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Old 4th September 2011   #1
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Default Cai Cortez - plus-size actress

One of the issues that the Judgment of Paris has consistently raised over the years is the glaring lack of East Asian plus-size models. The extreme rarity of plus-size models and actresses of Far Eastern descent is an absolute scandal.

People talk freely about "discrimination" and "lack of diversity" and such in the industry (often on questionable grounds), but the absence of Oriental plus-size models and actresses is a true case of exclusion.

With that in mind, I was thrilled when I stumbled across an article about plus-size fashion from the Philippines. The article includes statements from a number of curvy women, one of whom is identified as a plus-size Filipino actress named Cai Cortez.

As you can see, she's remarkably gorgeous. If she were a plus-size model, she'd merit immediate inclusion as a Judgment of Paris favourite.

She even has some size-positive things to say in the article:

Curvy women are sexy! I grew up with sexy, big, beautiful women around me, so it was never a problem. I love my curves, and it is a misconception that you won’t have a love life. As long as you are confident about yourself, people will perceive you that way. My body was never a hindrance to whatever I wanted to achieve.

It’s not about the size when I shop for clothes. I’m not the type who only goes to the big section. I go for the daring and fun clothes. I like one-pieces because they’re sexy, but some chubby women are afraid to wear them. One-pieces are really comfortable, as long as you know how to carry it.

If you are not the normal body type—but there isn’t any normal body type anyway—whatever your body type, you should love it and work with what you have.

Needless to say, I immediately had to learn more about her and found a host of images of this goddess online - some professional, some paparazzi-style, and some snapshots.

She's utterly adorable, isn't she?

Her round face is exquisitely doll-like.

Such a beauty, with high cheekbones and a buxom figure.

This image looks much like a fashion test. She's deliciously curvy and clearly knows it.

A highly artistic photograph - but notice that it shows size-positive details, like the fleshiness of her arms and the dimples at her knuckles.

Gorgeous photo, with Miss Cortez baring her soft shoulders and buxom decolletage.

This publicity picture shows her being flirtatious with a co-star from a movie in which she had the lead role. Wonderful to see her in an abbreviated dress that shows off her shapely legs.

Being interviewed by the press. Her figure is absolutely stunning, but I can't get over how pretty her round facial features look.

A charming candid. Flowers always add something special to a picture of a pretty model, an extra touch of femininity.

Yet another pretty candid:

Not only is Miss Cortez a film actress but a stage actress as well. These pictures of Cai in a theatre production show her in a midriff-baring costume that shows her soft, luscious figure.

A tease - almost a swimwear shot:

And finally, a bedroom-themed photograph that shows her vigorous, robust sensuality. This would be an ideal ad for intimate apparel. It shows what a fine plus-size model she could be, if she were to go that route.

Assuming that the industry is not simply prejudiced, I imagine that one of the reasons for the lack of East Asian/Asian-American plus-size models is the perceived lack of candidates. Well, Cai Cortez is a ravishing beauty, with the kind of round facial features and genuinely full-figured body that would be a credit to any plus-size model.

The most beautiful East Asian plus-size model is still Zeng Jing, whom Chad posted about earlier this year. But Cai Cortez is a close second.

I hope that Miss Cortez's career flourishes in the Philippines, or better still, that she transitions to the U.S. - and if she does, that she embarks on a career as a plus-size model. If fashion is looking for full-figured models of East Asian descent (as it should be, given the scandalous absence of such models) then Miss Cortez represents exactly the kind of look that the industry should pursue.

This appears to be her official site. The photo gallery is quite extensive.
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Old 5th September 2011   #2
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Default Re: Cai Cortez - plus-size actress

Cai Cortez is an extraordinary beauty with enchantingly round facial features and an ideal plus-size physique: soft, naturally untoned, and visibly full-figured. How encouraging to see that she has achieved some measure of career success in the Philippines, even to the point of headlining major motion pictures.

