Entertainment

Brazilians Aren’t The Only Latinas That Are Showing The Modeling World The Beauty Of Curves

Latinas have been strutting around the house since we learned to walk in our mother’s stilettos. We can’t help it. We’ve served as our mothers’ Barbie dolls to perm, don in denim and sequins, and tie dye socks since the 80’s. Obviously, everything our mothers do for us, we’ll thank them for later. 

These Latinas are hella thanking their mami’s for their wildly successful modeling careers that prove Latinas got the confidence to make millions on their undeniable beauty.

1. Gisele Bündchen

CREDIT: @gisele / Instagram

This list does not exist if Gisele isn’t on it. She was the pioneer to bring Brazilian beauty and to end the “heroin chic” era. Today, she’s married to Tom Brady and also works as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations’ Environmental Program.

2. Bruna Tenorio

CREDIT: @brunatenorio / Instagram

Tenorio has been bringing her European / native Brasileño beauty to millions on social media and ad campaigns . She started her career walking the runway for Chanel, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabana back in 2006, and has continued to slay into her twenties.

3. Adriana Lima

CREDIT: @adrianalima / Instagram

Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of Brazilians on this list. Lima joins Bündchen’s legacy as a Victoria’s Secret Angel. In fact, she’s been an Angel since 1999, making her the longest-running model and “most valuable Victoria’s Secret Angel”.

4. Cintia Dicker

CREDIT: @cintiadicker / Instagram

Born in Rio Grande, Dicker has appeared on the covers of French Marie Claire, Elle, Madam Figaro and Teen Vogue. Dicker’s known for her swimwear aesthetic and has even appeared in every swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated since 2009.

5. Daniela de Jesus Cosio

CREDIT: @realdanielacosio / Instagram

Cosio started out as a Mexican beauty pageant contestant before she was signed with a modeling agency. Since then, she’s gone on to walk for Marchesa, Betsey Johnson, and appear in ads for Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess? and Victoria’s Secret.

6. Alessandra Ambrosio

CREDIT: @alessandraambrosio / Instagram

We know Ambrosio as the face of Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line, and was the first to model for the line. Forbes ranked her as number six on its list of highest-paid models, earning $6.6 million in one year.

7. Carmen Carrera

CREDIT: @carmen_carrera / Instagram

Puerto Rican beauty, Carmen Carrera, has become a face of transgender beauty in the modeling industry. Her career started out in “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” After she transitioned, she made a name for herself on the runway. We see you, boo.

8. Helena Christensen

CREDIT: @helenachristensen / Instagram

Christensen’s mother was Peruvian and her father, Danish, and she has been modeling for decades. She recently posed for a shoot where she somehow slipped into the very same ensemble she wore back in 1991. Don’t ask me how.

9. Christy Turlington

CREDIT: @cturlington / Instagram

Half-Salvadoran Turlington is known for being the face of Calvin Klein and appearing on more than 500 magazine covers. She works hard to improve birthing conditions for mothers around the world, which aims to save women’s lives in her campaign, “Every Mother Counts.”

10. Joan Smalls

CREDIT: @joansmalls / Instagram

This young boricua is already hosting the MTV’s fashion series revamp of “House of Style,” while simultaneously booking catwalks and commercial prints for Gucci, Gap, Chanel and more. ¡Wepa!

11. Caroline Trentini

CREDIT: @carolinetrentini / Instagram

Brasileño Trentini was discovered just walking around Brazil by the same scout who discovered Bündchen. Eventually she moved to New York City and started working for Oscar de la Renta, DKNY, and Marc Jacobs.

12. Gracie Carvalho

CREDIT: @graciecarvalhoo / Instagram

Brazilian Carvalho walked 29 of the 35 shows during Rio Fashion Week and is still one of the most requested models. Her fame is on the rise, that’s for sure.

13. Arlenis Sosa

CREDIT: @arlenissosa / Instagram

Ayyy, finally, una Dominicana! For the first two and half years of her career, she worked in her homeland where she faced colorism. When she moved to New York, she was signed on the spot, and has walked for Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, and so many more.

14. Ana Beatríz Barros

CREDIT: @anabeatrizbarrosofficial / Instagram

Barros was discovered when she was just 13 years old while vacationing in Rio de Janeiro. She eventually was signed and has since become a favorite of Sports Illustrated.

15. Sessilee Lopez

CREDIT: @therealsessilee / Instagram

Lopez is a Dominican-Portuguese super star, seen posing with Oscar de la Renta (and Oscar the grouch). She’s also appeared on the cover of Vogue multiple times.

