Hello fashion world, Valentine Alvarez is here.

Walking the runway at Marc Jacobs’ triumphant return for FW21 this summer, Valentine Alvarez exploded onto the fashion scene. Their pointed jaw, bleached brows, and unmistakable walk blew both casting and onlookers away, and we haven’t been able to get them out of our heads since. The last few months have seen them shine on the cover of OFFICE magazine and walking for diverse shows like Gabriela Hearst and Savage X Fenty. Read below as they share thoughts on their journey so far, what keeps them grounded, and how they’ve discovered the road to true meaningful self-love.

PHOTOGRAPHY WARD & KWESKIN  @wardkweskin @supervision_agency
AMBER DUARTE @amber_duarte @ryenreps
MAKEUP ZENIA JAEGER @makeupbyzeniajaeger @streetersagency

Who is Valentine Alvarez? Tell me, where are you from and how did you grow up?

Valentine is a non-binary first-generation Mexican who was born and raised in LA. 

What is your family background like?

I have a very big family. Each of my parents has more than ten siblings, so family has always played a significant role in my life. As we have aged, so many of us have gotten further and further apart, but nothing has stopped our connection. My mom has always done everything she can to show us how connected we are through blood and love. 

What was your first experience of beauty?

For a long time, when I looked at myself, I didn’t see beauty. I didn’t really like my reflection, but I also didn’t really like MYSELF. I always found different things to hate about myself. I think it became a lot easier to see the beauty on the outside when I began to see the beauty I had within myself. Recognizing the things that I cherish and admire within myself gave me the confidence to see the beauty I held in multiple ways. I always had moments when I would wear extravagant clothes or outrageous makeup, which always made me feel beautiful for the wrong reasons. I was covered up behind the image I wanted to be projecting. I think it’s amazing when you can see yourself in your best and your worst but still see the beauty. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Do not let anyone else be more important than you. You are the most important person in your life. Center yourself and believe in yourself. The encouragement you seek from others is twice as validating when received from yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else does. You know what you want. 

Can you tell us about your coming out experience?

Which one? Being queer means constantly coming out in different ways every single day. Every time I tell someone my correct pronouns, I am “outing” myself. Every time I mention a partner who is not a man, I am coming out. Every time is different, and every experience is different. I knew that my heart was big enough for every gender before I could even explain what the feeling was. I’ve been coming out at least once a day since I have felt this. 

How did you come to learn self-love?

Once I stopped equating my worth to my physical beauty. I love many things about myself, and it started with the smallest things. At first, I struggled with naming things that I liked about myself, but the more I tried to recognize them, the easier it got. 

What are you excited about in your career/life in general?

I genuinely love meeting people and forming new connections. I love the different outlooks on life that different people can offer you. Every person’s experience is unique and special, and to hear the trials and tribulations that people go through and the roads they traveled and still somehow end up in this room with you.