Everyday Runway

Meet Denise Mercedes, The Dominican Model Wearing Body Positivity On Her Sleeve

Denise Mercedes posts an image of herself leaning back, coral lips perched and gold hoops dangling from her ears on Instagram. She’s modeling a shirt that says “Play With My Booty, Not With My Emotions.” In minutes, the photo has thousands of likes and comments from followers calling her “fine” and her curvy figure “beautiful.”

If you would have told the dominicana 15 years ago, when the then-chubby tween was hating every chicho on her body, that one day thousands of people would be goggling at photos of her full figure, she would have laughed in your face.

Wearing @femininefunk ! Make sure you check out their new collection ?photo by my baby @brunalacerda

A post shared by Denise Mercedes (@denisemmercedes) on

But as a plus-size model and fashion blogger, that’s exactly what’s happening today.

The New Jersey-based beauty fills the feeds of her almost-300 thousand followers on Instagram with glorious photos of her breaking all the so-called style rules for plus-size women.

This dominicana, represented by MSA Models, rocks form-fitting dresses, crop tops, off-shoulder blouses, sleeveless shirts, bikinis and heels. And she looks fly as hell in all of it.

“I dress in all the ways we are told we’re not supposed to, and people, those who’ve also been told these ‘rules,’ say that I look amazing. I want it to show them that they can dress like me and also look great,” Mercedes, 25, tells mitú.

When she’s not giving the camera sexy vibes in her two-piece or off-the-shoulder skin-tight dress, she’s wearing her body love on her sleeves.

I'm my own body goals ? T-shirt by @curvygirlfever #celebratemysize #plusmodelmag #effyourbeautystandards

A post shared by Denise Mercedes (@denisemmercedes) on

Mercedes is known for modeling the coolest BoPo gear. She has sported empowering tank tops that say “I’m my own body goals” and sleeveless dresses that read “don’t let society make you insecure.”

“I love to work with these brands. I agree with what they represent, and I just feel good wearing them,” she says of small body positive online shops like Feminine Funk and Curvy Girl Fever.

But Mercedes doesn’t just book gigs with the fun, smaller curvy brands. Since 2012, when the then-21-year-old started taking modeling seriously, she has been gracing the catalogs of Forever 21, JCPenny, Rue21 and Fashion To Figure. Standing at 5’4”, she didn’t think she’d be able to land these assignments in an industry that rarely works with women shorter than 5’9”.

Her success, despite the odds, is what has kept her in this tough industry.

Hey ladies! I wanted to share something with yall ! I don't know if you see the difference or not but I got a breast reduction. Yes, a breast reduction!!! As a 5'4 girl who had double DDs, I was starting to develop back issues and ever since I could remember, I've always had big boobs. My boobs started growing in the 4th grade and ever since then just kept getting bigger. I am now a C cup and I must say I feel so much better and much more relieved. I am so happy with my results and literally made the best decision of my life! Anyways, these are my results and I am happy to answer any questions for anyone ! Btw beautiful dress from @fashionnovacurve of course ? #becauseitsmybody #breastreduction #celebratemysize

A post shared by Denise Mercedes (@denisemmercedes) on

But, like just about every curvy model in the beauty and fashion world, the job isn’t always pleasant and encouraging.

Beside social media comments that call Mercedes “stunning” and “inspiring” are slights from so-called concern trolls and fatphobic ‘grammers.

“I get criticized all the time,” she tells me. “They say, ‘stop promoting obesity,’ ‘you’re not a model’ or they call me a ‘fat whale.’”

Aside from being painful, these comments also surprise Mercedes. She can’t make sense of why some people feel insulted or grossed out by what others look like or the ways that they adorn their bodies.

That shock and confusion inspired her to start #becauseitsmybody.

Far from perfect but it’s okay, I’m fine with that ❤️ #becauseitsmybody

A post shared by Denise Mercedes (@denisemmercedes) on

This hashtag and social media campaign reminds people of all body types, sizes and aesthetics — including plus-size, short, tattooed, pierced or hairy — that they, not society, make the body rules for themselves.

“How can someone else tell another person what to do with their body? That’s insane to me. What’s disgusting to one person is art to another. Leave me alone and let me do whatever the hell I want to do,” Mercedes said of the campaign, which she started in January of 2017.

Spreading these body positive messages are extremely important to Mercedes because they weren’t things she heard growing up. In her home, being fat or plus-size was frowned upon.

Photo by @ri.productions wearing skirt from @showpo and top from @hm ❤️

A post shared by Denise Mercedes (@denisemmercedes) on

She was often warned not to serve herself too much rice or have too many slices of pizza. While body talk wasn’t very present in her household, she knew that her chunky figure was not satisfactory.

