Model Paloma Elsesser Teases She Might Create A Clothing Line One Day

by Freya Drohan

It’s Paloma Elsesser’s world, and we’re just living in it! The model wrapped 2020 with two mega achievements under her belt—a Vogue cover and a Model of the Year accolade from—but that doesn’t mean she’s taking a break. The 29-year-old is kicking off 2021 with a stunning PORTER feature.

The American-British model graces the cover of the glossy in a shoot lensed by Renell Medrano as she discusses her landmark achievements (she’s the first ever plus size model of color to receive the award), about being sober, and her hopes to create a fashion line.

She told interviewer Lynette Nylander how she feels about the recent resume high points: “Larger bodies in these kinds of blue-chip campaigns, until very recently, just didn’t happen,” she said. “I know when I am booked, it stands for something bigger than simply walking a show or booking a campaign. I ask myself the question, ‘What is my position necessitating?’ I personally don’t like being like a first in this way – it can be frightening to be the first plus-size model of color to do ‘X’, but it is also incredibly inspiring.”


But the runway regular assured Nylander that she doesn’t want to be seen as an activist. “Historically I felt nudged into saying that. I think my understanding of what was going on around me and [that] I felt comfortable speaking out about things [meant that] suddenly I was an activist. People dedicate their entire lives to activist work, to organizing and theory. I do not feel I am an activist. Fashion never has and never should be responsible for shifting the world view, but does it play a part? Absolutely. And I’m an advocate for fashion continuing to hold itself accountable.”

Elsesser said that the fashion industry still has a long way to go to better represent the average American woman, who, like her, is a US size 14. “There are women much larger than me who have zero representation and I am conscious that I can’t represent everyone. I can’t be the only representation for a size-20 woman. I’m not supposed to, I never try to, I’m never meant to, it’s not my experience. But I also know things have to start somewhere. And even within that, I try not to forget to itemize my own privileges and remember the more marginalized people, the more oppressed people in the world. Fashion categorizes my beauty as ‘so revolutionary, so crazy, so surprising’ and that I am brave – and that’s weird to me.”


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As for what’s next? The rising star said she would be interested in potentially creating a fashion brand.

“I definitely would like to create some clothes, specifically for my market and above,” she revealed. “I know I am not a fashion designer, but I think the way in which I want to go about it will be different. I also would love to write my own book, in essay form. It’s what I was in school for before I started modeling.”

She concluded, “There is a lot I want to share about my life, about being sober, and I want to be the person who tells my own story. I am not in pursuit of being the most famous model, I am more concerned with being a respected human being. [And] to know that in my time in the industry, no matter how long or short, I made more changes than harm.”

Read the full feature here.

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