The renowned plus-size model who gained fame as the 2016 Miss Italy contest runner-up, Paola Torrente has lately shared her journey in an interview with Grazia.
Dubbed as the “masterpiece of nature” by her fans, Paola who was 22 at that time, actually stole the show from the 2016 Miss Italy winner Rachele Risaliti for being curvier than most beauty pageants we usually witness.
Paola faced a lot of criticism initially, even from Viviana Vogliacco who came third in the contest. Vogliacco opined that Torrente is plus-sized and she should be participating in a “Plus-size Miss Italy Contest” instead of a mainstream event.
Responding to that, the voluptuous Torrente in a statement to Dailymail said,
‘I wasn’t upset, just amused. I mean every one has the right to an opinion, even if it is the wrong one!’
Paola also told Dailymail that there are many women who undergo surgeries to look curvy.
“I embrace my curves at 360 degrees, and I’m never ashamed of them. There are many women that chose surgery to become more curvy.” she said
Extending gratitude towards positive messages that she received online, Torrente shared,
“I started to receive messages from girls who thanked me for participating, for showing that curvy is beautiful and thanks to me, felt better about themselves.”
“I was surprised and proud. They made me feel good too. And maybe in that sense I am a role model, but firstly I’m just a very normal 22-year-old girl.”
“I want to tell young women to accept themselves and to understand that feeling good and being happy is the most powerful thing to fight people’s words and thoughts.”
It is worth noting that the Croatian model Nina Moric who earlier criticized Paola by saying “too much flesh” later apologized when Miss Italy Organisers video-called Moric live on TV while the contestants were on the stage and demanded an explanation for her vicious comments.
Responding to Moric, Torrente said,
“I always take words like hers with a smile, saying I feel good in my body, and I love myself for what I am.”
Bashing the criticism, Miss Italy organizer Patrizia Mirigliani, in a statement said,
“Stop the stereotypes. What we want is more female models who are closer to real people.”
Today, Paola is a 28-year-old size 46 model and holds a degree in engineering from Angri, South Naples. She sports over 550 thousand followers on Instagram and collaborates with women’s clothing and beauty brands. She is also famously dubbed ‘Miss Curvy Italy’ by her fans.
Speaking of which, Paola told Grazia,
“I have become the testimonial of the brands I love: because the important thing is not to please others, but to ourselves,”
Turning the clock back six years to the 2016 Miss Italy Contest, Torrente shared,
“I was told everything, but I also had a lot of support. It had never happened before to see a size like mine in competition. I grew up in the late 90s, it was the years of supermodel Kate Moss. There were models of beauty that were totally unattainable,”
Rolling back to earlier years of her life and at school, she said,
“I always had ten pounds heavier until I was 18, let alone how I could feel. I had a grown-up body, but I was a girl. At school I was the youngest in my class in age, but I was the tallest. I hated gym time because I was clumsy in that tracksuit. Even when others didn’t tell me anything, my physical characteristics led me to have a distorted view of myself. In my head I had phrases heard here and there, which made me complex. I followed countless bad diets from 17 onwards. I thought: ‘If I lose weight I will be happy’. It was my obsession. Then a friend said to me: ‘Aren’t you losing too much weight?’. And I decided to go to a nutritionist who taught me how to eat and how to train.”
Answering Grazia on ‘How did the idea of enrolling in the Miss Italy contest come about?’, Torrente said,
“I was almost 21 years old, I was enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering, in Salerno. I happened to see fashion ads for curvy models on Facebook, so I didn’t even know what they were. I signed up for a casting for a calendar in Milan and they hired me. I went with my mother and it was a very fun experience. So the following year, when a friend sent me an invitation for a Miss Curvy contest in Naples, I immediately accepted. I won, they gave me flowers and they said: “Well, now we have to go to Jesolo for the Miss Italia selections”. I did not understand that it was the national competition, I thought it would end there. I was terrified. “But where am I going?”, I thought”
“Pageants now, I’m hoping, are going to start putting curvy and plus-size women in front of the camera,” said Graham