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Denise Mercedes is a size 14, Dominican, plus size model who was born and raised in New Jersey. She started her modeling career when she was 13. It all began when she worked for a photography studio as a receptionist. The studio belonged to her neighbor who offered Denise a job getting paid five dollars an hour to help her pay for her luxuries. While working as an assistant, she was inspired to become a model by all of the models that came in the studio to shoot. On her days off, her boss would allow Denise and her friend take photos in the studio for fun. It became a hobby for Denise to pose for the camera.

Around the age of 16, Denise then started to submit her photos to agencies in hopes that one agency was willing to represent her, but, at the time, Denise was only a size 8 and a plus size model started at a size 14. Denise is not 5’9 which also made it difficult for her to get accepted by any agency, as the height requirement to be a model is 5’9 or taller. Denise then started shooting for fun since it turned out to be a hobby, anyway.

By the age of 21, Denise was now a mature woman and went up to a size 12-14. As a full time college student, she decided to start fashion blogging for plus size women. She liked the idea of putting outfits together and taking photos with the outfit on, then posting it on her social media. As she continued blogging, her following on social media started to increase dramatically and she started to collaborate with different plus size boutiques. This helped Denise break into the modeling industry and she started to model for smaller brands while being a fashion blogger, simultaneously. Denise was juggling many hats as she was and still is a full time college student, works a part time job, fashion blogs, and models.

By 2016, Denise is now 25 years old and she is now a signed model with MSA models NYC. She has collaborated with brands like Forever21, Target, JCPenney, and many more. As Denise continues to break barriers, she has also started her own body positive campaign dedicated to women of all shapes and sizes called #becauseitsmybody. She is an advocate for body positivity. She’s trying to become a voice for women of all shapes and sizes and believes that everyone is beautiful in their own way. Denise has goals to make it on the cover of a magazine and be on billboards. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars (Norman Vincent Peale).”