Former Miss Universe Speaks Out After Being Labeled ‘Plus Size’ By Modeling Agency For Gaining Two Pounds

Former Miss Universe Paulina Vega is taking the modeling industry to task for enforcing unrealistic beauty standards. Vega, who won the crown in 2014, says that a modeling agency placed her in the “plus size” category after she gained only two pounds.

The incident, Vega recalls in a blog post, “happened a year and a half after finishing my reign as Miss Universe”:

“At that time I traveled a lot and slept more in an airplane than in my own home. I was trying out opportunities in the United States and had been hired by a modeling agency in Miami, an agency that soon after I wanted to add to their selection of models in New York. Happily, I signed with the agency.”

“I felt healthy and happy with my body. It took about three months and I went back to the agency. Apparently, it had gone up a kilo,” Vega said. “At the meeting they told me that they no longer considered me a model of a catwalk and editorial, that I was no longer among the ‘skinny’ and would be classified as a ‘plus size’ model.”

It’s hard to believe anyone would consider Vega “plus size” looking at her Instagram; the categorization is patently absurd:

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A post shared by Paulina Vega Dieppa (@paulinavegadiep) on

Vega says the experience forced her to consider “who decides” the beauty standards in the modeling community:

“[I] spent so many years of criticism, so many opinions about my physique, my personality, my mentality and even my attitude, that it did not touch those nerves. But if it made me think, is this what I want for myself?”

Vega notes that “physical beauty cannot be everything” and that she’ll “look very different” when she’s 60 years old.

She also observes that concentrating on whether she fit—or failed to fit—the mold imposed by the modeling agency would threaten her sense of self:

“I have learned that paying TOTAL attention to how you look takes away time that you must be investing in your dreams, passions, in being better. It takes time away from what lasts forever: your essence and who you are.”

Vega’s candid post has rallied many to her side, with one social media user calling on “the West to reflect on its aesthetic standards.” Another called the modeling industry “a joke.”

Don’t fret, the experience has not turned Vega off from continuing her modeling career. However, she has vowed to work only with brands that do not require her to “maintain absurd measures.”