Living the Phat Life -- and Loving It!

In vanity-obsessed Venezuela, Jennifer-Barreto-Leyva is carving a path as a plus-sized model. 

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    Jennifer Barreto-Leyva has made a name for herself on television and in the modeling industry -- even though she doesn't fit the mold of a traditional model. 
    May Martínez
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    While everyone was seeing a parade of emaciated models on TV and magazine covers, she was promoting a message of having a strong self esteem no matter what you looked liked.
    May Martínez
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    Four years ago, after months of deep thinking and at the urging of the owner himself, she decided to become a contestant of the Miss Plus Universe pageant.
    May Martínez
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    She was the first Latina in history to ever do so, and I won both the popular vote (from 150,000 people worldwide), and the votes from the pageant jury itself.
    May Martínez
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    "The way I see it," she said. "No one has the right to tell me whether I’m beautiful or not. I grew up in a culture where beauty pageants were considered the norm, not the exception, and the message drowned into your head from infancy was that beauty equals power."
    May Martínez
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    Venezuelan women are considered to be the most beautiful women in the world, yet the most troubled when it comes to both self acceptance and self esteem, she said.
    Arlez González
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    Hosting her fashion and self-esteen segment for plus-size people on the show "Ellas y sus noches" on Channel 13 in Puerto Rico. 
    Personal archive
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    Hosting her fashion and self-esteen segment for plus-size people on the show "Ellas y sus noches" on Channel 13 in Puerto Rico.
    Personal archive
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    Mariana Patiño
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    May Martínez
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    Arlez González
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    May Martínez
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    On a runway on Portada's TV. 
    Venevision
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    Mariana Patiño
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    On Sabado Gigante with Don Francisco on a debate "Can fat girls be beauty queens."
    Personal archive
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