When it comes to the modeling industry, representation matters, but it's doesn't always fix the whole problem. And nowhere is that perhaps more true than in the plus-size industry. And if you ask one model in particular, she won't sugarcoat the stigma that still exists to this day in the industry. Meet Paloma Elsesser, the 29-year-old plus-size model and influencer based in New York City.
Discovered back in 2010, the Los Angeles-born it-girl entered the modeling world with very little experience. And it didn't take long for her to feel the tight box she was being placed in as plus-sized talent. "I do identify as plus-size," she explained in an interview with Allure. "Plus-size is a scapegoat because I use it as a form of protection. When people ask what I do, I feel uncomfortable saying I'm a model because I don't like to see confused faces. When I say I'm a plus-size model, let me just clarify so we can get over this confusion because it's annoying." But the label certainly comes with its drawbacks. "I don't always want to be the token big girl," she explained. "I don't want that to always be part of my description. 'Oh, she has a really beautiful face, and she's a little bigger.' It's like, I know."
Despite the limitations, Paloma has pushed through and made a name for herself as a need-to-know model in New York City. From multiple Vogue covers to multiple brand deals that take her all over the world, the influencer and model is breaking barriers left and right. And in her eyes, she's doing it to pave the way for young girls who also struggle to feel that they fit in. "People need to see more... And it's whoever is going to be brave enough to be like, 'All right, we're going to do it first,'" she explained in the interview.
If you want to keep up with the inspiring model's content, you can follow her on her Instagram account at @palomija. And, of course, be sure to check back soon for more stories about artists and creatives changing the industry one step at a time!