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Conversations with Lornalitz Baez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lornalitz Baez.

Hi Lornalitz, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
It started in New York City, where I was born and raised. Brooklyn to be exact. My parents always said, “We knew she was going to be in the arts. She has always shown an interest in modeling and acting since five years old. Every time there was a camera taking a picture or video, there she was posing and acting”. I am very thankful to my amazing parents for supporting a young girl’s “Dream” since the beginning. I always take a breath of appreciation for where I am today because of them. In my family, we have a lot of successful teachers, nurses, lawyers and business professionals. Yet, there I was at 12 years old still talking about modeling and acting. I guess I showed a lot of determination from a young age which would prepare me for the journey I was about to embark on. At this point, my parents started researching and getting more knowledgeable about the industry.

Luckily, living in New York City, “the fashion capital of the world”, breaking into the fashion industry should not be too difficult right?! Like the legendary Frank Sinatra said, “If you could make it here, you could make it anywhere”. So here I go, a young teenager super excited to start my modeling career in New York City. I quickly began to notice the lack of representation in size and ethnicity in the fashion industry. This was very eye opening for me. It showed just how closed-minded the fashion industry was to reality because New York City is a melting pot. I experienced a lot of rejections and I mean A LOT! This is the reason many people quit because they don’t want to deal with rejection mentally and emotionally. But, for me quitting was not a thought. The fact there was a major lack of diversity in the fashion industry gave me this unwavering desire to continue pursuing my career. My goal then became to one day be an important part in this evolution.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I like to tell people my career is like a roller coaster ride, it has its high points and its low points. I could be booking work non-stop for six months straight and suddenly there could be moments where I am casting and auditioning but not booking. In the beginning, I would take on side jobs like promotional modeling and bartending to keep money coming in. I also studied at William Esper Acting Studio to develop my acting craft. At that time, I didn’t fall into the stereotype of what a “Model” should look like. In this career, rejections come with the territory, so you could imagine what I was facing being a multicultural curvy girl. I went through a period where I didn’t feel I was enough because of my fluctuating dress size. I would fluctuate between sizes 7/8 and the highest would be size 16, although I predominantly fit into a size 12/14.

At one point, I went down to a size 2, the unhealthiest moment of my life. This served as the tipping point in my career. It was time to reevaluate my purpose in modeling. After putting myself through such physical and mental punishment and realizing not only was it impossible to maintain a size 2 when my body is framed to have curves, I was also unhappy. I decided to take a short break with modeling and finish another goal of mine, which was to graduate with my master’s degree in Business. Turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life because that time helped me rediscover my “why” and reflect on myself. I was able to fall absolutely in love with me again. Today I am able to share my story to help many women and girls reclaim their self-worth and self-love. For anyone reading this, happiness starts with loving yourself first!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I have been fortunate throughout my career and it’s been a lot of fun! I’ve modeled in campaigns, print, editorial and e-commerce for top brands such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Amazon, Target, Kmart, Fabletics, Just Fab, Torrid, just to name a few. I have been featured in commercials with brands such as Sprite, Ross and most recently Amazon and Mutua wine New Zealand. I’ve appeared on national television shows several times. One of them being a docu-series called “Curvy Girls” for two seasons, which can be seen on Amazon Prime. I was given the opportunity to be the muse for Lifetime’s channel Project Runway season 14 winner. Collectively this was an incredible accomplishment because I became the first mixed-Latina curve model to close Project Runways Fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Today, through a lot of hard work and support from all the people who have helped me get here, I am an internationally recognized Model, Actress and Advocate for Diversity. I speak up for the women and girls who’s voice needs to be heard but may not have the reach. I am all about promoting not just size inclusivity but mixed culture, race, gender and age inclusivity within the entertainment industry. The passion and commitment I have for this ongoing change will continue. The most rewarding part of all this is knowing I helped pave the way for aspiring talents to follow their dreams. For me, this is my higher sense of purpose and happiness.

What are your plans for the future?
The future is always very exciting because you never know which big client will book you next. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I go to castings and auditions. That’s definitely a good sign to continue my career. It’s super fun when I get a call from my agent telling me “Hey, you’re BOOKED” !! I love taking on new projects all the time and two of them right now is writing a book and producing movies. It’s important to learn and explore new things. That’s what keeps life interesting. My advice to anyone with a dream… “Dreams are to be lived not slept on” — Lornalitz

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Image Credits:

Matt Sayles Emilynn Rose Cristina Hernandez Isaiah Mays Lalo Torres Ethan Sigmon

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