16. Belén Rodriguez

CREDIT: @belenrodriguezreal / Instagram

Rodriguez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to an Italian mother and Argentinian father. She now lives in Italy where she hosts “Italia’s Got Talent,” while continuing to walk the runway. You win.

17. Isabeli Fontana

CREDIT: @isabelifontana / Instagram

Born in Brazil, she’s been modeling since she was just 13 years old. She caused a bit of an uproar when she posed for a Victoria’s Secret lingerie photoshoot when she was just 16 years old, after Victoria Secret promised they would not use models under 18. Immediately after, she was signed by Versace, Ralph Lauren and Valentino.

18. Jaslene Gonzalez

CREDIT: @jaslenegonzalez / Instagram

This Puerto Rican beauty knows how to win. Specifically, she won Cycle 8 of “America’s Next Top Model.” Since then she’s walked for New York Fashion Week, Miami Swim Week, and on the cover of Seventeen.

19. Lais Ribeiro

CREDIT: @laisribeiro / Instagram

A year after she gave birth to her son, she caved to her friend’s advice to model. Not long after, she’s walked for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Marc Jacobs. Today, she is a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

20. Omahyra Mota

CREDIT: @tatmoderikad / Instagram

This Dominican brought the Latina androgynous look to the States when she moved to Queens and was signed to Boss Models. Since then, she’s actually starred in movies. You might recognize her from “X-Men 3: The Last Stand.”

Way to slay in all industries.


READ: The 20 Greatest Latina Supermodels

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Karen Vega Becomes The First Oaxacan Model To Grace Pages Of Vogue Mexico

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Karen Vega Becomes The First Oaxacan Model To Grace Pages Of Vogue Mexico

voguemexico/ Instagram

According to the National Commission for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples, Oaxaca has the greatest percentage of indigenous people in Mexico. Making up 48% of the population in Oaxaca, Mexico the indigenous group continues to flourish and influence Mexican culture to this day. And yet, despite their prevalence and contributions, Oaxacans remain sorely underrepresented in Mexico and Latin America. Only recently, with the rising attention towards actress Yalitza Aparicio, have most mainstream outlets featured the indigenous people of Oaxaca on their screens and magazine pages.

Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Karen Vega broke barriers recently after becoming the first Oaxacan model to be featured in Vogue Mexico

Just 18 years old, the model graced the magazine’s pages and spoke out about the importance of seeing more diversity in the world of fashion. “It is time for new generations to have media that show them expressions of equality and educate them about the differences that make us all beautiful,” Vega told the outlet. “My grain of sand would be to put the focus on the southern woman, our stories, where we come from so that more than just photo models, we can also be an inspiration of another kind.”

According to Vogue Mexico, Vega’s journey began at the age of 14 when she helped her abuelo’s wife with her business as a seamstress.

At the time, Vega helped her measure out the dresses that she made for a local fashion form. According to Vega, she quickly fell in love with the world of fashion and began to dream about modeling as a profession. Using social media sites as her instruction guide, she began to obtain an understanding of what fashion meant. She flipped through the pages of magazines and began connecting with models to understand how to break into the world of modeling. Soon enough, after receiving an invite from the designer Pompi García and the photographer Enrique Leyva to model for part of the production “Magical Realism” in the city of Oaxaca she found herself on the path to a professional career in modeling.

She went on to join García and Leyva’s modeling agency, Talento Espina. The agency strives to represent Oaxacan models and ultimately helped Vega receive an invite to participate in an Autumn-Winter show in Mexico City.

“At first there was a lot of doubt about my participation, because although it was a very nice opportunity, the move and my parents’ confidence to leave was difficult, since it was the first time I was leaving Oaxaca,” Vega told Vogue. Fortunately, Vega’s agency was able to help her older brother come along with her.

Now she’s modeling for big brands like Vogue and says its thanks to her agency which taught her to never tolerate abuse from people who hired her and to speak up. According to Vega, working with her agency has taught her that while pursuing her dreams of modeling will come with its struggles because of her Indigenous origins it’s not at all impossible. 

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Mama Cax Walks The Runway In A Prosthetic Leg To Represent The Disabled Community And The Fashion World Is Loving Her

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Mama Cax Walks The Runway In A Prosthetic Leg To Represent The Disabled Community And The Fashion World Is Loving Her

@mamacax / Instagram

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, you might’ve heard about that incredibly inclusive and body-positive lingerie show that our lord and savior Rihanna threw for Savage X Fenty. The show featured models of all shapes and sizes, women of different ethnic backgrounds and walks of life, were cast to take part in a fashion show that celebrated the female body in all its iterations. Amongst these women was Mama Cax, a Haitian-American model who suffered a leg amputation and who’s a huge activist for disability in fashion. 

