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This model’s rallying cry: there’s no wrong way to be a woman


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This post originally appeared on AOL

Every woman has to deal with society’s standards for beauty—ones that constantly pressure them to be gorgeous and thin.

The struggle is exaggerated in the modeling industry. Plus-size model Denise Bidot wants to shatter standards for girls everywhere.

She launched a new campaign, called “There Is No Wrong Way to Be a Woman,” that does just that.

“To be honest, I’ve been saying this slogan without really knowing it,” Bidot told Mic. “The message was embracing your individuality and allowing yourself to be yourself. It’s just a culmination of everything I’ve worked for and stood for. It’s about culture and religion and realizing that this is a moment where we all need to stand together.”

Bidot is a size 14 model who is also half Puerto Rican and half Middle Eastern in a world of size 0 white girls.

She said that after 10 years of struggling relatively alone, she’s seen a very recent shift in the industry with more opportunities for plus-size models.

She walked at New York Fashion Week for Chromat and starred in a number of campaigns for Lane Bryant.

“I’m really thankful to not only have a role but now to help encourage other women to continue the conversation,” she said. “It’s a really good day to be a woman, so this movement is part of a conversation that should have been addressed years ago.”

When she decided to launch a campaign, she gathered 10 women who she thought embodied her mission. She calls them her Class of ’16.

Bidot said she wanted to listen when selecting models for her first “class.”

“I was so inspired by all the messages. It’s so many women who constantly inspire me,” she said. “Seeing them all together in the photoshoot really nailed down this idea that women are allowed to live their lives on their own terms. There is no wrong or right way to exist in this world as a woman.”

Bidot is selling T-shirts with that very slogan across the front, encouraging women to share their stories on her website and on social media using the hashtag #NoWrongWay.

She’s not stopping there. Bidot plans to turn the campaign into a scholarship fund for young women and a leadership series in which she’d give speeches around the country.

“This is just the beginning,” she told Mic. “It’s about women coming together and embracing one another. I’m in a part of my life when I want to encourage other women to rise up.”

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By AOL.com editors for AOL
This
post originally appeared on AOL