Happy Spanish Heritage Month! We wanted to kick off this amazing month by highlighting some of the Latinos who inspired us and countless other Latinas to grow up with. These Latina plus size pioneers paved the way for so many people by breaking with outdated beauty standards and following their dreams. We had to unravel some of the big size game PIONEERS who laid the foundation for plus size fashion as we know it today…
Seeing someone like you, doing something you never thought possible, is truly inspirational and life changing. Many of us would not be where we are today without these women!
It shows the power of represent and why we must continue to promote diversity in the fashion industry!
Here are 14 Latina Plus size pioneers need to know!
1. Grisel Paula
This model became CEO belleza from San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. In 2008, she reached 6 pages in Ebony magazine shortly after being signed to a modeling agency.
In 2015, she became the face of the Maggie London clothing brand. She founded the brand, Rebdolls in 2014, to offer fashionable, trendy from Small to 5X sizes.
2. Denise Bidot
Denise Bidot has succeeded in producing so many of today’s model lattes! The Puerto Rican-born beauty made history in 2014 when she became the first plus-size model to walk, not one, but multiple runways during New York Fashion Week.
She continues to be one of the most recognized faces in plus size fashion. Not only that, she recently dropped it Commercial Olay Oil! Talk about representation!
3. Virgie Tovar
Virgie is an author and a lucrative activist. Her knowledge and expertise have made her one of the nation’s leading experts and instructors in weight discrimination and body image.
In 2018, she was named one of the 50 most influential feminists by Bitch Magazine. She is outspoken about the harmful effects of diet culture and has voluminous on this subject.
4. Marcy Guevera
Marcy entered the plus size space in 2010 when she started hosting plus size fashion videos online. With her background in TV journalism, Marcy is a natural and has been a mainstay in plus size fashion ever since!
5. Anastasia Garcia
Anastasia Garcia is a photographer and active body activist. She uses her skills as a photographer to challenge her fear of being fat in fashion.
Anastasia’s photos have been featured in magazines such as Elle, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. Recently, she started a viral hashtag, #MyQuarentineBodyas a way to combat heartbreaking reminders of weight gain during the pandemic.
6. Lornalitz Baez
Lorna Baez is an OG in the world of plus size fashion, and rightfully so! La hermosa Latina has participated in many runways, including Baby Phat, DaDa, Lady Enyce.
In 2012, Lorna starred in the actual docuseries, Curvy girls. The show spanned two seasons, revolving around the lives of famous women in the fashion industry.
7. Fluvia Lacerda
The Fluvia is arguably one of the most recognizable full-size models, period! Brazilian model who has walked the runway, covered beautiful magazine covers and shot advertising campaigns for big brands like Torrid, and has been called “Oversized Gisele Bundchen.”
8. Jay Miranda
Jay Miranda has made his mark in plus-size fashion as a plus-size blogger and has proven himself to be a mainstay in the plus-size fashion world.
This Latina has a distinctively feminine, elegant style and proves that moms have excellent style!
9. Christina Mendez
Daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Christina Mendezhas appeared in Glamor, Latina, Cosmopolitan, Essence, and many others.
She was one of the first plus-size Latina models to model for clothing brands such as Baby Phat, Apple Bottoms, Ashley Stewart, Rocawear and Dereon.
In 2016, Mendez was selected as “Model of the yearFrom Full Figure Fashion Week.
10. Ashley Nell Tipton
Ashley Nell Tipton is a fashion designer that brings bold and playful designs to a large client base.
In 2012, she appeared at Full Figure Fashion Week in New York. From there, Tipton competed and win the 14th season of .
11. Rosie Mercado
Rosie Mercado is an American plus-size model, celebrity makeup artist, fashion designer and television personality. Mexican Inspirational Person Named in 2019 by People en Espanol is one of the 25 strongest Latinas! Talk about GOALS!
12. Jennifer Barretto Leyva
Jennifer Barreto Leyva is more than just an oversized model. She’s also an accomplished lawyer, writer, and activist!
Leyva is the first Latina to participate in Miss Universe Plus Size.
The Venezuelan pioneer is also the Editor-in-Chief of Belleza XL. Belleza XL was the first full-size magazine dedicated to full-size Latina.
13. Madeline Figueroa Jones
Madeline is a talented producer, public speaker, and editor-in-chief of Model Magazine PLUS. A true pioneer, Madeline has helped countless fashion houses pursue their dreams of working in the fashion industry by giving the women’s community a platform to shine.
She also continues to create countless opportunities and events to celebrate her better form.
Model Magazine PLUS is a publication that celebrates the fashion and modeling industry at large. PMM has been in business since 2006 and continues to be a respected source of communication in the large-scale world!
14. Nikki Gomez
Nikki Gomez started her career in plus size fashion as a print model in 2004.
In addition to modeling, Nikki discovered her passion for photography, using her knowledge of the plus size fashion industry and camera skills to help others shine.
In 2011, Nikki starred in the show Big Sexy, a reality show about the lives of plus size models on TLC. Now, she works as a consultant for both models and agencies.
About the long-term impact
The plus-size Latina pioneers on this list are all diverse and inspiring in their unique ways, and we couldn’t imagine plus-size fashion without them. Their work and contributions only add to what we know and how we experience plus plus size fashion and the community that supports it.
This gives us hope that the plus size industry will only continue to expand because representation is such a beautiful thing.
As our Latina colleagues all know, we quickly get stereotyped and put in a box, but these women are prime examples that you can become anything you dream of because las latinas son fuertes y poderosas. <3