Our culture has a serious obsession with women having bodies that are deemed socially acceptable and beautiful. The standards that have been thrown at us have varied over the years. But the unifying factor has always been that women have to be fit and lean. Even if she’s “fit-thick” her waist still has to be small and her stomach needs to be flat. It’s highly problematic. Fortunately, there is a new wave of body positivity sweeping the nation but too often Latinas are left out of the equation.
Here are 30 curvy Latinas who are changing the game and making sure everyone knows beauty and self-love exists at any size.
Additional reporting by Alex Szoenyi
Denise Bidot is a Puerto Rican/Kuwaiti model and the founder of the #NoWrongWayMovement. She’s is repped by MiLK Models and Muse NYC. Bidot has modeled for several brands including Chromat, Nordstrom, Forever 21, Old Navy, Macy’s, Lane Bryant, Levi’s, and much more. Aside from being a successful model, Bidot prides herself on being a body-positive activist who inspires and encourages all women — regardless of shape or size — to take up space.
This San Diegan beauty is a curvy model who uses her platform to send out the message of body positivity and self-love. Venezia Cruz is currently represented by Natural Models LA, Wilhelmina NY, and Osbrink Talent. She’s proof that beauty really comes in all sizes and inspires others to embrace their belleza.
Maria Luiza Mendes
Maria Luisza Mendes is a Brazilian bombshell who flaunts her curves all over the world for Mega Model Brasil, State MGT, and Francina Models. The São Paulo native, a swimsuit and lingerie model who wears a size 14, inspires other women on the daily, with her beauty and confidence. And did we mention that Maria Luiza is also a veterinarian?! Beauty, brains, and a big heart!
This half Puerto Rican, half Japanese lady is out there representing for the mixed chicks modeling haute looks for JustFab, Torrid, and many others. With 220,000 followers on Instagram, Baez describes herself as a model, advocate for diversity, wife, and mother.
Vanessa Romo is a plus-size Xicana signed to Natural Models LA and One Management NY. This Whittier girl has modeled for Forever 21, Bella Dona, Target and many more brands! In 2017, we wrote an article on Romo and her inspiring story, where she shared, “At the end of the day you have one body and you need to make the best of it. Don’t let your body hold you back, let it move you forward. We need to unlearn all this hatred for our bodies.”
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Happy #internationalmermaidday. I like being me but if I had to choose I would be a #mermaid. Thank you @projectmermaids for making my dreams come true and creating this plus size mermaid queen on a hot NYC day. #celebratemysize #celebrateyourself #goldenconfidence #plussizemermaids #plussize
Christina is a gorge Dominican mommy, autism activist and lifestyle blogger with a vast editorial background. She’s been trailblazing since 2007! Some of the magazines Mendez has appeared in include People en Español, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Essence, and Shape.
Alessandra Garcia Lorido
Alessandra, a model signed to IMG Worldwide and d’Management Milan, is making waves in the curve modeling game (she has modeled for Christian Siriano, Lane Bryant, and Target, among other modeling work). The Cuban-American beauty also happens to be the daughter of actor/director Andy Garcia and has tried her hand at acting, appearing in her father’s films, The Lost City, and Just the Ticket.
Roxy Margarita Reyes
Signed to LA Models Runway, Latina model Roxy Reyes who shares her enthusiasm for weight lifting and fitness on her Instagram (@theroxyreyes). She also oversees the corporate office of the Good American brand. Roxy also isn’t afraid to voice her opinions when it comes to the plus-size modeling world, calling out BS when she sees it. “So this is @boohoo ’s plus model?! Am I in the wrong for thinking that this is insane?! No offense to the model, she’s gorgeous! I think it’s crazy that they chose her to model their “plus” line. Do we not have enough curve models?! @boohoo I need answers.”
Sheila Lopez is a plus-size model, stylist, and blogger out of Austin, Texas. The Tejana is the jefa behind the website La Divina Latina, where she dishes on Latinx “plus-size fashion, beauty, body positivity, and wellness.” You can learn more about Sheila in this interview by The Pink Caboodle Podcast.
