It’s 2019 And Body Positivity Is In Full Swing: Here Are 10 Plus Size Latinas Who Are Leading The Movement By Example

Gazing at models in magazines, online or on TV isn’t exactly a confidence booster. Or maybe we’ve just been looking at the wrong ones. Despite fashion’s obsession with skinny models, the average American woman is a size 16. In recent years we’ve seen movements for inclusivity around varied skin tones and race, abilities, gender, and ages. And this year, size had its own moment.

2019 has been the year of body-positivity —From music to magazine covers, women of all sizes are showing up and showing off

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In a society that puts so much pressure on the importance of appearance, and a fashion world that keeps bombarding women with images of extreme thinness and equating them with beauty, the brands —and women— that are leading the way towards inclusivity and representation are the ones that are winning. 2019 has seen brands and models defying the norm and redefining what it means to be beautiful. Women like Lizzo, the singer-songwriter who skyrocketed to fame repping the body-positive movement in her fun and daring outfits and performances, or Paloma Elsesser the Latina model who’s been featured on the covers of over 10 top fashion magazines this year and is the image of many major brands, are paving the way for curvy women to follow after them. We rounded up 10 Latina plus-size models who reflect real women in all their beautiful shades and sizes.

1. Denise Bidot

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This Latina made history as the first-ever plus-size model to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week back in 2015. Born in Miami, Florida, Bidot is of Puerto Rican and Kuwaiti descent, and she’s recognized for her groundbreaking work in representation. The model has started her own organization to support women of all shapes and sizes called “No Wrong Way To Be A Woman” —fun fact, she’s none other than Jonathan Van Ness’ bff.

2. Paloma Elsesser

credit Instagram @palomija

In the few short years since her career began, Paloma has walked for Rihanna and Proenza Schouler and fronted more than 10 magazine covers —including Vogue Mexico. The Canadian born model was raised in LA by an African-American mother and a Chilean-Swiss father. She’s now based in NYC and is the fashion world’s latest ‘It’ girl.

3. Jennifer Barreto Leyva

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Jennifer is a pioneer of the plus-size movement in Latin America. The Venezuelan beauty is a model, activist, and journalist who advocates for diversity. She describes herself as the first Latina plus-size model.

4. Natalia Lorenzo

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Natalia was discovered by a top modeling agency after she received over 114,000 followers on Instagram due to her body-positive message. The Colombian-born model admits that despite her new-found confidence she has suffered from mental health problems due to body image. Getting signed and the positive reaction she has received online has helped her learn to love herself.

5. Rosie Mercado

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Rosie Mercado is a multi-talented and empowering Latina. After doing her fair share of modeling, the Chicana is now a TV personality, brand ambassador and lifestyle coach.

6. Fluvia Lacerda

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Dubbed “the plus-size Gisele Bundchen”, Fluvia Lacerda is one of the most notorious plus-size models in the scene. She was the very first plus-size model to be featured on the pages of Playboy Brazil. Lacerda is the author of an autobiography and hosts a reality TV show on E! Entertainment called “Beauty XL”.

7. Barbie Ferreira

credit Instagram @barbieferreira

The 22-year old first rose to fame in the mid-2010s as an American Apparel model turned body-positivity advocate. She was featured in an Aerie campaign that went viral for the un-retouched photos of the Brazilian’s curvy body. She bagged a spot on Time’s Most Influential Teens of 2016, and more recently, Ferreira stars in HBO’s hit show Euphoria as the sarcastic, fan fiction writer, Kat Hernandez. “It’s like I won the lottery,” Barbie tells them. “Because you don’t get fat girl roles where you’re allowed to explore sexuality, where you’re not just the tragic, dowdy, chubby girl.”

8. Jakaliene Rivera

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The Puerto Rican plus-size model was the winner of Tyra Banks’ “Fiercely Real” contest. Her 2009 participation in Miss New York beauty pageant jump started her career in modeling. She has covered several magazines including ‘Glamour’, she’s walked the runway for several designers and has been the face of size-positive brands like Dereon, Rocca Wear, Baby Phat and more.

9. Grisel Paula

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Afro-Dominican model Grisel Paula is a plus-size model turned business woman. Her modeling career inspired her to start a size-inclusive fashion line. With the motto “Sexy for all” Paula launched Rebdolls which features clothes in sizes ranging from size 0 to size 42.

10. Frankie Tavares

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Tavares is an industry triple threat, having used her modeling platform to also become a successful style influencer and founder. The model turned entrepreneur is the founder of Curvy ALLSTARS, a brand that promotes wellness and inclusion with an active lifestyle.

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