Jul 22, 2015 3:31PM

Diana Veras On Body Positivity And The Plus Size Modelling Industry

Haters to the left.

We are total Diana Veras fans. At nineteen, she has already posed for #mycalvins, Opening Ceremony, and Mass Appeal, but it's her plus-size (according to modelling industry standards) figure and IDGAF attitude that set her apart from other high fashion models. Diana is a part of the new wave of New York city cool girls, a clique that also consists of Hari Nef, Petra Collins and Barbara Ferreira, all chicks who are killing it despite  — or rather, because of — being different.

We sat down with Diana in the Lower East Side, to talk diversity in the industry, Instagram haters, and how being a naughty teen made her the confident gal she is today.

Ava Nirui: Diana, myself and other people love the fact that you are different.
Diana Veras: Yeah! I really think people are tired of seeing the same thing. There are so many girls doing work that no one would ever expect to see! Like my trans friend Hari is everywhere and it's amazing that she just got signed to IMG. And my girl Barbara is doing heaps as well. It's so amazing to see people being at least a little open minded.

Totally. You, Hari and Barbara are pioneering the scene...
Aw! It's really crazy 'cause I meet beautiful, thick, plus size girls all the time who are like, "I wanna get into modelling" and I'm like, "Yeah girl, we can do it!" Even though I don't think we are ever gonna be on the runway, thick girls are definitely going somewhere.

diana-veras-instagram-1.jpg

Is it hurtful at all when you see people talking shit on your Instagram?
I'm used to it. I just block them. But I made an Instagram post about it once, saying that when other girls see the hate, they may not be strong enough to ignore it. They might think, "If Diana's fat, then I'm huge", 'cause these girls look up to me. I can tolerate the hate, whereas other girls might see that and think they are not worthy. I want every girl to know that they are worthy — skinny or thick.

Sounds like you have to be resilient to be in this industry...
Definitely, but I expected it to be this way. I always looked at magazines, so and I knew it wasn't going to be an easy road. When I was younger, I used to be into really into tabloids, and I would see the media bash someone for gaining three pounds! I knew there was going to be this negativity, but I'm going to keep doing everything I can.

How do you think being an unsigned model impacts you?
I don't think I get taken as seriously sometimes, but it's not something I care about 'cause I still have been getting work. I don't get pushed into cheesy jobs that I don't like, and that's fine with me!

Have you always been as confident as you are now?
Yeah, I grew up a bad little kid and for you to be a bad kid, you gotta have the confidence to know you're going to get away with stuff!

You were a naughty teenager then?
Yeah, I used to get bad grades, but I hid them from my mom. I would get like slightly passing grades and I would get away with it, but my mom would find out I'm cutting school like two days after the semester ended, and she would like attack me like, "Diana! You're cutting class!" I was always like, "Er... I don't know what you're talking about! I would never ever cut class, Mom!"

You're such a busy girl right now — balancing your school, job and modelling work. Do you ever have spare time?
I never have spare time...like ever, so when I do, I seriously just sit in my room and watch Netflix. It's my guilty pleasure. I watch Hoarders so much, I'm obsessed with that show.

What about trashier television?
I used to like Love & Hip Hop. But now I find it so frustrating and can't watch it anymore. I was really into Bad Girls Club, Jersey Shore and The Real World, but those shows are so fake. When I was younger, I was obsessed with wrestling and thought it was real. When I found out it wasn't real three years ago, I had a baby panic attack. I was so upset.

What advice do you have for girls like you who want to get into the industry?
You have to have thick skin to get into the industry, but don't be discouraged when an agency turns you down. I've been turned down so many times, and I'm still not signed. However, I have done a ton of work, so it's not you! Everyone has a look and everybody is beautiful, and there's a model for everything. Don't feel bad if someone in the industry doesn't feel like you will make it, 'cause believe me I've been there and now I'm doing things I never thought were possible.

Photos in gallery: Ava Nirui
Photos in article: @mynamesdiana

Ava Nirui