A Plus-Size Queer Model Poses in a One-Piece and Oozes Body Positivity

People
10 months ago

Nowadays, the most widespread advice is to love ourselves as we are because there is no single beauty. But what we see on social media are photos showing perfect bodies, a luminous look, and lots of filters. Against all this seems to be Ady Del Valle, the plus-size model who came to revolutionize the fashion world, and much more than that. Here we tell you their story.

They weigh 449 lbs, and they are gay. Arcadio “Ady” Del Valle infiltrated the world of fashion and left no one indifferent. Could it be that something has really begun to change?

It was in 2015 when Ady first started posting selfies on Instagram; their intention by no means was to be a model, although they loved the fashion world. Ady felt like they didn’t belong to that glamorous world. What they wanted was to meet people like them.

That was their first step into social media where, despite what people say, there only seems to be room for what’s considered “normal.” But for Ady, it was a passage that allowed them to make visible what until now had been neglected.

They were born in Boston in 1987 and come from a Puerto Rican family. For many years, Ady was a spectator of fashion shows, interviews with models, and the reality shows. That was until 2016 when they were approached by an independent designer who wanted them to walk the runway at the New York Fashion Week.

At first, Ady resisted a little, considering it inconceivable to be walking down a catwalk. But then they agreed, following the advice of friends and family. Within a month, they were parading in an old church in New York with other XXXL-sized models.

But it happens that Ady is not just “a pretty face.” Their goal goes beyond a desire for personal fulfillment, which is something much deeper and collective. Ady’s figure and the photos in their networks push us to reflect.

Their career has undoubtedly created a revolution in the modeling industry, of which they are now a part. Their photos mark a before and after in social networks. Why has Ady become a disruptive reference in the world of plus-size fashion?

Ady is shown on the beach, in front of a pool, or sunbathing with a bare torso or in a full swimsuit. They mix tulle with animal print, lace bodices with digging thongs, and are light years away from the stereotype of the sullen man who wears a lumberjack shirt and does power work. For this plus-size model, clothing fulfills a function that until now excluded obese people: it no longer serves to cover up, on the contrary, it highlights the figure.

Today, Ady is an activist in the plus-size industry and aspires to stop people like them from being seen as an anomaly. They do it in a very clever way: instead of getting caught up in the networks, Ady uses them for his own purposes.

In their own words, “On Instagram, you’re going to see very few photos of plus-size men in swimsuits because they get taken down. Different bodies get deleted. And ultimately, they’re censoring someone who looks different because they’re bigger, or because they’re of color, or whatever. But we have more power than social media; without us, social media doesn’t exist.”

When asked why they think an XXXL body is annoying and not an XS one, Ady replies, “Since we are kids, we see on TV what beauty is, and we idolize it when we grow up because that’s what TV and magazines teach us. But these days there’s something different: with social media, people like me have an advantage. We can change that narrative so that others can see other bodies, and maybe one day TV and magazines will show these bodies, bodies like mine.”

Maybe yes, this time, we can get our hopes up and believe that something has finally started to change.

We all, to some extent, have an idea of what is considered to be beautiful and desirable. To deny this would be untrue. Going against a stereotype is a lot like swimming against the current. However, there are more and more brave people who manage to do it, and they have earned our respect.

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