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Image: Screenshot via Instagram/@marieldeleonofficial

Mariel de Leon excitedly announced to her fans that she had been signed by the modeling agency True Model Management in New York.

De Leon took to social media on May 30 to announce the start of a new chapter in her life. According to De Leon’s post, modeling in the United States has always been her dream, but being a “bigger” girl made her think it would never happen. De Leon represented the country as Miss International Philippines in 2017, but has since expressed her aversion to being called a ‘beauty queen’.

I grew up being surrounded by +seeing+hearing what the public and media said was ‘fit for a model’, ‘fit for a beauty queen’ or even just ‘beautiful’ thinking I’m supposed to drastically transforming myself into something that I’m not just so that I can ‘fit in’ or succeed,” De Leon said via Instagram. “Especially coming from an Asian country where standards are even harder to measure…”

De Leon noted, however, that times have now changed and the modeling industry has become more diverse.

“The industry is now more diverse and accepts different types of women and men! No matter the size, color, race or origin: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE DIGNIFIED!”

True Model Management, founded by model and entrepreneur Dale Noelle, is known for representing models of all sizes and categories. One can glean from De Leon’s hashtags that she will be modeling as a plus size or curvy model.

Over the years, I learned to love myself even in difficult times and even when no one else did,” she said. “Now I’m the strong, confident woman I always wanted to be. Or should I say ‘beautiful’ and thic confidence!”

Congratulations Mariel! /ra

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