Denise Bidot: The curves of Arab Latino feminism
The model, half Puerto Rican and half Kuwaiti, joins Shakira and Salma Hayek in representing Latino diversity.
Breaking through the prejudices that besiege us is not easy, but when you have to fight in more than one front and you are still victorious, you are opening the way for everyone else.
This is just what happens to Denise Bidot. First, she is a curvy model in a world where to be photographed naturally without masking the cellulite or the wide hips is such a sign of self-confident as feminist activism.
But also because Bidot is half Puerto Rican and half Kuwaiti, and has become a mirror for Arab Latinas in the United States who demand greater visibility:
"Growing up, I felt like I was the only girl in the world who was Latino and Arab, and that's when Shakira began to talk about her roots and I thought I had found someone like me," she said to Emperifolla in an interview where she also referred to her lonely youth in Miami and the career she embarked on 12 years ago, consecrating her as one of the world's most respected curvy models.
"We feel alone because no one sees us and the same thing happens with the Afro-Latino community"
"This generation is quite impressive, there are no longer all those labels that used to put on us and that was hard for me related to my identity," she stated. And she added that she was relieved that her daughter could grow up in that other generation that is pushing the boundaries.
"Representation is important, we feel alone because no one sees us, and so is the Afro-Latino community," concluded Denise Bidot, who has a fairly large public forum with more than 655 k followers on Instagram.
An Afro-Latino girl's mother, the model, who grew up in a family where she was different - "my cousins are red and my grandmother has blond hair and green eyes," she says -, would like to show her daughter other women who look like her on television and in music.
Something that despite the prejudices and the glass ceiling that weighs on women, especially if they have certain origins, happens more and more often. And there are even very well-known ambassadors.
Actress Salma Hayek ("Frida", "Desperado"), whose father is Lebanese, made some very harsh statements a couple of years ago at the Cannes Film Festival where she charged against machismo and racism in the film industry:
"I came to Hollywood not only as a woman but as an Arab-Mexican. People laughed at me for having the dream of working as an actress," she confessed in a forum dedicated to women.
She was the only Mexican and Latina in drama school – except for Benicio del Toro, who is Puerto Rican, that is, half American, and is a man. "No one laughed at him," she recalls. "They also laughed at me in Mexico (...) as well as all the agents and all the film studios."