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Models to Watch- Interview with Iv Mercedes

Iv doesn’t shout and scream to be heard. You won’t find her jumping up and down waving her hands in the air, begging to be seen. Her growth is quieter, more powerful. It comes with the raise of an eyebrow, a chin lifted up in defiance and an unrelenting work ethic that is sure to thrust her into the stratosphere in both modeling and body empowerment. Nothing shines through more than her refusal to doubt herself, and that’s something I think all of us could learn from. Join me in learning more about someone who’s sure to remain in the limelight.

Photography:@thenikkigomez Mua:@melangenyc Designer:@isolicious

Photography:@thenikkigomez
Mua:@melangenyc
Designer:@isolicious

SKORCH: Have you always been a plus size woman or did a change happen? If so what was that change and how did it affect you?

IV:  I’ve always been “tall, for my height ” since coming to the USA from Spain; I was always the last person in line as we always lined up to go anywhere in school. I didn’t have an issue until “adults” would comment on my height or if I really wanted that extra serving of food? Yes, I do. I remember a teacher coming up to me in 5th grade when I was on the lunch line asking me to not stop to pick up everything, I wasn’t insulted until the kids started laughing and she didn’t stop and say anything to the other kids.

SKORCH: How did you get started with modeling?

IV: In High School,  I wasn’t the tallest anymore but I had shaped up nicely with puberty. I recall some of my classmates skipping breakfast and lunch to try to fit into the latest ” Tommy Hilfiger Jeans”. I for one still was getting the 2nd serving of food, I appreciate food until this day. I can not imagine being hungry by choice. With that I accepted that one, my body will only go down a certain size and two that I had to accept who I was.

Cindy Crawford was the ideal beauty at the time (she still is) but at the time she was more advertised. I didn’t look like her, and I didn’t get mad. It was an epiphany to work with what I had. I shared with one of my high school best friends that I wanted to be a model and she just said, “Ok, just don’t be a dumb model”. I started modeling at talent shows and college events and eventually found a modeling management agency, which basically met twice a week to rehearse runway, posing and hosted their own fashion shows at times. There I met models from all different backgrounds and looks!!

SKORCH: Was there a specific moment when you knew this was your calling?

IV: I modeled at a ‘Black Expo’, it’s an event still held today at the Jacob Javitz Center in NY where black businesses come and advertise and promote their product. It is usually hosted by a well-known radio station, 107.5 WBLS.  Designers are part of this event and they needed models. There was one outfit that I loved, it was a knit, colorful dress. I felt so beautiful in it. When I went on stage I twirled and smiled and twirled. After the show, my best friend said, “Great job! You really liked that outfit?! You were gliding!!” I laughed but was really happy that it fit perfectly, I loved it and I was able to show that through modeling. That was the moment that I remember being significant.

SKORCH: Have your friends and family noticed a change in how you carry yourself and interact with people?

IV: My friends and family always appreciated that I accepted my size. In Europe where most of my family lives, I am way overweight. I don’t know if it’s genes but my cousins share their struggles with losing weight. But they are very proud of me. It’s different living in America and they encourage me to keep going.

SKORCH: What has been the best moment for you in this journey?

IV2

Photography:@thenikkigomez Mua:@melangenyc Designer:@isolicious

IV: My best moment in this journey has been finding the community of plus models and designers and magazines that are about revamping , shaping, and expanding the image of beauty . I am happy to be part of this revolution.

SKORCH: What’s a look that you tried because of modeling that you never would have worn otherwise?

IV: I call myself Chameleon Of Plus, because I have a short Ceasar haircut but I will also wear wigs. I love the transformation. I can wear a wig on Monday, no wig Tuesday, another wig Wednesday channeling my mood through my hair and clothes. I have no specific dress code or adhere to one anyway because of modeling.

SKORCH: If you look into the future, what is your definition of success?

IV: My definition of success is encouraging one person to accept their individuality and have that person encourage someone else. If I can be a part of domino effect to someone who sees themselves in me, I am successful. I live my life by building my self-love and confidence. Life isn’t perfect but with self-love you are almost there.

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