“In my culture, you have to be thin, but it’s a certain kind of thin. You can’t be really skinny. We like the bigger hips, but the curves have to also come with a flat belly. You can have a big butt as long as it comes with a small waist,” she said.

Mercedes wants to break these standards — for her community and society at large — and with every skin-baring, body-hugging and BoPo message-conveying image she posts on Instagram, she helps chip away at these limiting beauty ideals.

Lmao I was dying of laughter but the dress is now available ladies !! Link on my bio @poshtiqe

A post shared by Denise Mercedes (@denisemmercedes) on

Thank you Mercedes because you’re inspiring us to be our fiercest one post at a time.

READ: These 13 Latina Body Positive Influencers On The ‘Gram Are Reminding Us To Love Every (Im)Perfection

Let us know who your favorite curve models are in the comments. 

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Babies Trying Pan Dulce For the First Time is the Instagram Content We Didn’t Know We Needed


Babies Trying Pan Dulce For the First Time is the Instagram Content We Didn’t Know We Needed

There are few things more delicioso than pan dulce. Whether it’s served with café con leche or grabbed as a quick breakfast indulgence, it really is the perfect treat. This variety of sweet bread has become a big part of the Latinidad.

When we’re talking pan dulce, conchas, puerquitos, orejas and empanadas are just a few of the mouthwatering options. No matter which sweet bread is your fav, you can relive your first taste over and over again with every fresh bite.

Thanks to social media, we can also see the adorableness that comes with baby’s first sweet bread. Hashtags like #BabysFirstConcha or #BabySweetBread are where to go to find cute pics of babies taking their first bites of sweet pan dulce.

Here are some super cute pictures of babies eating their first pan dulce.

1. Enjoy your matching concha, preciosa.

Instagram / @alanah.aya

Just like the color pink, conchas are perfect for every occasion. This little preciosa doesn’t hold back as she takes a mighty chomp out of her pan dulce. From the looks of it, this first bite won’t be her last. Enjoy, mija.

2. Matching concha costume = GOALS.

Instagram / @gr_twins

Pan dulce-themed birthday parties are now a thing — and we really wish they were back when we were kids. What better way to celebrate your special day than to dress like your favorite food. That frosting-covered face confirms how awesome pan dulce birthdays can be.

3. You don’t need teeth to enjoy pan dulce.

Instagram / @nadyaaglae

Not having teeth doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the goodness that is pan dulce. If you’re a babe taking your first bite, just working that sweet treat with the gums you’ve been given is good enough. Just imagine how much pan dulce this cutie will take down once he actually gets those baby teeth in.

4. Just a little nibble for now.

Instagram / @ainsley_belle_511

While some babies might go mouth-first into their conchas, this little lady prefers to nibble. In her matching concha onesie, this sweetie is more proper with her first bite. However, once she gets a taste, there’s no doubt this little conchita will go pan dulce-crazy.

5. That smile says she knows this is going to be good.

Instagram / @lapasteleriadesofia

Look at the awe on her face. Look at that little grin. This baby knows she’s got something special in front of her. This pic was taken before the big chomp but that look on her face tells us it’s coming soon.

6. Nothing beats twinning with your pan dulce.

Instagram / @gr_twins

Can you really claim conchas are your favorite food if you don’t regularly dress up like them. Twinning with your favorite pan dulce is an awesome look no matter what day it is. Top it off with a concha cake and you’ve got a party.

7. Pan dulce: the perfect party food.

Instagram / @shopoliposa

Piñatas and decorations are all well and good, but a real party needs one more ingredient — pan dulce. This little lady knows what’s up as she snacks on her vanilla concha. What’s even better is the absolutely gorgeous photoshoot she had to immortalize her first bite.

8. If you are what you eat, eat lots of conchas

Instagram / @kaylaa_baylaa1

Have you ever seen a cuter conchita in your life? The answer is obviously no. This giggly little sweet bread is just as lovable as the pan dulce that she’s dressed as. Of course, her happy face could have something to do with all that colorful sugar.

9. Sweet like pan dulce.

Instagram / @madamemariposa

Those sweet, soulful eyes and that face buried into a soft concha are guaranteed to make you say, “Awwww.” This adorable shot doesn’t need any extra props or colorful backgrounds to make us swoon. If you don’t have baby fever yet, you probably do now.

10. Waiting for the sugar to kick in like…

Instagram / @normlone

Her face is telling us a lot. Namely that this little chula is lost in the flavor of her delicious pan dulce. We can admit that this state of pre-sugar high is super relatable. At least baby will be able to enjoy a nice nap after that sugar hits.

11. When you can’t wait to get home to start digging in.

Instagram / @aandylove

Sometimes you can’t wait to get home from the panderia before you start digging into the pan dulce. This sweetheart didn’t even wait to get out of her car seat to start snacking. Also, did anyone else notice that this concha is as big as her head? That’s a big project she’s working on.

