America's Next Top Male Model Wears Size XXXXL
Ady del Valle grew up idolizing the fashion industry, but never saw anyone in it who looked like him. He decided to change that.
Header photo by Julio Lopez
In a small room with a kempt makeup table, a sewing machine, a ring light and a bed, Arcadio “Ady” del Valle begins his morning ritual of makeup application. His face and eyebrows must always be on before picking his outfit of the day and leaving the two-bedroom apartment he shares with his abuela (grandmother). The all-gray space is surprisingly monochromatic for such a decidedly colorful model/artist/advocate. Then again, an unconventional approach is fitting for someone on his way to becoming the fashion industry’s next breakout plus-size model.
“This doesn’t happen to everyone who looks like me,” del Valle says reflexively. “But I need to ride this bull by the horns.”
Del Valle, 31, was born and raised in Boston. His parents split up when he was 10, and his mother and grandmother raised Ady and his sister, Amarillis, although he remained close with his father. After high school, he trained to work as a paralegal, and when his mother moved out of town, he s…