Ecuadorian-American plus-size style blogger and body positive advocate Jessica Torres showcases her confidence, and a knack for style, on Instagram (with 107,000 followers), podcast (Fat Girls Club), and website. She has collaborated with DOVE, as well as with us, contributing several articles that speak on self-love, fashion, beauty, and more.
Colombian model Natalia Lorenzo describes herself as a traveler, influencer, and “confidence activist.” She grabbed attention for boldly and confidently showcasing her figure in an ASOS ad. Lorenzo is currently signed to Wilhelmina Models, in both Los Angeles and London, where she resides.
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This year will be my 4th EDC with the 2 people who I love SO dearly and couldn’t be more grateful and blessed to have in my life. @edc_lasvegas is something we look forward to every year, to make the best memories that we’ll be talking about for years to come. Something that has come to pass since we’ve been attending is some of you reaching out to tell me I’ve one way or another inspired or impacted you to feel comfortable in your own skin, and wear whatever you want to EDC, and other festivals alike. When previously, you’ve possibly felt nervous to express yourself in the way you’ve truly wanted to. There has sincerely been nothing more fulfilling or heart warming to me than that. I know what it’s like to walk into a festival environment feeling the need to compare myself, wondering if i looked ok, feeling self conscious etc. i think we’ve all been there, and it’s important to remember EVERYONE, no matter their size, or look, struggles with insecurities about themselves and has these thoughts. It makes me so happy to help someone focus on the important part of these events: which is the EXPERIENCE! The memories you make, the music, and the joy they can bring in a world full of stress and darkness. It’s ok to escape and enjoy yourself. It’s ok to wear whatever you want and whatever you feel your best in. I know a lot of times we’re so worried about the judgmental eyes of others but please remember that usually, people aren’t even thinking the negative things about us, or the way we look that we assume they are, and even if they are, remember that those thoughts come from deflecting their own negativity and self hate onto you. It has NOTHING to do with you, besides being jealous of your light. On that note, I hope to see and run into y’all under the electric sky this year ❤️ if you see me please come say hi!! 👋🏽 🦋 🎡 🎇
Dana Patterson is an Afro-Argentinian-Spanish model, who also refers to herself as “body posi OG,” and mental health advocate. She uses her Instagram to share encouraging words, as well as her favorite bikinis for summer. Dana also shared these words when she attended this year’s Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC): “Something that has come to pass since we’ve been attending is some of you reaching out to tell me I’ve one way or another inspired or impacted you to feel comfortable in your own skin, and wear whatever you want to EDC, and other festivals alike. When previously, you’ve possibly felt nervous to express yourself in the way you’ve truly wanted to. There has sincerely been nothing more fulfilling or heartwarming to me than that.”
Chicana Rosie Mercado has done her fair share of modeling, but she is also a television personality, brand ambassador, and lifestyle coach. In 2012 and 2013, Mercado appeared in the reality TV show, Curvy Girls. Her motto is “embrace your inner beauty,” and many people are thanking Rosie Mercado for inspiring them to do just that: @jodipollakplusmodel: “I’ve been a fan of yours for years and you always inspire me to never give up on my dreams ❤️ Such a fantastic outlook, I’m going to use this to help fuel my hunger for “what I really want!”. Thank you Rosie ☺️”
In addition to being a model, Latina Gabriella Lascano is also a fashion and beauty blogger. Some of the brands she has worked with include Too Faced Cosmetics, Fashion Nova, ASOS, and Becca Cosmetics.
Another inspiration is Brazilian model Flavia Lacerda, known as the “plus-size Gisele” (referring to fellow Brazilian, supermodel Gisele Bündchen). In addition to being a model, Flavia is also a designer and an author. Her book, Fat is Not a Bad Word, was released in 2017.
Afro-Dominican Denise Mercedes is a model, blogger, and designer, who is all about “body love.” In fact, she is the founder of the #becauseitsmybody movement. With summer right around the corner, Denise shared these inspiring words: “Being the happiest I can be this summer. Just positive vibes! Today I had an amazing day at the beach wearing this gorgeous swimsuit from @express and I hope I am transferring my positive energy to you. Remember to wear your bikini and not care what other people think. Just be free.”