One of her starring roles was in a 2010 feature called Maximum and Minimus, for which a trailer is available online. Although the film was shot in the Filipino language (or rather, Filipino with a smattering of English--as is often the case in the Philippines), this trailer is significant for reasons beyond its dazzling depiction of Miss Cortez's beauty. It is veritably a visual treatise on how plus-size goddesses should be depicted in the media, versus how they usually are depicted.

The first 30-second portion of this trailer demonstrates how full-figured girls ought to be presented in film and television (but rarely are)--as vixens rather than victims.

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Set to the tune of the Carpenters' lyrical ballad "Close to You," the footage shows Miss Cortez in a figure-hugging sleeveless top that defines her soft, luscious curves.

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Like the reigning Miss Popularity of an American high school, she radiates joy and self-satisfaction as she graciously acknowledges her throngs of admirers.

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In an especially seductive gesture, she cools herself with her hand-held fan, the breeze gently wafting her long, luxuriant tresses. Her facial features appear deliciously full, with a sumptuous curve under the chin.

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The next scene shows her continuing her public promenade, soaking up the admiration of all around her. Her ultra-feminine top lovingly celebrates every soft curve of her body, communicating her security in her figure and her awareness that her physique makes her irresistible.

Click to enlarge

With her opulent contours liberated from any disfiguring "shapewear," Miss Cortez confidently saunters down the city street like a latter-day princess on a stately tour of her kingdom, waving to her subjects. Her complete self-satisfaction is intoxicating. She clearly indulges herself without inhibition, knowing that her figure represents the ideal of beauty.

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Her seductive self-assurance is not a facade, but completely genuine and innate. She doesn't just think that she is a goddess; she knows it. Just look at the seductive vanity that her facial features exhibit, with their rich, fed look.

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The high point of the trailer comes as Miss Cortez touches her tresses with her fingers and flips back her hair in a most bewitching manner.

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Though the hair flip occurs out of frame, the camera captures her ravishing look immediately afterwards, which reveals the great pleasure that she takes in her own beauty--as well she should.

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* * *

If the trailer had ended at this point, at the 30-second mark, and if this footage represented the tenor of the entire film, then we would conclude that this movie had done something almost unprecedented--i.e., portrayed a plus-size divinity correctly, the way that such women should be presented: as supremely desirable goddesses, brimming with self-adoration, in love with their own well-fed beauty, envied by all women and worshipped by all men, able to live pampered existences in which all their cares are provided for, all their wants satisfied, simply because of the adoration that their gorgeousness inspires.

Alas, however, the trailer does not end there. The rest of the footage shows that this is, regrettably, yet another depiction that plays up a full-figured woman's insecurities, self-doubts, "conflicts," "challenges," "issues," "problems," etc. etc. etc.--in other words, all of the tired, done-to-death storylines that mar every presentation of full-figured women in film and on television.

To be sure, such "issues" and concerns are very real, and reflect real-life dilemmas that many larger women face. But if this is the only reality that the media ever depicts, then what curvy girl will ever be comfortable with herself--let alone love herself? The effect of such mixed-message presentations is merely to reinforce negative perceptions/self-perceptions about what it means to be a curvy woman.

Consider this:

A plus-size girl who always sees full-figured women conflicted about their bodies will learn to be conflicted about her own body.

But a plus-size girl who sees full-figured women loving their bodies--and others admiring those bodies--will learn to love her own full-figured physique.

The only way that full-figured goddesses will ever regain the crown of ideal beauty, the only way that voluptuous vixens will ever see themselves as the epitome of gorgeousness (which they are), is if our culture depicts that reality and dreams it into being.

Plus-size women don't need pity parties on screen. To recognize that they embody the timeless ideal and that they should adore every inch of their full-figured physiques, they need to see that ideal vision in the media.

