In the world of modelling, plus-size models are still something of a rarity when it comes to the catwalk. Although a handful of women are making names for themselves, men are even rarer. One man looking to change that is US model Ady Del Valle.
The 31-year-old was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He divides his time between Boston and New York City. When he’s not modelling, he works as an assistant at a Family Resource Center which helps people dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault.
He has most of his modelling assignments and other projects in NYC. He began modelling in Fall of 2016.
Since that time he has walked the catwalk for Volare at New York Fashion Week, and modeled for MVP Collections and Brandon Kyle Collection at Full Figured Fashion Week. SALTY And CHILL are just two of the magazines to have featured him.
‘Everyone’s process in learning to love themselves is different’
Del Valle tells Gay Star News it took time for him to develop confidence in his appearance. It
‘Everyone’s process in learning to love themselves and gain confidence is different. I wasn’t like this three years ago: I just decided not to care what anyone says or think anymore because I was not living for me, but for them. I had to take that power back and just be me.’
Of course, stripping down and putting himself out there has prompted plenty of comments online. Del Valle has plenty of fans but also some haters.
‘It happens,’ he says, of some of the nasty comments he has received online. ‘I’ve learned to grow tough skin and prepare myself for it. The positive always outweighs the negative.’
The gay scene and dating
As a gay man, there exist clubs for larger guys and bears. However, according to Del Valle, that doesn’t make it any easier to always feel welcomed and accepted.
‘It is not easy being a plus size on the gay scene. You have to work ten times harder to get noticed and accepted. I haven’t had awful experiences but I’ve seen and heard it from friends.
‘Even in clubs catered to us bigger men it’s still hard. Unfortunately the same people in our community sometimes make us feel unwanted or undesired. I’ve dated all sizes myself, some in the industry and some not.
‘A few of the ones in the industry who are straight size models/actors are skeptical to be seen with someone like me in public. They love the idea of me and how I look but are afraid what others might think of them, because they have a billboard in Calvin’s or whatever and they don’t want to be looked at differently because they find someone like me attractive.
‘It’s unfortunate. It has happened. Not a lot but happens. We would go out and I’d have to act like a “friend”.’
‘I tell myself that’s their loss because I’m one sexy plus man. I can hold my own in any crowd and anywhere I go.
‘Want everyone to feel sexy’
Despite these experiences, he says, ‘I want everyone to feel sexy and wanted because we are. I’ve made countless friends on the scene of all sizes from big to small to muscle, which is refreshing. They got my back.’
Browsing his Instagram, it’s clear Del Valle has plenty of admirers. But he’s currently single and available.
‘The attention is nice and super sweet 98% of the time. Some go overboard but it comes with the territory I guess. I can’t complain.’
Keeping an eye on his health
Although challenging mainstream society’s narrow definitions of beauty is to be welcomed, does he have any worries about how his weight may impact his health?
‘I am always on top of my my health,’ he replies.
‘People assume because of my size I am not watching my health or worried. I’m no exception to the average size person. We should all take care of ourselves the best we can, no matter our size. My health doesn’t determine my purpose and how I do my job.’
As a person who loves fashion, and for other bigger guys out there, Del Valle says he has some favored brands for larger size clothing. These include Ralph Lauren, Brandon Kyle Collection, MVP Clothing, Bad Rhino and Calvin Klein. He’s also a fan of ASOS and its ASOS PLUS range.
At this time of year, when many people are looking in the mirror and not liking the extra pounds they put on over the holidays, has Del Valle got any advice on how to learn to love one’s appearance? He says people should avoid beating themselves up too much.
‘It’s OK to treat yourself and it’s OK to enjoy it regardless who you are. You can be comfortable and still be you and later you can go back to your normal routine. It’s all about finding that middle ground where you’re comfortable at.’