Ady (or Arcadio) Del Valle is one of the very rare plus-size male models working today; and as such, his boundary-pushing image — a fat, queer, and POC model — is changing previously held prejudices against the body positivity movement within the fashion industry.
The Boston-based plus-size Latinx male model and body diversity champion has been actively modeling for over five years, and has only ever represented himself, proving his drive to win over the world one way or another. With stunning facial features like shapely brows, a full beard, pouty lips, and a beautifully turned out hourglass figure he loves to show off, Valle has successfully infiltrated the closely guarded upper reaches of fashion.
From walking the original Real Catwalk in Times Square during NYFW — a body-positive fashion runway show and movement which challenges industry norms, created by “Top Model” finalist Khrystyana — to modeling in campaigns for Sephora, Patrick Church, and the official NYC Pride, Valle has been making his mark. He’s been profiled in publications like i-D, Teen Vogue, Queerty, and NYLON, and has well over 25,000 inspired followers across his social media. Valle is steadily reaching style stardom via a path of his own creation.
Now ready to take on a fashion and beauty landscape he has helped change, the 31-year-old is currently heading the annual Pride fragrance campaign for The Phluid Project, a groundbreaking retail destination famed for its genderless and queer-friendly approach to sales. We sat down with the busy model to discuss his skincare routine (of course!), his thoughts on body diversity, and what Pride means to him.
On his skincare, and why a beauty process is important to self-love and acceptance
“My routine is basic but effective for my skin type,” Valle says of his daily routine. “Every other morning I start off by cleaning and shaving my beard, meaning my cheek and neck areas. Every three days I exfoliate. My regular daily routine uses a three-step acne prevention system: face wash, toner, and moisturizer. And for my last step, an under-eye serum to hydrate. It adds a lovely glowing supple look. Then you’re good to go!”
As a model, Valle is aware that perhaps his most important asset is, of course, his face. “Your skin and especially your face is the first thing the world sees every day,” he notes. “Even if you don’t wear makeup, having skin that’s well taken care of feels good. Being on set a lot, I make sure I take care of my skin. Some jobs want you to model with natural makeup, no makeup, or lots of makeup, so it’s important my skin looks good in any aspect. I tend to hide what I call the trouble areas on my face, but I’ve learned to embrace them and love them through my beauty routines. Those areas can be beautiful, too!”
On breaking the gender binary when it comes to wearing makeup and products
As a model for multiple lines of clothing and cosmetics lines aimed squarely at LGBTQ folk, Valle regularly wears makeup — sometimes heavy, sometimes quite light, but whatever the case, he wears it proudly.
“For me, makeup really has no gender,” Valle comments. “It doesn’t have a type, it’s literally for everyone. Makeup is there to do its job no matter your identity. Masculine men can and do wear makeup… more often than people think. We are at a time when most people do not care and are more open than before. Yes, we still have some progress to do, but makeup will not take away from anyone’s masculinity. That’s the beauty of it, it’s a simple form of expression just like clothing. You like what you like.”
On what Pride means to him
“I actually came out later in my adult life,” Valle admits, “so I had no idea what anything in the LGBTQ community meant or was.”
But as the aspiring model began booking more and more gigs, the queer community recognized and welcomed him into its ranks. “Once I began modeling, about five years ago, I got submerged into the community through my bookings. I have and am still learning so much from my community… Pride has made me able to exist as I am today, being able to express myself how I choose, and learning to love all the layers of the person I’ve become.”
On body diversity and positivity during Pride season — and all year long
Pride festivities around the world draw millions of LGBTQ people and their allies to rejoice together and express their queerness without inhibition. Yet, unfortunately, fat-phobia has also been rampant in the scene for decades, with muscly, cisgender, white gay men dominating the Pride aesthetic. But Valle is reshaping that narrative.
“Definitely during Pride, especially in the past, there would be basically no representation of bodies other than washboard abs and muscles,” Valle says. “But I’m grateful that even as an individual, I’m able to represent bodies that look like mine during Pride, and for Pride campaigns… Hell, in any campaign! We don’t see that ever, and sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one that looks like you, doing these things. It’s a big reason why I’m so passionate about what I do in the industry.”
And are things indeed changing? “I’m glad I can take up space in these arenas, shake things up simply with my existence, because these places aren’t made for people like me,” Valle points out. “Things have changed and are changing more now than ever, and there is more representation, but there can be more. These are conversations to keep having with companies and brands to demand and ask for representation — not only during Pride, but every day.”
On his hopes for the future of Pride
“We need people and companies to highlight the real meaning and purpose of Pride month,” he declares. “We need people to hire queer folks for campaigns and jobs not only during Pride month, but all year round. We exist every day as queer people, this is our life every day. And I hope this Pride season that our community grows stronger, is more resilient than ever, and finally embraces each other.”