Joan Smalls

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Joan Smalls gets candid about the thing that ‘pigeonholed’ her early in her career

The 31-year-old is a proud Afro-Latina

Joan Small wants to be clear about her identity as a model. The Afro-Latina cover girl opened up about her introduction to the modeling world – and the trouble that came with it. “I came to an industry that immediately pigeonholed me. They saw me as the Afro-descendant model - not even as a mix- they saw me as the black girl,” she told Vogue Mexico. “They didn't see my different layers; That of being Latina or that of being of African descent, they only saw me from the outside. At the time there was no inclusion, I had to push myself to make a change and say, 'I am much more than just this.’”

Joan Smalls, Vogue Mexico©@joansmalls
I came to an industry that immediately pigeonholed me,” she told Vogue Mexico

She continued: “Whenever they referred to Latin, I was last seen by my skin tone . I was always caught up in the specter that my skin was too light to be black but too dark to be Latina. Now, everyone uses the term 'Afro-Latin' but when I started that it didn't exist.”

After years navigating the industry, the supermodel shared that although there were some bumps, she wouldn’t change her experience. "I don't think I necessarily would have done something different at the beginning of my career because I think that made me what I am now,” she said.

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 Tiempo de Unión: Fueron los primeros días de marzo cuando nuestro equipo se reunió para llevar a cabo la sesión fotográfica que protagonizaría nuestra portada. Dos de los talentos más grandes que ha dado la "Isla del Encanto" se encontraron nuevamente en un set: #BadBunny y la supermodelo #JoanSmalls, ambos nacidos en Puerto Rico y reconocidos talentos latinos que han conquistado el mundo con paso firme a través de los escenarios o las pasarelas. La calidez y las sonrisas de ese momento, es algo que hoy podría decirse que dábamos por sentado. Esto se ha convertido en la motivación y esperanza de volver a reunirnos muy pronto para crear estos contenidos para ti, para Vogue. Ante este difícil momento, al que nos enfrentamos a nivel mundial, una sesión de fotos así no parece posible. Estamos desde casa compartiendo contigo una edición que podría sentirse paralela a la realidad, pues las cosas han cambiado en cuestión de semanas, de días. Sin embargo, significa mucho para nosotros. Es nuestro motor como equipo para ver un futuro (no muy lejano) en el que podamos llevar a ti nuevamente estas historias, desde cualquier lugar de México y Latinoamérica. La edición de #VogueAbril la compartimos con mucho cariño y esperamos que te haga viajar a una encantadora isla caribeña, aunque sea en la imaginación; al leer las entrevistas su música traspase las fronteras de las páginas o tu pantalla, y lo más importante, deseamos que #VogueMéxico y #VogueLatinoamérica te acompañen más que nunca. [LINK EN BIO] #YoMeQuedoEnCasa Estamos contigo, #TeamVogue ❤️ • • Fotógrafo: @gorkapostigo Estilismo: @maxortegag Peinado: @evaniefrausto Maquillaje: @gusbortolotti Manicura: @zai.vega Entrevista: @atenea.morales Realización: @barbarateran_ @r_montemayor_ @enriquetorresmeixueiro Casting: @legainsbourg

 

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“However, I think the only thing that might change is trust in my instincts. In that process I was a little iffy because I was younger and surrounded by many adults who I thought knew more than I did.” As she graces the cover of the magazine with fellow Boricua Bad Bunny and Colombian superstar J Balvin, the 31-year-old realizes the beauty in those opportunities. "I think when you think about different industries - music, film, fashion - you realize that when you come from a different context, everything is possible."

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