Name: Veronica Campos
Agency: Wespeak Models
Claim To Fame: Campos was one of the first plus-size models to appear in a campaign for THINX.
Veronica Campos always saw herself creating cool, but she pictured writing campaign copy not being their star. “I was going through the marketing route. So I went to school for it. It was kind of a passion of mine growing up,” she told HelloBeautiful.
She was “intrigued,” by “the business side of fashion.”
“I wanted to get the blueprint,” said Campos. “I saw myself more as a strategist, someone who had the ideas.”
She worked with a newsletter that converted into a modeling agency and felt she could stand out in the competitive field. “I ended up being one of the first models on their first board ever,” she said. They quickly booked her a sizable job.
“My first gig was Thinx and that was the period underwear. And the cool thing about that gig was that I was the first fat Black model they’ve ever used. And now they cast everybody, which is great,” she continued. Campos was excited by the campaign’s implications, but its sudden exposure rattled her because she’d always envisioned her contribution to body positivity occurring behind-the-scenes.
“I thought going in the marketing route would kind of give me all the tactics to make change within.” Instead she would be making that change in front of millions.
Models (and/or their representatives) are required to sign releases granting permission for the photos to be used in different contexts in perpetuity. Today it is common for those contexts to include a number of digital media platforms that are frequently unsafe for fat Black women.
“I knew that the usage was going to be Facebook,” and “all over social media,” she said before acknowledging the lack of civility present in Mark Zuckberg’s kingdom. “Facebook is always kind of a tricky territory for me because that’s territory that I’m not on, but I know we can be pretty brutal.”
“I definitely was hesitant to be featured on there,” Campos continued adding that she expected “backlash.”
Campos’ body positivity journey was a struggle due a lack of representation in her immediate surroundings. “I was never comfortable with my body,” she said, “It’s the only one it looks like I did growing up in school.” She also rarely saw herself in the media she was consuming. “When I was younger, my biggest obsession was just magazines. Everything about them. I can’t even count the amount of subscriptions I had. Like whenever my mom’s credit card had those promotions to get subscriptions for a dollar a month or things like that I always signed up for all of them. And I had a crazy, a crazy, crazy obsession and selection. And I ripped out, I made collages. I put them all over my wall.” She longs to aid the representation of bodies like hers in physical magazines one day. “Being in print in like that’s a dream I would love to obtain.”
She grew less concerned when abandoned her studies to take a gig at a bare bones start-up. Trying to survive MTA chaos and pay New York rent left her with little time to worry about what a stranger on the internet wrote about the circumference of her kneecaps. “I feel like the city itself broke me down and built me up so many times that I kind of just build this notion in my mind, truly not caring what anyone thinks ever,” she said. “You kind of just build such a tough skin of proving everybody wrong, no matter what. And that transferred over to how I see myself appearance-wise,” she said. “It was kind of just like a whole revolution of myself.”
That revolution was documented in a series of bookings that included Dark and Lovely, Miakoda, Briogeo Hair Care, Universal Standard and more. “The modeling world, it’s tough because you always think like, well, it could have been somebody else,” said Campos. “So when it ends up being you to gain that opportunity, it’s pretty surreal.”
Campos was uniquely prepared for her new career due to her time in the start-up world. “Startup life definitely taught me that you have to advocate for yourself at all times. You cannot depend on anyone, not even your boss, no one. I’ve never had a full-time salary job before, so I’ve never even experienced security within that realm of my career. So I’ve always kind of been in a fight or flight mode throughout my whole life. I’ve been working since I was 17 years old. I was when I got my first part-time job,” she admitted.
“Modeling has been great,” she said. “It’s so unpredictable. You cannot plan for anything at all. You have to keep your schedule open. You have to thoroughly plan your finances to make sure you can stretch certain months to fill in the blanks of not booking work, so it’s the startup life.”
She hopes the work she creates will tell plus-size women “that they’re being seen, that we’re not a fetishized body that could never be normalized that when you see us, this is not a person or a being that needs to be fixed or needs to evolve, to be better in any way.”
“I want you to understand that it’s okay to have this body, no ifs, ands, or buts,” she continued. “Basic clothing, basic options, and bras and underwear and pants, not just stretching materials, actual constructed clothing for all occasions needed that this body doesn’t have to be considered difficult. This body should be a body that has all the options like any other body.”
“We’re so used to these Eurocentric beauty standards. That’s such a thing of the past,” she added. “Being who we are is what’s cool.”