We spoke with Diana Veras, a 19-year-old model who preaches the gospel of loving yourself and your body via social media, regardless of size. The super babe has been called a muse by photographer Petra Collins. She also took these selfies for us. YOU ARE SUCH A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON SO MANY PEOPLE, BUT YOU ALSO RECEIVE A LOT OF (RATHER UNSOLICITED) HATE. WE THINK THAT IS SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF CREATIVE PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, HAVE TO DEAL WITH. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? I don’t deal with it, I block people. Seriously, you can do two things: you can sit there and cry or block someone and never let them harass you again. I will not deal with any negativity at all. No one will make me feel like less than I am because they’re conflicted with who they are. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE DRAWN TO YOU AND THE THINGS THAT YOU SHARE? I’m very easy to relate to I feel. I’m a real girl, with a real job, I go to school. I model and stuff but I’m pretty normal, and deal with regular situations a lot of girls deal with. So I think that’s what draws people to me. WE ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN MODELING AS AN ART FORM. DO YOU SEE IT AS AN EXPRESSION OF CREATIVITY? Yes I do, its a way of portraying your body and your face in a way you don’t show it to everyone on a regular basis. Modeling is an art, knowing how to be comfortable to let someone snap pictures of you for hours is an art. WHAT DOES A DAY IN YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE? My days are all different—there are days when I literally do not get out of bed and just stay in and watch some documentaries or cool shows on Netflix. There are days I’m at work, and then there are days I have shoots, which usually are early days with little food and little rest. But I LOVE it! HOW DO YOU THINK PEOPLE PERCEIVE YOU ONLINE VS IRL? I think online I’m just this figure on the internet, someone people just like. In person I feel like I can show people my personality more, I make jokes. I’m normal like everyone else. WE KNOW PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS ASKING YOU ABOUT YOUR VIEWS ON BODY POSITIVITY. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE THIS DIALOGUE? Because no one else is. As thick women we are not represented, not just with a picture in a magazine, but with our voices! We are all just people looking to be accepted, and there are so many young girls who don’t have the body they see being represented in magazines. They need to know that they are SOOOO worthy, and so beautiful and perfect. WHY IS IT SOMETHING THAT IS IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO KEEP HEARING? Because they need to understand that we are tired of our beauty being looked down upon. They need to understand that we will no longer tolerate body shaming, we will not allow our values to be determined by our weight on a scale. _ As seen in Austere Issue #15, MADE.