It has been less than a month since Maria’s life changed forever. Less than a month than she proved that putting yourself out there and pushing the limits of your comfort zone has some huge payoffs. Less than a month since she was named the new face of Torrid. And though this title and lifestyle is new, it fits Maria like a glove. As we chat on the phone, she hustles from point A to point B, whispering an “excuse me” as she politely slides past strangers. The joy in her voice is contagious and she talks with such excitement and hope for the future that it would be hard not to cheer her on.
That moment when you find out that your life is about to change. Congrats again @mariiagiimena for winning the 2017 Face of #TorridModel Search! ❤️❤️❤️A video posted by torridfashion (@torridfashion) on
This light-hearted optimism and confidence didn’t just show up overnight, however. As a young girl growing up in Uruguay, Maria remembers feeling out of place when trying to find something to wear. In Uruguay, where they use a European sizing system, cute, feminine clothes were not an option for girls past a certain size. Even at a young age, she was forced to choose between boxy, unflattering old lady clothes or to browse the men’s section in hopes of finding something that would fit her. When she moved to the United States at the age of ten, a whole new world of clothing was opened up to her, and she was finally able to embrace her love of fashion. With this new world of style made available to her, she began to create a look all her own made of staple pieces and A LOT of black.
Wining the face of torrid has been a blessing, and what feels to me a one in million opportunity. To know that I was picked by you guys out of so many amazing women it’s just un real to me, specially because I had the change to meet the top ten and when I say amazing women, I meant it. Torrid as a brand is an incredible platform for me to reach so many people and inspire them to do great. One thing about is that I may not be the best at something but I believe enough in myself to try again everyday and with that you get better! 😘 I hope that with Torrid’s help I can inspire other people to go after what they want with confident and to redefine the shallow misconception of beauty, because after all confident and beauty comes from within 💕🙌🏻 #torridxmaria @torridfashion a big thank you for making my dreams come true! 😘A photo posted by M A R I A G I M E N A (@mariiagiimena) on
Finding her own look meant learning to embrace her body and that took a little while longer. In fact, this love didn’t truly start to sprout until she was rejected. Her voice lightens as she brings back the memory. “I had a crush.” she says, “He told me I had a pretty face, but my body didn’t match”. Most people would be crushed by this. I know I would have grabbed a tub of ice cream, some fries and had a nice long cry to the wistful sounds of John Mayor. But not Maria. She explains that this was the moment that she decided that true beauty doesn’t come from the outside, it comes from the inside. And so she started to work on making her insides as beautiful as possible.
#behindthescenes with @missgeoburke 😘 in @torridfashion living out my dream! 💕#thankyou 🙌🏻A photo posted by M A R I A G I M E N A (@mariiagiimena) on
To say it worked would be an understatement. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, her kindness and passion wraps you up like a warm blanket and makes you believe that everything will be okay. As she talks about her favorite looks from her Torrid shoots and the new styles she has been pushed to try, hello high-waisted skirts, she can’t contain her excitement. Even over the phone, I imagine her full cheeks glowing and her big brown eyes lighting up, hands waving in explanation of the commotion and joy the last few weeks has brought about. She bubbles over talking about the love and support she’s received since her win and all the things she hopes to do with her new title. But the one thought that has pushed her through, and in-turn the message she hopes to leave, is that same message she took to heart all those years ago, beauty starts from the inside. Congrats Maria! We can’t wait to see what you and your beautiful inside, and outside, have in store for the world.