Curvy goddesses must be depicted as vixens, not victims. The first 30 seconds of this trailer shows how this can be done. Films like Vertigo and La Dolce Vita present such pro-curvy realities as well, but their leading ladies, Kim Novak and Anita Ekberg, were only ever plus-size by comparison to the skin-and-bones cadavers who populate today's movie industry. Cai Cortez, on the other hand, is a genuinely full-figured goddess, with the full facial features and soft, luscious, feminine physique of an ideal plus-size model. For her to be presented as an ultra-vain goddess and the embodiment of desire would have been boldly subversive and boundlessly fulfilling.

* * *

Nevertheless, at least two glimpses of Miss Cortez in the rest of the trailer warrant a mention. She appears particularly beautiful in this fuchsia top, adopting the "modest" downward-looking pose that models such as Kelsey Olson and Barbara Brickner have popularized. Her expression also effectively shows off her vivid eyeshadow--a touch that cosmetics artists will admire.

Click to enlarge

Miss Cortez's upward-looking expression is equally captivating--a quizzical look with a seductively heavily-lidded gaze, indicating a sensual touch of indolence along with some girlish vulnerability.

Click to enlarge

She also looks charming in the following scene, grinning a mischievous grin, her rounded arms disclosed by her sleeveless top.

Click to enlarge

To see the two approaches back to back, the right way and the wrong way to portray full-figured femininity, the aspirationally ideal depiction of plus-size goddesses versus the counter-productive mixed-message approach--view the Maximus and Minimus trailer, below. The first 30-second portion gets it right, the rest of the trailer gets it wrong:

* * *

As others have pointed out, the plus-size industry worldwide suffers from a blatant lack of full-figured models of Far Eastern descent. This is especially intolerable in North America, where Asian-Americans form a significant proportion of the population, yet find little representation, whereas other populations are quite visibly represented.

This is yet another example, comparable to the prejudice against petite plus-size models, of how full-figured fashion, despite standing in opposition to the minus-size "regular" fashion industry, still suffers from aesthetic absences.

We hope to see a greater number of East Asian plus-size models in the future, both in North America and worldwide, and we particularly hope that models such as Zeng Jing and actresses such as Cai Cortez will be among the goddesses who set the standard of appearance for Oriental plus-size beauty.

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Old 9th November 2011   #3
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Default Carizza Cortez

Cai Cortez (apparently her full name is Carizza Cortez, Cai being short for Carizza) is gorgeous. I love the fact that the screen caps from her movie trailer show her wearing a top that defines the soft, untoned fullness of her waist.

I found a recent post about her on a Filipino web log:

In its text, it incorporates the curious mix of English and Filipino that others have mentioned in this thread. This seems to be characteristic of the media in the Philippines.

Anyway, the post is notable because it comes with two more beautiful pictures of Miss Cortez. This shot resembles a proper fashion test.

This is clearly another image from the artistic photoshoot, one image of which Graham shared in his initial post. Her arms are attractively full and she's quite buxom. She would make a gorgeous plus-size model.

Given that the U.S. industry suffers from such an embarrassing dearth of plus-size models of Far Eastern descent, Miss Cortez would fill that lacuna very well.
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Old 20th November 2011   #4
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Default Cai Cortez in a music video

Perhaps the prettiest film footage of Cai Cortez I've seen so far comes from this brand-new Filipino music video. The music itself is, well, not for everyone, but one can always watch the clip with the sound turned off.

The video actually seems to have an interesting storyline. The singer's character is romantically interested in two different girls, and the video shows interludes of his dates with one or the other. One girl is thin, while the other (played by Miss Cortez) is full-figured and gorgeous.

Cai first appears at 0:38 and from then all throughout the video, wearing many glamorous date-themed outfits. She looks very desirable and also legitimately full-figured; very much like a plus-size model, in fact.

It's a dismaying thought that the chances of a similarly curvaceous and beautiful actress or model appearing as the romantic lead in a music video in the U.S. are practically nonexistent. But as the video demonstrates, a well-fed goddess is entirely believable as a love interest, and in fact, most people watching the video will conclude that the full-figured vixen is bound to triumph over her underweight rival in securing her beau's affections.
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