In 2014, Bidot made history by becoming the first plus size model to walk on a “straight size” runway. Bidot was personally chosen by Serena Williams to walk in her FW14 fashion show for her HSN clothing line. Bidot beams as she remembers Anna Wintour sitting front row, clapping as Bidot closed the show. She recalls her shock in the moment, thinking “Anna Wintour knows how to clap?!” But even the famously impassive editor in chief couldn’t contain her enthusiasm for such a landmark moment in a hard-fought battle for body positivity in a world fraught with negativity.
Of course, there’s a personal story behind Bidot’s professional triumphs. The Kuwaiti Puerto Rican grew up in Miami, watching her single mother struggle with her own body confidence issues. Fluctuating between a size two and 22, her mom was never able to fully embrace her natural body and that battle made a significant and life-long impact on Bidot’s own journey toward self-acceptance.
That’s not to say she came by her awesome body confidence overnight; she clearly remembers literally taping her chest down every morning before school as early as the 4th grade, before then putting on a sports bra and baggy t-shirt, just to hide her blossoming curves.
When she was 18 years old, Bidot packed up her bags and moved from Miami to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. She was repeatedly told she had the spunk, the beauty and the talent to become a leading lady but “had the body of the best friend.” After being told repeatedly that she “needed to drop 10 or 15 pounds,” Bidot enrolled at the Studio Makeup Academy in Hollywood to achieve her creative passions behind-the-scenes as a make up artist. Her make up artist career didn’t last long, however; during one of her first jobs on a plus size model shoot, the photographer told her she wanted to shoot with Bidot. “After that, I never took another make up job again,” Bidot says.
In addition to her runway work, Bidot has also modeled on campaigns for Old Navy, Forever 21, Target, Levis, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Lane Bryant. She was also cast as a member of the reality TV show, Curvy Girls, and has served as a TV personality for various news and talk shows.
On camera, Bidot exudes a sexy self-confidence that radiates strength. Her sleepy eyes, full lips, French girl hair, rosy cheeks and flawless complexion translates into something at once attainable and aspirational, sultry and girl-next-door.
Self-described as having “a butt and boobs,” Bidot also knows how to work her curves. In the “Beach Body, Not Sorry” campaign, the Puerto Rican, Kuwaiti model says “be you and just rock this world, man,” while she poses in a retro bikini that combines a 1950s voluptuousness with a modern flirtatiousness.
Now a single mom herself, Bidot says she makes a conscious effort to tell her young daughter that she never has to change who she is. Joselyn was born with a head of springy curls, a dimple on her cheek and a charming gap between her teeth. Bidot says that when Joselyn asks her why her natural physicality is different than her mother’s Bidot tells her she “is perfect the way you are,” and that its these differences that makes her special. As simple as it is, it’s a refrain women have a hard time accepting for themselves, no matter their age or their size.
According to Plunkett Resarch, the average American woman is a size 14 and makes up over 67% of the population. The average size of a model walking down any fashion week runway is a zero. This continuous disconnect between real life and industry standards is an unfortunate and dangerous one that Bidot recognizes and hopes to correct. Bidot founded There Is No Wrong Way To Be a Woman movement, a digital revolution poised to make a marked difference in how women accept themselves and their peers as they are. Because, as Bidot says, “being you is what defines real beauty.”
The movement started simply enough; a group of women came together to take a photo in a Los Angeles photography studio, all wearing white t-shirts with the No Wrong Way slogan splashed across the front. It’s raw, pared down and completely in line with Bidot’s honest approach to beauty. Currently, #nowrongway and #nowrongwaytobeawoman collectively boast over 10,000 photos on Instagram, with women of all sizes posing in their mirrors in their lingerie, on the streets in a body con dress and on the beach wearing their bikinis with undeniable confidence and grace. While each woman’s size, age, race, background and style is unique, there is one thing that unifies them: self-love.
Self-love can be a hard emotion to come by for many women in this country right now— which makes Bidot’s work even more important. “I’m totally standing for size diversity,” Bidot emphasizes, and is proud to join the ranks of Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and other curvy women who have helped change body standards just by being themselves.
RESPECT TO ALL OUR CONTRIBUTORS
RESPECT TO ALL OUR CONTRIBUTORS
VIDEO / JOVANNA REYES
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANT / STEPHANIEWESOLOWSKI
SET ASSISTANT / ERIN CURLEY - CALLIOPE STUDIOS
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO
KRISTEN REEVES AT ABTP & DANIELLE PALMA AT MUSE NYC