You might have seen Paloma Elsesser stunning in all-denim at this year’s Met Gala. The Afro-Chilean-Swiss model was discovered on Instagram by makeup mogul Pat McGrath and has appeared in several fashion magazines, including Vogue, Teen Vogue, W, Elle, and Glamour. Another huge accomplishment of Paloma’s this year was landing the April cover of Vogue Mexico.
Latina Ashley Peña is a busy girl. In addition to being a model, the “multidimensional multimillionaire” is also a life coach and personal trainer, youth mentor, singer, writer, and artist. But, she is never too busy to inspire others by sharing her own experiences: “I remember looking at other people’s lives, other people’s bodies and thinking to myself “I wish I looked like that, had that, was that.” I used to admire other people and constantly put myself down. I see myself nowadays and I’m in awe. I’m so proud of myself and how much I’ve lived and survived. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud of her strength, her resilience, her beauty, her magic, her kindness. I want nothing more than to live her life… my life. ? I encourage you all to become the person you tend to catch yourself admiring. Your progress, not perfection and that is a beautiful thing. You are all you want to be!”
Ilianna Ayala is an Afro-Latina plus-size model who is signed to True Model Management. “Through her social media platform,” her website shares, “she inspires thousands of women to be confident and love themselves naturally, despite what society says. Ilianna celebrates beauty in all aspects. Her platform showcases natural hair tutorials, hairstyle style inspiration, on-trend makeup looks, plus size fashion and modeling.”
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My #TBT of this week, when I was the cover of the magazine @estancia_vzla On behalf of my magazine @bellezaxl and the body positive movement @estaesmibelleza thank you so much for the voice and space you give me and my projects. __________________ Mi #TBT de esta semana cuando fuí portada de la revista @estancia_vzla En nombre de Revista @bellezaxl y el movimiento de cuerpos en positivo @estaesmibelleza muchísimas gracias por la voz y el espacio que me dieron así como a mis proyectos. 📸 @bautedanielfoto . . . . . . . . #bellezaxl #estaesmibelleza #tallasgrandes #cuerposenpositivo #bodypositive #plusmodel #covergirl #effyourbeautystandards #plussizemodel #mybeautymysay #mybeauty #model #fashion #latina #latinx #jenniferbarretoleyva #fullfigured
If you want to know about an OG in the plus-size modeling game, then you have to follow Jennifer Barreto-Leyva. She describes herself on her Instagram as the first Latina plus-size model, as well as a “beauty diversity and size advocate worldwide,” television and radio host, fashion writer, and the editor in chief of Belleza XL magazine. After attending theCurvycon last year, Jennifer shared: “Feeling blessed to be a part of a growing industry with so many movers and shakers that care about changing social norms to become more size-inclusive! I’m truly Happy to be included in these conversations and with amazing women who do the same!!!”
Represented by IPM Models, Jessica Milagros likes to multitask when it comes to her career: model, mentor, photographer, and “Jane of all trades.” She is “manifesting her best life and training for whatever comes my way,” while also taking the time to share that light with others: “Hoping this #transformationtuesday helps to change the stigma and creates positive conversations about plus size women and healthy lifestyles! It’s not about the destination more so than the journey. My model sisters and I were working hard in our @rainbeaucurves. Celebrating all bodies!”
Inspiration Anastasia Furrow doesn’t let having lupus and Hashimoto’s stop her from being a big-time model. The Utah dweller is currently signed to NIYA Model Management and boasts 45.8 thousand followers on Instagram, where she shares her style, body positivity, and honest moments in her life with fans: “Posted this on my stories this past weekend, but I felt cute, so here it is on my TL. I don’t go to the gym regularly because my body can’t deal with strenuous exercises, (thanks autoimmune), but I make it a point to move daily as it helps keep my anxiety down. I take multiple walks throughout the day and do my best to stretch when I can. When I have the energy, I love to lift weights!”
Signed to Dorothy Combs, Afro-Dominican model Grisel Paula describes herself as “an entrepreneur in the making.” We think she’s doing a great job already; the brand she founded, Rebdolls, makes cool clothes for sizes up to 32 and boasts a staggering 258,000 Instagram followers.
