paris in a plus-size body, and I felt like such an outsider. I realized one day when I was walking around the Bois de Boulogne and I ran into another woman that was a larger body than the norm that you see in Paris, the question crossed my mind, “I wonder what it’s like for her being plus-size in Paris, does she feel the same way…” and somehow saying that in my mind sparked a feeling that maybe there were other women that might be feeling the same as me and if I were to tell my story it might help me rewrite my experience which might then give voice to them too. It was one of those moments in life when you feel you were gifted something. 

How did you navigate the cultural challenges you faced while living in different countries, particularly regarding body image?

    I’m still navigating cultural challenges as I moved from Paris to Dublin, and I currently live in Seoul. I’ve come to realize that navigating these challenges comes back to how I feel in myself and what I think I can offer the culture where I live at the time. Regarding body image, I’ve learned it really comes down to me and how I go about it. For example, I launched my book Plus-Size in Paris in Seoul. I had my first of many book launch events in Seoul and by doing that, by opening my story in such a vulnerable way it opened a dialogue that allowed other women at that launch event to share what it’s like in Korea and how the body image here is full of unattainable stereotypes and how young girls are suffering under it. I’ve learned to not be afraid to talk about it openly and have an open heart. 

    Could you share some insights into your creative process while writing “Plus-Size in Paris”?

      The creative process for me writing this book went very deep. I often wonder if other authors have this kind of journey with their first book or if I just take things too much to heart. For me it was about allowing myself to be messy, vulnerable, and broken completely open. I had to allow all fears to see the sunlight and I had to be willing to be open and true to the story as uncomfortable as it was sometimes to document what it felt like for me in those scenes. Which takes me to your next question…

      Can you share a specific scene from your book that closely mirrors a real-life experience? How did it feel to immortalize that moment in literature?

        I had a few what I call anchor scenes that happened to me as I’ve mentioned before so I wanted to stay true to those as they added a kind of realness to the fiction because I could write them with authenticity. I thought about doing a memoir, but I decided in the end that I wanted to do have fun creating a story too as there were such fun places to insert some humor and off the beaten path Parisian moments that would add a little fun to what wasn’t always a pleasant experience. 

        How do you hope your story will resonate with readers, especially those who may relate to your experiences?

        I hope my story will resonate with readers the way they need it too. I think there are layers to this story, and I hope readers will find the places in those layers that offers them reflection, refuge and belonging. I really want women to come away feeling empowered and that they have been on a fun yet heart stretching trip to Paris the city dreams are made of.

          by Harness Editor

          Harness believes that freedom of expression equals female empowerment. The truth? We’re a badass authentic community of fierce women, and we exist to help your voice be heard. Harness is here to be your safe haven. A place to shed the competition, the insecurities. This is a place to rise by lifting others. This is who we are.


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