is the fashion industry doing enough to celebrate plus size models?
In 'The Other F Word' a new fat acceptance anthology, body positive model Ady Del Valle argues for more inclusivity in high fashion.
Photography Holly Grace Jamili.
Ady Del Valle is a big-and-tall male model. He is also a body positive and LGBTQ advocate, and the first plus-size male model to be featured in an editorial fashion magazine, and is incredibly passionate about inclusivity in fashion and media for people of all sizes, ages, genders, and disabilities. Ady is one of the many activists, authors and artists who have contributed a chapter to 'The Other F Word: A Celebration of The Fat and Fierce', a new anthology of body positive writing. A carefully curated collection of body positive art, poetry and prose, this book is a celebration of fat acceptance. In the book, Manefredi has brought together the voices of illustrators, authors and other creatives who are all determined to disrupt a culture that constantly equates beauty with thinness. With a focus on empowerment and activism, this is a guide for navigating our world with confidence and courage, no matter your dress size.
Read Ady's essay below:
Fashion and style are how many of us choose to express ourselves to the world regardless of our size. Society has put fat people in a box for years and has tried to dictate how we should dress or express ourselves. But the truth is, fashion has no size, fashion doesn’t discriminate, and fashion doesn’t tell you how you should look. Style is how you choose to represent yourself to the world. Being fat and loving fashion is part of who I am; it’s also a form of self-care for me. Wearing pieces that make me feel good and confident helps me to walk with my head held high because I feel fabulous in what I am wearing, and I can express that with my vibe and presence—no words necessary.
You should feel confident and amazing about yourself whether or not you make an effort to keep up with fashion. Fashion is just an accessory for who we already are. In a world where we are told, “NO, you can’t wear that” or “You can’t be that,” because you’re fat—that’s where you create your own path. In your own, self-made world you can say, “YES, I can wear that and be that.” That’s something I live and practice every day.
As fat people, we will always have obstacles that will threaten to topple our self-esteem. It’s OK to have down days—we are all human. But never allow the occasional challenge to take over your life or keep you down. Lift yourself up. Surround yourself with positive people who love you as you are and help enhance the person you are. Every day tell yourself something positive about yourself. Put on the cute piece that makes you look and feel fabulous when you step out.
Wearing the largest size as a plus-size male model hasn’t been an easy road. People have told me, “You’re too fat,” or, “You’re shooting too high at stars that aren’t there,” because that’s what society has dictated. We have been constantly told we aren’t worthy of being represented in the industry, or we shouldn’t pursue certain dreams.
Not only am I the biggest in size currently active in the modelling industry, but I am also gay and Latino. I represent a vast audience that struggles in society overall. This is why I have never given up and will never give up: because I want to be what I never had. I want to be that representation you see and can relate to when you flip the pages of a magazine or the channels on TV.
I want you to see yourself in me and say: “I want to be that or do that!” Because you can. Fashion modeling is the platform I have embraced to show the world that we as fat people are worthy and capable as we are, no changes needed. I’ve tried to pave the way for anyone following in my footsteps in the modeling industry.
Remember: You can be fat, but you’re still beautiful, worthy, wanted, and fabulous. Fat isn’t a bad word. Being fat is a part of who we are, but it doesn’t limit who we can become.
You are loved.