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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month With Lene Pelayo

It’s pretty remarkable that after 16 years PLUS Model Magazine is still able to accomplish some FIRSTS.

This year we featured our first special needs model on the cover and this month our gorgeous cover model Lene Pelayo is our first Belizean model.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Most Belizeans are of multiracial descent. About 52.9% of the population is of mainly Indigenous descent (mostly Maya) and European descent (Indigenous Latino), 24.9% are Kriols, about 10.6% are Maya, and about 6.1% are Afro-Amerindian (Garifuna).

As we approach Hispanic Heritage Month it was important for us to feature someone who would help us to promote the diversity and beauty that we find when we embrace our rich culture and diversity and how important it is to continue to advocate for diversity in our industry.  

PMM: WE’VE BEEN FOLLOWING YOUR CAREER FOR A WHILE… HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MODELING?

Lene: I have been modeling for about 10 years now.

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

PMM: MODELING IS A GREAT CAREER BUT ONE WHERE EVERYONE’S JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY?

Lene: My modeling career has definitely been a journey. It started when I was encouraged by a friend to go to a casting for a runway show. Turns out it was actually a casting for a pageant, “MISS PLUS TOP MODEL”. I was hesitant but I entered the pageant anyway and ended up winning the pageant. That opened up the passion that was laying dormant and I began doing my research on plus size modeling.

Diversity and inclusivity were lacking when I first started modeling. It got me to the point where I wanted to give up so many times but I kept on pushing through. I had the drive and tenacity,  along with the emotional support from my family and I knew that giving up was not an option and it still is not an option.

Over The years I had to work on building my confidence and embracing my true authentic self and that liberated me from comparing myself to other models and I began to be inspired by them instead. I’ve been modeling for 10 years and I truly feel like I’m just seeing the fruits of my labor and investments I’ve made over the years and it was so worth it! I feel like I’m just scratching the surface and it gives me great hope to keep it going.

The industry has evolved so much and will keep evolving for years to come. I’m beyond grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way and for the lessons that have turned into blessings. 

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

PMM:  HOW MUCH DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO SEE MORE LATINX & MULTIRACIAL REPRESENTATION IN MEDIA, FASHION, AND SPECIFICALLY IN THE PLUS SIZE INDUSTRY?

Lene: I’m a proud Belizean! It gives me great joy to see more Latinx & multiracial representation in media, fashion, and specifically in the plus size industry. To hear the passion in the voices of those who speak up for us in the media unapologetically. To see the creativity of those who are not afraid to express themselves through fashion and the confidence and fearlessness you see in the plus size industry is truly amazing! We’ve come such a long way and I’m eternally grateful to those who have paved the way not just for myself, but for many others who kept on believing in themselves and in their dreams.

PMM: WE RECEIVE HUNDREDS OF EMAILS MONTHLY ASKING FOR MODELING ADVICE, WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PURSUE A MODELING CAREER?

Lene: My advice for people who want to pursue a modeling career is to be your authentic self. Know that modeling is a journey that will require you to be patient. Don’t compare yourself to other models, instead be inspired by them. Be kind to yourself and don’t get easily discouraged. Believe in yourself and be confident.

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

PMM: WE’VE SPOKEN WITH MODELS WHO ARE REPRESENTED BY AGENCIES AND THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO WORK FREELANCE. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MODELS ON EITHER PATH?

Lene: For models who are represented by agencies, my advice would be to check in with your agent at least once a month. Just to make sure you both are on the same page in regards to clients, test shoots, casting, digitals, portfolio, etc. Don’t just sit around waiting to hear from your agent, take the initiative and reach out. The foundation of your career in modeling starts with the relationship you have with your agent.

For freelance models, my advice would first be to decide what type of modeling you want to do. Invest in a professional portfolio, and sign up for freelance modeling websites, but just be really careful to avoid scams and danger. Use social media platforms to your advantage and promote your brand. Lastly, you don’t have to accept every job that is offered to you, if you don’t have peace about it don’t do it. 

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

PMM: WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO LOOK WHEN YOU ATTEND CASTINGS?

Lene: My go-to look for castings is bone straight hair, natural makeup, a fitted tank top (black), skinny jeans, a tailored blazer, and comfortable heels.

PMM: WHAT IS YOUR DREAM MODEL JOB?

Lene: My dream model job is to manifest a beauty campaign with FENTY BEAUTY.

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Photography
raulromo.com
IG @raulromo

Hair & MUA
IG @mkupbyyevra

Lene is represented by
jlmodelmanagement.com