Entertainment

How A Plus-Size Latina Model is Using Social Media to Encourage Women to Be Healthy

After her marriage fell apart and her son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, plus size model Rosie Mercado turned to food. The plus size model hit 410 pounds before being forced to face her weight gain. She took back her life and the transformation has been captured on her Instagram.

Rosie Mercado is a plus size model on a mission to get healthy…not skinny.

A shocking wake up call motivated her to start changing her life.

Raw Fitness

A video posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

She surrounded herself with a great support system from her trainer…

With trainer Justin Blum raw fitness #blessed

A photo posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

To her son who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Never let what other think of you hold you back!! ?? proud of my son Valentino

A video posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

Rosie stayed dedicated to her weight loss journey and credits her discipline for the transformation.

She was never shy to admit when she was feeling tempted.

What should I have !!! GREEN JUICE back to it ❤️??

A video posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

And temptation is especially challenging during a kid’s birthday party. ??

Well, eating healthy is tough with kids.

Ice cream

A video posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

Through it all, Rosie stayed focused on her overall goal no matter how hard it got.

The moment my trainer tells me not to give to keep going Think about the results #relentless

A photo posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

She celebrated all the little milestones that eventually led her to where she is now.

5 pounds down! #rawfitness

A photo posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

Rosie’s strong commitment has helped her shed 210 pounds.

Hey guys it's @the_beautiful26 my mom is on her grind again gym and meal prepping! ??

A photo posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

Her family has been there to cheer her on the entire time.

Amazing time working out with my family

A photo posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

And it looks like her journey and dedication are definitely paying off.

Omg!! Riding a bike first time in 10 years at my cousins house!! #happy #weight loss #transform #Latina @mongoosebikes

A video posted by ROSIE | MERCADO (@rosiemercado) on

Share this story with your friends and family and remember that no journey is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Isabela Merced Is Making a Seamless Transition From Child Star to Pop Star with Her New Single “Papi”

Entertainment

Isabela Merced Is Making a Seamless Transition From Child Star to Pop Star with Her New Single “Papi”

isabelamerced / Instagram

Say goodbye to Dora the Explorer–at least for now. Isabela Merced, formerly known as Isabela Moner, has reinvented herself from child star to bonafide pop singer. On Wednesday, Merced debuted the music video for her new single “Papi”, a girl-power anthem that’s inspired by “salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, and bachata”. According to Merced, she hopes the song will get the message across to womanizing men that they should “treat ladies with the respect they deserve”.

The new music video is impressive not only because it shows a more grown-up version of Merced (who we’ve seen since her Nickelodeon days) but also because it celebrates her Peruvian culture. In the video, we see Merced dressed in both American and Peruvian-style clothes, dancing to choreography that is reminiscent of stand American hip-hop moves as well as the traditional Peruvian dance known as the Marinera. Merced, for her part, is proud of the aesthetic her newest music video embodies: “I want to introduce everyone to the rich culture of my family’s heritage,” she said in a recent interview with Teen Vogue.

Credit: @idolator/Twitter

The transformation from Nickelodeon actor to superstar in the making was arguably kickstarted with Isabela’s decision to change her last name from “Moner” to “Merced”.

After all, 2019 has been a very big year for Merced. Not only did she star in the blockbuster film “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”, but she also revealed that her mother has been  privately battling breast cancer. According to Merced, the decision to change her last name came from the desire to honor family–especially her Peruvian heritage. The name Merced comes from her late grandmother, Yolanda Merced Salazar Pittman. “I believe some force, throughout all these years, has been giving my mom the strength and determination to guide me,” she told Refinery29. “I feel as though if that guardian angel would be anyone, it would be my grandma.”

So, while some child actors struggle to make the transition from child entertainer to serious adult actor, Merced makes the entire process look easy. While the music video for “Papi” has its sultry moments, it doesn’t seem to be trying too hard to prove anything. Yes, there’s a love interest who makes an appearance in the video–but the entire song isn’t just devoted to a man. “’Papi’ is empowering to girls. [It] has sass and confidence,” she says. With lyrics like “Or did I forget to mention?/Don’t like frivolous affection/I don’t want it on the first date or third date…I’m never gonna call you papi/Even if it makes you happy,” the song celebrates to independent women of the world who refuse to change themselves to make a man happy. 

Credit: @playintoit/Twitter

According to Merced, the bilingual bop is just the beginning of her exploring the world of Spanish-language music. 

Merced, who was born to a Peruvian mother and a white American father, has previously been candid about growing up bilingual in a multicultural household. “I want my music to represent who I am…I grew up with a white dad and a Latinx mom, who was an immigrant. That is who I am. It’s okay to be a mix…Us mixed kids have a place in this society, and Spanglish songs do as well,” she told Refinery29.

It’s refreshing to see such representation for multicultural Latinos who grew up in a multi-racial family. The reality is, many Latinos feel equally comfortable speaking two languages, especially if one parent is non-Latino. According to the Pew Center for research, almost 7% of Americans identify as mixed-race, and that number will continue to grow. In other words: Isabela Merced is definitely onto something.

Credit: @Z100NewYork/Twitter

Of course, Merced’s fans have been going crazy on Twitter over her Latina-and-proud music video.

Like Christina Aguilera before her, this child star is embracing all aspects of her identity and people are pumped.

Peruvians are 100% here for Merced showing some love for their country:

It’s always exciting to see your culture recognized in the media.

This Peruvian sees the music video as a beautiful “tribute”:

You can definitely feel the love that went into the making of this music video purely from its attention to detail. 

Many people are praising “Papi” for supporting bilingual and multiracial representation:

A lot of people don’t recognize that there’s no one “right” way to be Latinx. For many Latinos in America, Spanglish is a way of life. 

Of course, there are also the stans who are just in awe of Isabela Merced’s raw talent:

Seriously, is there anything this girl can’t do? We’ll wait.

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.