Miss International-Philippines 2017 Mariel de Leon is officially pursuing a modeling career in New York! She is now signed by True Model Management, and she announced the exciting news in a heartfelt message on her Instagram.
"As a 'bigger' girl, I never thought I'd be able to fulfill my dream of modeling in the US," Mariel writes. "I grew up being surrounded by [and] seeing [and] hearing what the public and media said was 'model worthy', 'beauty queen worthy' or even just 'beautiful' thinking that I'm supposed to drastically change myself into something that I'm not just so I could fit in or succeed."
Given her struggles in the past, Mariel says that she's thankful that the industry is now more inclusive than ever. She then writes an empowering message to her followers, saying, "No matter the size, color, race, or background: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE WORTHY! Through the years I have learned to love myself even through rough times and even if nobody else did. Now, I am the strong and confident woman I've always wanted to be. Or should I say 'confidently beautiful' and thicc!"
She wraps up the post by thanking her new agency for the opportunity. "Thank you True Model Management for taking a chance on me! I won't let you down," she says. "See you soon, New York!"