Puerto Rican plus-size model Jakaliene Rivera was the winner of supermodel Tyra Banks’ Fiercely Real Model Search and has appeared in Seventeen and Glamour. She also competed in the Miss New York pageant in 2009 and walked the runway for Full Figure Fashion Week. Brands Jakaliene has worked with include the LaLa Anthony Collection (for Ashley Stewart), Rocca Wear, Baby Phat, Mandees, Miss Tina, House of Dereon.
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California Dreamin'… had an amazing time shooting for the @curvyallstars Weekend and the Beach Body Party in California from May 9-12th. Photo• @kiacaldwellphoto Swimsuit• @fashiontofigure #ftfsnaps #ftfbabe #fashiontofigure #goodvibesonly #vivalacurvy #celebratemysize #wespeak #wespeakny #wespeakmodels #plusmodelmag #honormycurves #bodydiversity #effyourbeautystandards #curvygirl #curvemodel #influencer #visiblyplussize #plussize #goldenconfidence #plusmodel #plussizemodel #model #socialmediainfluencer #plussizefashion #thickwomen #thick #MermaidThighs
“Viva La Curvy” is Latinx model Ana Laura’s cry! The plus-size model and influencer lives in New York and is represented by We Speak. In April, she took to Times Square to fiercely and fearlessly showcase her figure. She added this caption to the photo on Instagram: “Stand tall, stand proud- cellulite, droopy boobs, and all.”
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“And so we are like flowers; and bloom only, when the sun, kisses us.” . #TheQuarantineBae #TheQuarantineBaeSeries . It was a BEAUTIFUL weekend. We planted flowers, and put all the patio furniture out. We even invited my parents over for some (social distancing) drive in movie action in the backyard. Just spending time with my mom again made it feel like the best weekend I’ve ever had. It’s hard to go through these hard times without the ones who usually make the rough times better but man oh man is it making me realizing how much I rely on their love 💕 . Fun Fact: I bought this dresser from the goodwill years ago. I painted and repurposed it for my front porch. I keep all of my gardening stuff in it and cover it with flowers in the spring and summer. It brings color, femininity and life to my casita 🌸 Plussss my UPS man knows to hide my packages in here 😈 . #Spring2020 #Familytime #SocialDistancing #Asos #Asoscurve #isolationphotochallenge #quarantined #Stayinghome #lockdownphotography #yahoocreatorscontest @yahoolifestyle
Creator. Entrepreneur. Model. Latinx Frankie Tavares is all these things. She is currently signed to Kline Models, and is the founder of Curvy ALLSTARS, which promotes “body positivity with an active lifestyle at any fitness level.” And she also slays at providing inspiration: “Truth is, I wanted to give up so many times but I kept getting drawn back in. A random call, an email, a DM from one of you guys. When you’re supposed to do something, the universe tells you, you just have to be willing to listen. Funny thing is, it also tests the hell out of you at the most chaotic times. Get up & show up ANYWAY. Building something from the ground up is no easy task but each brick I (we) lay teaches me something new. ??”
As she tells her 139,000 followers on her Instagram profile, model Cleo Fernandes wants you to “love your body.” And it’s apparent she loves her; you will see photo after photo of the model happily showing her curves with confidence. The Brazilian beauty won Miss Brasil Plus Size 2012 and is currently represented by Ford Models Curve.
The last great model on this fabulous roundup of curvy models you should be following on Instagram is Brazilian Barbie Ferreira. 479,000 people follow the model and actress (she plays Kat on upcoming HBO show Euphoria) on the social media platform. She has worked with brands including H&M, Moschino, Adidas, Forever 21, American Apparel, and Target.
Mexicana Jocelyn Corona is a plus-size model who is currently signed to New Icon Models, MiLK Management, and Muse NYC. Her Instagram motto is “creer y crear,” which means to believe and create. Well, she is definitely creating a successful modeling career, with runway shows (Christian Siriano), campaigns (Ann Summers, Debenhams, etc.), a commercial (boohoo), and more under her stylish belt.