Why Model Diana Veras Wears ‘Feminism’ Around Her Neck

Diana Veras, 20 — better known as @mynamesdiana — is killing the game right now with over 200,000 social media followers, and a contract with Jag Models.

We sat down with Diana to hear her thoughts on diversity in the modeling industry, what it’s been like for her starting out, why she thinks its important to wear a necklace with the word “feminist,” and why she thinks Instagram models should get more respect.

When you were young, did you ever see yourself becoming a model?

It’s funny because my grandparents used to take pictures of me every month in different outfits. I grew up with them in Dominican Republic until I was seven, and moved here to be with my mom. But no, I didn’t realistically think I could be a model because back then. I thought all models were blonde pretty, and white.

How did you get your start as a model, and what made you want to pursue it as a career?

I got my start from this guy I used to date who knew a casting director by the name of Douglas Perett. I was 15 or 16 and he booked me for the Opening Ceremony show but at the time modeling was the last thing on my mind, I was super in love. But last summer I kept getting interviewed and everyone kept calling me a model. I was like, I guess I am? But I didn’t really consider myself one until I got signed.

How can you be in a relationship and still maintain your independence especially after being single for so long?

I still do whatever I want, it just allows me to have someone whose there to listen to me. We’re both very supportive of each other and in tune with each other. But because we’re both super vibrant people we need our own space at times.

Me and my friends are obsessed with you, Sel, and Elizabeth. You guys are all doing great things in the fashion industry. How would you describe the dynamic between the three of you?

We’ve been friends since high school, those are my home girls, and it’s amazing because we all do our own things. Sel is like so into designing, Eli is super into styling and I have my modeling so we all give each other input and they help me to care more about things that deal with fashion because even though I model they help me focus on stuff that has to do with styling and clothing. It’s so great though because we all go hard but we can do it together. We’ve definitely glo’d up together.

You seem super confident and unafraid, where would you say your confidence comes from and how do you respond to people who hate on you or to being told no?

I honestly used to be really self-conscious and insecure, I wanted to fit the mold that my best friends are in and they’ve always been super confident, so I distanced myself from them a little. Not like in a bad way, but it made me stop giving a fuck about what others think. I took time to get to know myself and was able to find myself and then I decided to just really be myself. People started liking me way more once I stopped giving a fuck and just decided to be my true self.

Whether or not you realize it, models like you, Jordyn Woods, and Barbie Ferreira are pioneering the fashion industry. How do you think the modeling industry is changing and what do you think it will look like in the next 5-10 years?

Maybe there will be like two or three curve models walking the runway but nowadays big designers still don’t want to work with us. I got so frustrated the other day to the point where I almost cried, I was going to a huge dinner and was struggling so much to find something to wear. I wanted to wear something designer but nothing fit. Then I went into Topshop and the jeans there didn’t fit me either, it’s just like, at what point are designers gonna take curve models seriously and make clothes for us? So many curvy women want to wear designer clothes but they just aren’t made. As a result it’s hard to tell where the industry will be in 5-10 years, but I like to live in the moment and focus on what’s happening now.

Jordyn Woods did a video for us about how much she hates the term “plus-sized,” how do you feel about the term and what do you like to be called?

I personally don’t care for the term “plus-sized” because people are always categorized, it’s like high school and like the movie Mean Girls, thats how real life is. If you’re gonna categorize me you can, but I don’t care. Regardless I’m still a model, why can’t I just be referred to as just that? You don’t see a skinny model being asked what kind of model she is.

Do you ever feel like people talk about Instagram models in a derogatory way, and do you feel like there needs to be a divide between what people consider to be an “Instagram model” versus a “real model?”

Instagram models are doing it! Instagram opened up so many doors for me, that’s where you find people now, people always generalize Instagram models as people who do crazy stuff and categorize them as one specific kind of woman. I feel like people are talented at all different kinds of things. If makeup and contouring is what someone is good at, why hate on it? Let them express themselves freely. Usually the people saying shit have no idea what’s going on. I also feel like with Instagram you don’t have to fit into one aesthetic, there are so many different things to be in the world and so many different people, we don’t all have to be the same. If you wanna be artsy and dress that way you can. If you’re interested in makeup you can be.

Why do you think its important to wear a feminist necklace?

I think its important because it shows that I don’t give a fuck. A lot of people I’m around think feminism is such a bad thing but wearing my necklace is a sign I don’t care about what anybody else thinks. I also have a sweater that says “don’t touch” across my boobs and I wear it proudly.

Your hair is so signature to your look, what products do you use in it?

I use shea moisture products, I can’t think of the names but I buy the peach-colored bottle — the curling cream and lotion I think, and then I use a diffuser for volume.

Do you feel pressured to have to use your platform as a model to help others?

Yeah, because I feel like it’s so many people watching me so I have to make something meaningful out of all of this. But sometimes I’m like, can I just be normal? I try to make my posts as real as possible. Like sometimes I’ll post something about my acne, my belly, or my stretch marks. However I am feeling that day I try to post about it because I’m still super normal. I want people to be able to relate to me and I want to normalize what being a girl is like and what girlhood is all about.

Photo by Ray Polanco

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