Paloma Elsesser is a plus-size model and body positivity advocate who broke into the industry as the face of Pat McGrath’s first beauty line and has since worked with the likes of Nike, Fenty, Glossier, and ASOS, as well as walking at New York Fashion Week.
Our title is taken from her matter-of-fact Instagram bio, where she seems to poke fun at the exclusionary modeling industry’s rigid sample sizing, and the fashion world in general, which is slowly (but surely) embracing diversity in size, race, and gender on its catwalks and in its magazines.
Paloma is not your average model- she wants to use her career to be ‘all of these things that are missing in the visuals’, to be ‘plus size, to be a woman, to be mixed…to be brown,’ and be visible as all those things. She hopes that ‘the work that I do aids [her audience], whether it be getting dressed or feeling better in their body and who they are’.
It is through Instagram that Paloma shares this message and showcases her personal style, lauding the platform as a place ‘where you could reclaim how you wanted to be portrayed’.
Before she was a model, before she was into the fashion industry, she ‘was into style,’ and our rundown of 10 of her best looks is a celebration of both her professional career and her insanely cool personal style, from dress down to dress up; tomboy to glamour.
This outfit might be my favourite- I have the softest spot for red and for commitment to fully monochrome outfits, as well as the contrasting textures of her fluffy Kangol hat and vinyl coat. This Christmas video for Vogue sees Paloma handing out gifts to the people of New York, like a sartorially-upgraded Santa Claus.
These holiday snaps, where Paloma matches her bikini with a silky scarf scream ‘dolce vita’. We love how she styles the scarf as both sarong and headscarf and keeps on her iconic gold jewelery, even at the beach.
Patchwork & Pigtails
This is the most casual look on our list, but one of the coolest. Paloma is tomboyish in joggers and an oversized gilet paired with pigtails, glasses and no makeup, but still chic in the way her autumnal color palette of olive, cream and yellow are perfectly matched.
This look proves that understated glamour is all about attention to detail. The rose-gold hardware of Paloma’s jeweled clutch matches with the setting of her chandelier earrings, and the wash of color on her lids is the exact same champagne-pink as her slip dress.
Although this feels a little like cheating, this is one of the first images I saved to include in our rundown. Paloma’s nude shoot for the cover of Unconditional Magazine is not only stunning but feels important. It is the first times I’ve ever seen a plus-size, mixed race woman on the cover of a fashion magazine, and I hope it is the first of many.