UPDATED February 27th, 2018

Dominicana Fior Mendez is loving her new life in NYC. Her struggles have landed her one of the most wanted jobs ever!

Fior Mendez is such an inspiration to us here at CFL (see her in our spring issue, pg 13). She’s gone from a child empleada and orphan in her native land to a model on the NYC runway, and she has no plans of slowing down yet! Born in the Dominican Republic to a life of poverty, Fior spent much of her childhood being sent by her mother to clean the homes of wealthier members of her community. Eventually her father realized Fior didn’t have the opportunities she deserved, and sent her to an orphanage when she was twelve years old. On a shared computer, she would watch YouTube videos of the international runways and fantasized about one day being one of the models she idolized. At age 21, with the help of a donor, she moved to New York City, and through a network of friends she met Prince Riley from Signature Talent Agency. This ultimately led to her walking in the Nzinga Knight show after her first meeting. We caught up with Fior to see how she’s been adjusting to the big city life.

CFL: Girl, como estas? It’s been a minute since last fashion week season. How’re you feeling? Who’s shows are you walking in?

Fior: I am so excited once again for the opportunity to be on the runway. At this point I’m scheduled to walk for designer Michael Mui and his beautiful clothing line Lotus M. His dresses make me feel like a princess. After that, I’m not sure.

Read Related: Joan Smalls: Fashion’s Freshest Face is a Proud Latina

CFL: Ok, I know you’re on a student budget, but you still have to look cute. Where do you shop? And not that you need it…but what beauty products do you use?

Fior: I love to shop. I go to H & M, Kohl’s and Century 21—so many designers to choose from! My favorites are Calvin Klein, Oscar de La Renta, and Jennifer Lopez. My beauty products are a mixture of Revlon and Lancôme.

Read the full article on Cosmo for Latinas.