It goes without saying, but Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty label has changed things up for those who aren’t the impossibly small size of a Victoria’s Secret model. 

Instagram @savagexfenty

The singer staged her latest collection during NYFW, hosting a giant production featuring the likes of Cara Delevingne, Bella and Gigi Hadid, alongside others like YouTuber and model Loey Lane, Ceraadi, Margie Plus, and Jayla Korian. That’s without even mentioning the hundreds of dancers and performers like Big Sean, Tierra Whack, and Migos. 

Caxmi is a model who’s blog gave her celebrity status.

Instagram @mamacax

Among the models, dancers, actors and performers, was model and amputee Caxmi, who first gained notoriety via her blog of the same name —that saw her open up about her disability, as well as talking about travel, fashion, and lifestyle. “Around the age of 15, I was diagnosed with bone cancer which led to me having my right leg amputated,” she shared in an interview with i-D. “That story is what landed me on social media, to share my story and get young women to love themselves and embrace their bodies.” 

After experiencing her own depression and body issues, she made it her mission to teach girls to love themselves and know their worth.

Instagram @mamacax

Diagnosed at 14 with bone and lung cancer, she lost her right leg soon after with an amputation at the hip. “This condition opened up a completely new vision for me, I started writing a blog to talk about body-positivity. This has become my mission to give girls like me a voice and encourage them to love each other as they are. Perhaps it seems a trivial phrase, but it is a really profound concept in reality.”

In the intervening years, Cax has found her sense of self—and her sense of style. 

Instagram @mamacax

This year, she made her New York Fashion Week debut on the Chromat runway wearing swimwear. She then went on to walk for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty and landed the cover of Teen Vogue, along with two other voices in the disabled community, Jillian Mercado and Chelsea Werner. 

The response to her incursion in fashion has been overwhelming, and she wants to keep going, “So that any doors I open, stay open.”

Instagram @mamacax

“The messages I’ve been getting since [the story dropped], I’m getting chills just talking about it,” Cax said to Vogue, “I was doing an event the other day with a lot of girls with limb differences and in wheelchairs,” Cax continues. “They never see someone who looks like them on the cover of a magazine or on a runway, so for them, it means quite a lot.”

Another thing they might not typically see: A one-legged woman surfing. 

Instagram @mamacax

“I was very athletic before my surgery, and after I wanted to keep that going, so I found different adaptive sports,” says Cax, who got into wheelchair basketball and rock climbing. “Surfing was the next thing that I took on. I’m still learning, still pushing myself.” Organizations like Surf For All and Challenged Athletes Foundation are good starting points for people with disabilities.

As her career continues to rise, she wants the brands, magazines, and labels she collaborates with to think about what it actually means to commit to representation.

Instagram @mamacax

In the past few years, brands have been quick to release campaigns that loudly proclaim a celebration of diversity and inclusion. And sometimes they’re just words —especially when it becomes apparent that companies are more interested in tokenizing for sales than inviting marginalized groups into their communities. 

But Cax makes sure to keep working only with the brands who put their money where their mouth is and don’t just tokenize women.

Instagram @mamacax

While she treats every job and runway as a piece of “the bigger picture” (that is, a chance to empower those living with disabilities and to educate others), she also appreciates brands that are genuine in their intentions. “If I go on set and everything’s accessible and I have my foundation that’s my color, then I’m being represented well,” she says. “They’re thinking about me as a person and my needs. If not, then I know they didn’t care much.”

“I think some brands think it’s not fruitful for them to design for a specific group,” says Cax. That’s simply untrue; according to Nielsen, more than one in three households in the U.S. have a member who identifies as having a disability, and this community holds a collective $1 billion in spending power.

Beyond designing products with these customers in mind, Cax also raises the point that brands should also think about the shopping experience in the store. Making spaces more accessible and not using the changing stall for people with disabilities as a storage room would be a good start.

This year has made one thing clear: Women are showing up, stepping up, and taking what they deserve. From politics to pop culture, women aren’t just leveling the playing field—they’re owning it. And Cax has taken the fashion industry by storm, whether it’s on the runway, in an Olay ad, or on Instagram, Mama Cax brings a breath of fresh air and an important message: that women with disabilities deserve to be represented equally.

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