Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Here are 14 Plus Size Latina Pioneers to Know!

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! We wanted to kick off this amazing month by highlighting some of the Latinos who inspired us and countless other Latinos growing up. These Latina plus size pioneers paved the way for so many by shattering outdated beauty standards and following their dreams. We had to shine a light on a few of the PIONEERS of the plus size game who laid the foundation for plus size fashion as we know it today…

Seeing someone who looks like you do something you never thought possible is truly inspiring and life-changing. Many of us wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for these beauties!

It shows how powerful representation is and why we must continue to push for diversity in the fashion industry!

Here are 14 Latinos Plus Size Pioneers to Know!

1. Grisel Paula

This model turned CEO belleza is originally from San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. In 2008, she scored a 6-page spread in Ebony magazine shortly after being signed to a modeling agency.

In 2015, she became the face of the clothing brand Maggie London. She founded the brand, Rebdolls in 2014, to deliver fashionable, trendy from sizes Small to 5X.

2. Denise Bidot

Plus Size Pioneers to know: Denise Bidot

Denise Bidot has broken ground for so many models con curvas today! The stunning half-Puerto Rican made history in 2014 by becoming the first plus-size model to walk not one, but several runways during New York Fashion Week.

She continues to be one of the most recognized faces in plus size fashion. Not only that, but she also recently dropped one Commercial oil from Olay! Talk about representation!

3. Virgie Tovar

Plus Size Pioneers to Know: Virgie Tovar

Virgie is a writer and bold activist. Her knowledge and expertise have made her one of the country’s leading experts and speakers on weight-based discrimination and body image.

In 2018, she was named one of the 50 most influential feminists by Bitch Magazine. She is open about the damage of diet culture and has wrote several books on the subject.

4. Marcy Guevera

Latina Plus Size Pioneers to Know - Marcy Guevara Pete

Marcy Guevara wears many hats: producer, host, celebrity fashion stylist, business owner and influencer! She is a co-owner Plus the busa thrift store in Los Angeles.

Marcy entered the plus size fashion scene in 2010 when she started hosting plus size fashion videos online. With her background in broadcast journalism, Marcy was a natural and has been a mainstay in the plus size fashion scene ever since!

5. Anastasia Garcia

Latina Plus Size Pioneers to Know - Anastasia Garcia

Anastasia Garcia is one photographer and body positive activist. She uses her skills as a photographer to challenge the fatphobia that exists in fashion.

Anastasia’s photography has been featured in magazines such as Elle, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. Recently, she started a viral hashtag, #MyQuarantineBodyas a way to fight back against hurtful memes about weight gain during the pandemic.

6. Lornalitz Baez

Latina plus size pioneers- Lornalitz Baez

Lorna Baez is an OG in the plus size fashion world, and rightly so! La hermosa Latina has graced many runways including Baby Phat, DaDa, Lady Enyce.

In 2012, Lorna starred in the reality docuseries, Curvy girls. The show had a two-season run, centered around the lives of popular plus-size women in the fashion industry.

7. Fluvia Lacerda

Latina Plus Size Pioneers: Fluvia Lacerda

Fluvia is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable plus-size models, period! The Brazilian model has walked runways, graced magazine covers and shot ad campaigns for major brands such as Torrid and has been called “plus-size Gisele Bundchen.”

8. Jay Miranda

Latina Plus Size Pioneers: Jay Miranda

Jay Miranda made his mark on the plus size fashion scene as a plus size blogger and has proven to be a mainstay in the plus size fashion world.

This Latina has a signature elegant, feminine style and has proven that moms have great style!

9. Christina Mendez

Latina Plus Size Pioneers: Christina Mendez

Daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Christina Mendezhas appeared in Glamour, Latina, Cosmopolitan, Essence and many others.

She is one of the first plus size Latina models to serve as a featured model for clothing brands such as Baby Phat, Apple Bottoms, Ashley Stewart, Rocawear and Dereon.

In 2016, Mendez was chosen as “Model of the year” by Full Figured Fashion Week.

10. Ashley Nell Tipton

Latina plus size pioneers - Ashley Nell Tipton
plus size bodysuit at AshleyNellTipton.com

Ashley Nell Tipton is a fashion designer who brings bold and playful designs to life for a plus size customer base.

In 2012, she showed at New York’s Full Figured Fashion Week. From there, Tipton competed on and won that 14th season of Project runway.

She has been a busy bee! From patterns to plus size jewelryto her own collection with JCPenney, Ashley has built. In November 2017, she relaunched her clothing line!

11. Rosie Mercado

Plus model Rosie Mercado

Rosie Mercado is an American plus-size model, celebrity makeup artist, fashion designer and television personality. The Mexican inspiration was named in 2019 by People in Español as one of the 25 Most Powerful Latinos! Talk about GOALS!

You can catch up with Rosie on her podcast, Girl with self-esteem issuesand be on the lookout for her upcoming Orderboth coming out this fall!

12. Jennifer Barretto Leyva

Latina Plus Size Pioneers: Jennifer Barretto Leyva

Jennifer Barreto Leyva is much more than a plus-size model. She is also an accomplished lawyer, author and activist!

Leyva is the first Latina to compete in Miss Universe Plus Size.

The Venezuelan pioneer is also the editor-in-chief of Belleza XL. Belleza XL which was the first plus-size magazine dedicated exclusively to plus-size Latinas.

13. Madeline Figueroa Jones

Latina Plus Size Pioneers: Maddy Jones

Madeline is a talented producer, public speaker and editor-in-chief of PLUS Model Magazine. A true trailblazer, Madeline has helped countless mujeres con curvas pursue their dream of working in the fashion industry by giving plus-size women a platform to shine.

She also continues to create countless opportunities and events to celebrate the fuller shape.

PLUS Model Magazine is a publication that celebrates the plus size fashion and modeling industry. PMM has been running since 2006 and continues to be a respected media source in the plus size world!

14. Nikki Gomez

Latina Plus Size Pioneers- Nikki Gomez

Nikki Gomez began her career in plus size fashion as a print model in 2004.

In addition to modeling, Nikki discovered her passion for photography and used her knowledge of the plus size fashion industry and prowess with the camera 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.

On lasting impact

These Latina plus size pioneers on this list are all different and inspiring in their own unique ways, and we can’t imagine plus-size fashion without them. Their work and contributions have only added to what we know and how we experience plus size fashion and the community that supports it.

At the moment there is a new wave of Latinx influencers and models that Taylee De Castro and model and TikTok star Denise Mercedes which is at the forefront of plus size fashion.

This gives us hope that the plus size fashion industry will only continue to expand because representation is a beautiful thing.

Our fellow Latinas know we are quick to be stereotyped and put in a box, but these ladies are great examples that you can be anything you dream of because las Latina’s son fuertes y poderosas. <3

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