Culture

Hot, Plus-Size Latinas Redefining Beauty

They’re sexy and they know it. Get to know these voluptuous and daring, plus-size Latina models who are making heads turn.

Fluvia Lacerda

#tbt for Mar&Nua Barcelona ?✨? #QuintaDaNostalgia ??????????? #Spain #Espanha

A photo posted by ✨Fluvia Lacerda✨ (@fluvialacerda) on

Denise Bidot

Rosie Mercado

Griselangel Paula

Jakaliene Rivera

Natalie Monet

Nicole Zepeda

On the runway! #plusnightout2013 #plusmodel #igigi #runway #nicolezepeda #msamodels #msacurve

A photo posted by Nicole Zepeda (@nicolezepedatx) on

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.

Victoria’s Secret Is Officially Eating Its Words After Hiring A Trans Model To Represent Its Brand

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Victoria’s Secret Is Officially Eating Its Words After Hiring A Trans Model To Represent Its Brand

@valentts / Instagram

Several times in the past, Victoria’s Secret has come under fire for the hiring practices of their models. For instance, the underwear company has been accused of not hiring women of color — especially dark women — for their campaigns. Also, they have made disparaging comments before about hiring plus-sized and transgender models to display their products. 

However, with the addition of its newest model, it seems that the brand has had a change of heart– or is, at least, trying to win back ours.

Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio has been confirmed as the first trans model to be hired by the company for any of their lines or campaigns.

Instagram / @valentts

Last week, the model posted a photo of herself on her Instagram, causing fans to speculate about the collaboration. In it, Sampaio tagged Victoria’s Secret’s Insta and added the hashtags #vspink, #campaign, and #diversity. She also posted a video of herself days later with the caption “Never stop dreaming genteee” along with the hashtags #staytuned, #vspink and #diversity.

Despite these posts, her partnership with the lingerie brand wasn’t confirmed until Monday. 

Sampaio’s agent, Erio Zanon, confirmed with CNN that the model has been hired by Victoria’s Secret for a campaign. The campaign is set to be released in mid-August 2019 and the brand’s popular PINK line is reported to be its target.

Hiring the Brazilian as a new face of their brand is a huge departure from Victoria’s Secret’s very recent exclusionary stance.  

Twitter / @ConLaGenteRos

Back in 2018, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer for Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, created controversy with certain comments he made during an interview with VOGUE. When asked about adding plus-sized models and trans models to their yearly Victoria’s Secret special or to their advertisements, Razek rejected the idea. 

“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this?” the marketing officer asked hypothetically. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”

Razek later apologized for his comments after the trans and LBGTQ communities pushed back on his offensive words. In his official statement, he clarified: “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we would absolutely cast a transgender model for the show.”

Supporters of the brand’s decision to hire Sampaio were quick to celebrate the partnership for the history maker that it is.

Twitter / @Lalaribeiro16

Fellow Brazilian model Lais Ribeiro sent her congratulations to the newest Victoria’s Secret’s model on her incredible news. In a tweet from her personal Twitter account, the Latina posted a screenshot of an article describing the Latina’s new job with the caption, “First transgender to shoot with Vs! This makes me so happy!” We’re ecstatic that Sampaio has the support of other models during this new and challenging role. 

Fans on Twitter were also happy to learn of Victoria’s Secret’s historical hire and shared their hope that it would lead to other important diversification.

Twitter / @JorgeMarceloBl1

 As this tweet points out, the hire is way past due. Our society is becoming more noticeably diverse and, with the change in dynamics, our marketing and entertainment should also reflect these differences. Just like this Twitter user, we are looking forward to the day that Victoria’s Secret hires plus-sized women, more Black and brown women, and disabled people to rep their runways. 

Still, we can’t help but admit that this hire could partially be driven by the poor reaction to their earlier anti-trans sentiment. 

Twitter / @ThePrinceLogan

Twitter user points out that the lingerie brand has been losing big money for a while now. After a disastrous 2018, Victoria’s Secret announced in April of 2019 that they would be closing over 50 stores by the end of the year. This inclusion of a trans model could be seen as pandering to an untapped demographic in order to get their sales up. 

However, we’re reminded that progress is progress no matter how it comes about. 

Twitter / @SunjazzD

Whether this is a hire with an ulterior motive or not, the fact that Sampaio has been brought on as the first trans model for Victoria’s Secret is huge. Progress should be celebrated no matter how it comes about and we’re certain that Sampaio will make a heavenly addition to the lingerie brand’s team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmPDFBzZKao