The fashion industry can be brutal for women. The high expectations and unrealistic standards placed on women is horrific. Furthermore, the damage that can be caused to young women because of unrealistic beauty standards is well documented. Fortunately, in recent years, the stigma surrounding full-figured and plus-size women is getting better and may soon fade away. But the steps that are being taken are slow and small.
However, thanks to some high-profile women, the rules are being rewritten. Both thinner women and fuller-sized women are coming together to say, “Enough!” and remind the world that all women’s bodies are “real women” and all women are beautiful. Two of these women are models Denise Mercedes and her friend Maria Castellanos. Denise is a size 14 Dominican model and Maria is her best friend. The women are different sizes, but both look fabulous in the hot styles they’ve been sharing on TikTok and Instagram. They’re proving that beauty comes in all sizes and shapes.
Denise, who was raised in New Jersey, started modeling when she was only 13 years old. At the beginning of her career, she worked as a receptionist at a photography studio that belonged to her neighbor.
The neighbor paid Denise $5 per hour. While she was working at the studio, Denise was inspired to become a model after she saw so many models of all sizes coming to have their photographs taken.
When she was 16, Denise started submitting her photos to modeling agencies in the hopes that someone would represent her. However, she was only a size 8 at the time and plus-size modeling starts at size 14.
By the time Denise was 21, she was a mature woman and up to a size 12-14. She began a fashion blog for plus size women and the rest is history.
Denise said something profound and true on her Instagram account. She asked that people stop commenting on her photos saying “that’s what a real woman’s body looks like.” She said, “All women’s bodies are real.” We couldn’t agree more. Love these beautiful ladies!
All images via Instagram video screengrabs