Top model Joan Smalls is quite extraordinary. The Puerto Rican beauty who can be seen in Estée Lauder ads, on designer runways across every major fashion city, and in magazine editorial pages too numerous to count is the model of the moment.

Joan-Smalls-For-Glam-Belleza-Latina-Spring-2014-Issue-FAB-MagazineShe opens up to Glam Belleza Latina’s spring issue about everything from cultural pride, to chasing her dreams, to finally making it big.

On her dream job as a kid: “I grew up on a farm in Puerto Rico and wanted to be a veterinarian. I was always playing with animals! But because I physically resembled some of the models on TV—tall and skinny—people would tell my parents that I should model.”

On her Latin pride: “Yes, ‘pride’ in coming from such a beautiful, diverse culture is something that I think of in connection to Latin beauty. Regardless of what shade you are or where you come from, you still are beautiful.”

On categorizing her race: “Aha. People want to claim you. And people don’t realize that when you’re Latin, you’re so diverse. I am black. I am Latin. I am Spanish. You know? It’s a little bit of everything, and that’s beautiful. So, everybody, claim me. I’m fine with that.”

To read the full interview, go here.

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