12. Conchas are serious business.

Instagram / @lamonarcabakery

Although this little preciosa has a serious look on her face, those puffed out cheeks give away her secret. They’re stuffed with yummy concha. She’s obviously contemplating which piece of pan dulce she should take down next.

13. Go ahead and take a big bite, mija!

Instagram / @tres.marias.and.mama

For her “Coco”-themed birthday party, this little cutie has everything from flower crowns to guitars to complete that mood. Of course that means she also has the ultimate treat, pan dulce. We wonder if she waited to blow out the candles before she dug in.

14. We know that feeling, baby girl.

Instagram / @rlocreativedesign

That feeling when the pan dulce hits that sweet craving just right. This little cutie looks like she’s experiencing just a bit of euphoria with that first bite. The matching concha tee and pink tutu really complete this adorable look.

15. Her face says it all.

Instagram / @little_mia_sanchez

As perfect as pan dulce is, it’s also pretty messy. However, that mess is just proof that you’re thoroughly enjoying that sweet treat. This baby isn’t at all worried about the sugary mess on her face; she’s got her eyes on the prize.

16. Never too young for pan.

Instagram / @mrs.sotelo.official_

While many babies have pan dulce parties for their first or second birthdays, this little lady just couldn’t wait. As a celebration for her nine month b-day, she not only had a taste of delicious pan dulce, she also had a little photoshoot to commemorate it. After all, you’re never too young for this sweetness.

17. Now that’s a mouthful!

Instagram / @truegrumpybaby

Some babies nibble, some take a practice bite before they jump in. This baby isn’t afraid to take the plunge and go at it with a big ol’ bite. We hope he approaches every challenge in his life with the same bravery and commitment.

18. La Princesa de Conchas.

Instagram / @concha_bunny

First of all, we LOVE this look. Secondly, this little princesa looks absolutely in love with that sweet bread. No doubt, this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between conchas and this little cutie pie.

19. The look of true love.

Instagram / @iscjuanita

This sweet smile can only mean one thing: this little one is in love with pan dulce. The sweet simplicity of her first bites is what this list is all about. It’s a reminder of what pan dulce is all about: sugar, bread, and all things good in this world.

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Cardi B Got Her Baby Girl A Nameplate Bracelet And It’s Giving Latinas All Of The Nostalgia


Cardi B Got Her Baby Girl A Nameplate Bracelet And It’s Giving Latinas All Of The Nostalgia

Cardi B ain’t the only one who likes “stuntin’” and “shining.” Apparently, baby Kulture also has a taste for the sparkly things.

On Wednesday, the “Money” rapper showed off her 7-month-old daughter’s new rose gold, diamond nameplate bracelet. In the photo, posted on Instagram, Kulture Kiari Cephus is seen holding mami’s hand as her wrist blings over her Versace pants.

View this post on Instagram

KULTURE @shynejewelers

A post shared by CARDIVENOM (@iamcardib) on

The customized piece of jewelry was designed by Shyne Jewelers, who also shared the “masterpiece” on their instagram.

“Thank you @iamcardib for letting us make Kulture this masterpiece,” they wrote.

David Goldstein of Goldstein Diamonds told Hollywood Life that he estimates the piece has “approximately 140 diamonds,” weighs around “2 [carats]” and cost approximately $5,900.

The dazzling gift comes after Kulture started saying “mama” and “papa” for the first time.

Fans admired the lavish gift, while others joked about its expensive price tag with comments like, “This baby got my whole college tuition on her wrist and the age of not even 1 must be nice” and “Damn shorty got my mortgage on her wrist smh.”

“She really gonna love that bracelet for her whole life,” one user wrote. “Youre such a good mom i cant believe it, i love you cardi. Youre an inspiration to us younger girls i swear. Anything goes and nothing is impossible???? hands down a great role model.”

She really gonna love that bracelet for her whole life. Youre such a good mom i cant believe it, i love you cardi. Youre an inspiration to us younger girls i swear. Anything goes and nothing is impossible???? hands down a great role model

It looks like baby Kulture might have mami’s love for glitz and glam. It’s a good thing her parents are superstars with bank accounts to afford her young but exorbitant taste in diamonds and designer brands.

Adding a cherry on top of an exciting week for Kulture fans…

Queen Cardi B also posted a video of her baby girl and this time included her face! Baby Kulture’s face has been a rare sight, and the fact that we’ve only seen her face once before makes this quick Instagram appearance a sight for sore eyes. Can’t wait for more!

Read: Cardi B Addresses Ariana Grande’s Comment That Ex-Mac Miller Got “Snubbed” At Grammys In Now-Deleted Video

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