This Latina Plus-Sized Model Has A Major Problem With Tom Ford Latina Plus Sized Model Gives A Lesson To Tom Ford Diversity is a word that has always defined me. Why? Because I didn´t have any of it around me, only in myself, the reflection of the mirror. Latina but not Latina enough, too tall, too fat, my eyebrows too thick, my look too “exotic,” too much of many things. Being called ugly and a monster from a toddler stage is something that has been extremely hard. Since I didn’t want anyone else to go through this, I´ve set myself the goal to work hard, to make feel others better, to show what we are as the human race: diversity, and that is what I´ve been doing for the past 25 years of my life. "This is not a favor someone is doing to us; this should be the norm, as the world we live in: diverse. " Going through my daily readings of fashion magazines, trying to have my work as a magazine editor on point, I cross paths with this interview of designer Tom Ford in WWD. In the interview, WWD asks Ford about body diversity on the runway, his less than eager response shows his flippancy towards the subject, shrugging it off as an issue of the models needing to fit into sample collection rather than seeing it as an issue he can help with. The more I read the interview the more I roll my eyes. How can a designer give such a lame excuse to not include plus-sized models? I had higher expectations for such a talented designer as Ford. “This is an industry thing. Whether we all decide to start making all of our clothes in the next size up, that’s a different thing. But there is practicality, there’s a reason models are a standard size.” If we settle on everything because ‘that’s what everyone else does’, many of us wouldn’t be here, standing up for our rights, the way it should be. At that very moment while I read I swear I could see a big, gigantic dinosaur waving at me. I felt like I was in the cave era. How is it 2018 and we are still having this conversation? I had to read the entire interview, and in all honesty, so many things were wrong there. So I´ve tried to figure it out, how could I send a strong message of discomfort with all that Tom Ford said and I did it the best and most respectful way I’ve found: recreating on my amazing size 24 an outfit from the 2017 Tom Ford collection with things in my closet. What was the idea? 1. Giving certified information on how terribly negative and dangerous the “one size” message is, from body dissatisfaction to eating disorders and beyond. 2. Proving that he was wrong, as I knew he was. I could easily recreate that look without any hesitation or effort. So if someone like me could accomplish something so powerful and diverse, how come he couldn’t? I´m the first Latina plus-size model worldwide and editor in chief of Belleza XL the first and only plus-size Latino oriented magazine in the world, which gives me a huge responsibility for every single thing I say and do. That´s why pretty much I couldn´t just ignore this, it is way too serious, as the pioneer of this industry I had to say or do something. This nonsense needs to stop and I’m doing my part. The conversation of diversity (on beauty and sizes) in fashion must be discussed at every opportunity. This is not an issue that belongs singularly to the plus size industry anymore. There are many conversations to be had about negative messages attached to people who are not white, or tall and skinny (consider this to be the perfect, average and ideal in the fashion industry). The fashion industry is growing and evolving, the fact that we have plus-size models, models from all races, models with Down’s Syndrome and other characteristics is a clear manifestation of how things are going on. Fashion should be for all, pretty simple. This is not a favor someone is doing to do us; this should be the norm, as the world we live in: diverse. We are not all the same size, height, race, etc. so why should we accept being treated like soldiers of the same army? We are not a one size world, and everybody needs to understand this. We need visibility and representation. Diversity matters. More companies, brands, designers are expanding their concept of beauty and that is something amazing that I can´t thank enough as a costumer and plus size model. The body positive movement, (which has nothing to do with fashion, but has helped tremendously) is a most on every single aspect of our lives. Discrimination is not normal, is not ok and we shouldn’t remain in silence every time it happens. Having nothing to wear is a big form of discrimination, the message we are getting is: “you don’t exist, your existence is not worth, the market is not interested in your size or shape” and that is absolutely wrong, cruel and despicable. So I´m sorry Mr. Ford, but no, I can´t take your excuses. Do not underestimate us, please. If you don´t like us, go and say it, or don´t, it’s your right, as it is my right to not remain in silence and claim my space. ' This is not an issue that belongs singularly to the plus size industry anymore.' As I´m writing this I´ve read about four new different clothing lines size inclusive all over the world. On every story, there are two sides: the one that causes the problem and the one that fixes it. And I refuse to cause any problem. Which side are you? Jennifer Barreto-Leyva Jennifer Barreto-Leyva is the first latina plus model worldwide. Editor in Chief of Belleza XL magazine, first and only for plus size latinos worldwide. Pioneer in all matters of plus size industry on behalf Latinos.