Lornalitz Baez is not your typical model. Of course she’s beautiful and has an impressive resume, but she has a higher goal than to get placement in the hottest magazines and walk the trendy runways. She is a model with a message with intentions to reshape the industry from the inside out.
Baez started her journey in entertainment industry as a model at the age of 12. She started in beauty pageants and earned the first runner-up slot in the “Miss Puerto Rico national day pageant.” At that age she was a size 10 and was 5’8, a norm for a Latina, Baez said. Plus size modeling didn’t really exist at that time she started, specifically for a junior plus. Going to modeling agencies they told her she had lose weight and be between a size 0 -4. “Telling this to a 12-year-old who had big dreams and aspirations to be like Tyra Banks, it’s like around that age you can easily be manipulated. It’s easier to get brainwashed. I did fall into a trap. I went through a dark period where I did have an eating disorder,” Baez revealed.
It’s true when they say in your darkest moments you can find your light; that was true for Lornalitz. As she moved up in her career, her size went down. She went down to her smallest size, a 2, then had an “Ah-ha” moment when she realized she still couldn’t please the industry at that size and chose a different route in her career.
“I went into a fitting for a New York Fashion Week show with this amazing designer that I’ve been wanting to work with. I went in, tried on all her garments, they fit me perfectly, but she said she wanted it to be a bit more looser on the hip area. She said, ‘it fits you great, but we kind of want it to not fit you so perfect. We want it more loose on the hip.’ In my mind I’m thinking, ‘this is a bone, there’s no way I can lose this bone.’ So that was the moment I said I couldn’t do this anymore and I need to just focus on my health, my sanity.” After that, Baez gained her weight back to a size she was more happy with and pursued modeling at her ideal weight. Her career really took off from there.
“I’m a curve model. I don’t like to use the word plus size because I feel it has such a negative condentation behind it. People automatically think ‘oh she promotes obesity.’ I do not promote obesity or anexoria either. I feel that for my height and for my ethnicity, I am curvy and beauty, so I like to promote healthy, fit curves.” And that she does. The curve model has appeared in Vibe, Urban Latino, and Complex magazines, among others. She walked in New York Fashion Week for Baby Phat, Roca wear, Azzure, DaDa, and Lady Enyce. She also was one of the stars on a reality show called Curvy Girls on NUVOtv.
Today you can see Lornalitz dominating the editorial world with placement on Torrid, Nordstrom Rack, Kmart, Ashley Stewart, and more. For those wanting to follow in Lornalitz footsteps she offers these words to you. “When I was growing up I didn’t have anybody to relate to. I feel like girls nowadays have so many of us to look up to. This is the best time to go and pursue your dreams. There are so many of us trying to change the industry, break the barriers of accepting larger sizes, realistic sizes, so this is the time to really go for it full force.”
You better believe Lornalitz is taking the industry full force. She has a particular idea in mind for the way she wants to see the industry evolve. “I’m Latina, I’m Puerto Rican, I’m also Japanese, and I’m more of a darker skin complexion. I want to break the barriers of using a more multicultural, curvy woman, that’s my brand. Although designers and companies are accepting more of a larger size, I feel they also need to accept more multicultural looks as well. We need to see more of that on billboards, movies, TV, and so on. There should multicurtual diverity. That’s what I’m trying to promote and build, also the curvy sizes and healthy sizes.”
So what’s up next for this superstar model? She just did a feature in Latina magazine for the May issue and she signed on to work with two other clients. She can’t say who, but it’s BIG. Baez is continuing to work with Torrid and she is currently shooting a reality series about the fashion industry that will be out this Fall on BET.
The official Lornalitz Baez website is under construction, but look out for it at the end of the month. To keep up with all the projects Lornalitz Baez is working on follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Lornalitz and On Facebook search LornalitzBaez.
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Photo: Rafael Clemente