At some point you’ve likely caught yourself staring in amazement at the following three gorgeous creatures; whether on a catwalk, the cover of a magazine or an advertisement, they’ll take your breath away. What you may not have known was that that all of these stunning faces staring back at you are Latinas.
23-year-old supermodel Sessilee Lopez is an exotic mix of Portuguese, Dominican and Cuban. Born in Philadelphia, many fashion industry insiders consider Sessilee to be one of the most accomplished young models of the modern age. Sessilee, however, simply labels herself just a “funky cool Philly/Harlem girl“.
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Sessilee has been modeling since she was 13 years old, and has a strongly unique look which is instantly recognizable. It seems all credit for the model’s meteoric rise is due her mother Janice. In order to give her a daughter a shot at becoming a model, Mom sold their home and moved to New York City when Sessilee was about 17. Once in New York, Sessilee’s headstrong mother decided she wouldn’t take no for answer. At first, however, Sessilee had to get used to hearing “no,” until one day she was fortunate enough to meet photographer Steven Meisel, an encounter that saw her land the cover of Vogue. Ever since landing that life-changing July 2008 Vogue expose, she has walked for the likes of Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Hermès, and has appeared in every major American, Italian and French editorial.
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Next on our list is androgynous punk model Omahyra Mota. 100% Dominican, Mota was born 28 years ago in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At 10, the model was moved to Queens, New York by her mother, who was in pursuit of a better life for her and her children. In 2000, at the age of 16, Omahyra was discovered by Boss Models. and has been busy capitalizing off her striking looks ever since. The model, who was once voted as one of People magazine’s Most Beautiful People, has modeled for the Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Omahyra, just like Sessilee, credits her mother for encouraging her to model, saying that her mother would tell her every single day of her life that she was going to become a model, a success, a big star. The model says she didn’t believe a word of it, and would simply reply with a “yeah, mom, whatever.” It seems Mother definitely knows best when it comes to the modeling game!
Another model we would have never guessed was Latin is international supermodel Arlenis Sosa. Born in Montecristi, Dominican Republic, Sosa was later moved by her family to, you guessed it, New York. While the 23-year-old might have had it rough growing up in New York City in the ’90s, Sosa’s career took off in quite a smooth way. She was discovered while walking on the streets of Santo Domingo with her family by designer Luis Menieur. Menieur paid her a compliment and in the same breath told her she could be a model. She later walked into Marilyn model agency and was signed on the spot. In just two weeks with the agency she managed to book editorials for Vogue and Italian Vogue.
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After appearing in Vogue, Arlenis landed herself a fairy godmother (of sorts) in the shape of Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Wintour made arrangements for Arlenis to attend the Costume Institute Gala with Oscar de la Renta — a move which some attribute to having truly launched her career. Every since that chance encounter on the street with Menieur, Arlenis has not only become the face walking the runway for acclaimed designers like Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and Bottega Veneta, she’s landed campaign contracts with Lancôme, David Yurman and Gap.
Beauties like Sessilee, Omahyra and Arlenis all go to show that if a young Latina has the looks and the right motivation (and, yes a headstrong mama), her dreams of model superstardom might not be so far-fetched after all. Ladies, we salute you!