Lucia is one of those souls that captivates anyone around her. Whether it be her laugh, her exuberance or even her strikingly bold face — she is alluring in every sense. We met a few years prior during a fashion week event and ever since I couldn’t help but notice her smile while mingling in the tension of fashion
week cocktail hours. She — like many of the other amazing women in this issue — is from a country that enticesthe masses with beauty, differences, and culture. Peru’s beauty - full of intrigue and wonder - is the same flood of beauty exuberated from the heart of this young, brave and fierce individual.
The Peruanita — as she refers to herself in her Instagram bio — Lucia Escalante is just 23 years old. She moved to the states with her family when she was six years old and told me that her first birthday celebrated in Americawas her seventh. Almost a year ago we had dinner after a photo shoot in Downtown Denver where I styled herfor the first time. Instantly kicking off a friendship that continues to grow to this day, we found ourselves a couple beers deep and in the inevitable “rabbit hole” of dinner time conversation. She mentioned how odd and tough it was to realize, at such a young age, that she was the only brown girl in her classroom when she first moved to the small town of Littleton, Colorado. The stares, the questions, and ridiculous racism that followed her was never something she couldn’t overcome.
The truth is that being proud of her Peruvian culture, history, and heritage strengthened her young soul. It guides her into womanhood as a strong, limitless, and determined individual.
“Being brown has empowered me in so many ways. I always think back to my heritage and what my grandparents and parents had to do to get me here.” Inspired by her parents — specifically her mother — she pushed herself to pursue international work and was constantly supported. She tells me her mother is the reason she refuses to stop anytime soon. No matter how hard it seems to get, her mother will always be there to tell her to keep going. “My mother has supported me so much since the beginning. I was in a terrible car accident early last year and almost gave up. She helped me get to all my fittings and photo shoots so that I didn’t miss a thing. She encourages me to believe in myself and pushes me. I know she believes in me and I couldn’t ask for more,” she explains. The acknowledgment of her family is proof that the connection to her roots are ever so present in all the work she produces.
“My culture empowers me the most because I want to use it as my platform to tell people how it was moving to a new country, not knowing the language, having struggles as a first-generation immigrant, and still pursuing my dreams and having my families support the whole way.”
She began modeling at the age of 22 when she first was cast to walk for a fashion show in Colorado. It was that moment that allowed her goals and career to manifest. It inspired her to reach for a spot in the industry and as one may say, “the rest was [her]story.” Ever since then she has encapsulated the cheeky Denver fashion scene in the palm of her hand. As a growing model, she has taken every chance she received to build both her portfolio and experience by working with stylists including Aaron Rodriguez of The Black Curtain and fashion photographer Kevin Alexander.
Of course, the beginning of her career had its fair share of frustrations and setbacks like the inevitable “no’s” and the “maybe-next-times.” Escalante doesn’t fall down easily as she demolishes moments of defeat with optimism saying, “I take criticism and feedback well so I know where I could improve.” The industry here is tight and some- times overlooks new faces, but it helps encourage her to strive to the top. “I totally understand I’m a new face and I still need to create better connections, but modeling makes me so happy. I am creating that diversity I wished to see growing up. Inclusivity is such a popular term but we’re still seeing the same type of faces,” she explains.
However, being the new face to be seen isn’t her goal anymore, it’s getting better as a model. “This year, my modeling career is to focus less on exposure and more on perfecting my craft,” Escalante says about how 2019 will be the best time to refocus on her career. Being seen is only half the work a model must do, but executing work-ethic, adapting to the always changing chameleon effort, and having the drive is what this industry is nurtured by. “Last year I just wanted to get my face out there which worked out amazing. This year I just want to learn and take my skills to the next level.”