Joan Smalls on Being the Only Puerto Rican Victoria's Secret Angel & Loving Mofongo

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Every few years, a fresh-faced model takes the fashion industry by storm! 2011 has been the year of Joan Smalls; her face has launched campaigns for Gucci and Roberto Cavalli and she's been spotted strutting down the catwalk of the season’s hottest couture fashion shows like Christian Dior and Givenchy. But, even with all these bragging rights and a skyrocketing career, Smalls manages to stay humble and connected to her roots. 

Here's what she had to say to us when we caught up with her at the Victoria's Secret fashion show recently.

How does it feel to be the only Puerto Rican Victoria Secret angel?

It’s super exciting and a blessing.  I’m so gratefully because I’ve worked so hard to be at this position, to put my best foot forward, and bring pride to my family. I’m honored to rep my culture and want to show the world out there that the Latin culture is beautiful, exciting and that we all look different.

So, as a VS angel, what’s angelic about you?

My angelic side is that I like to make people laugh. I’ll help a friend in need if they're having a bad day by putting them first.

Why did you choose to do the Victoria's Secret show? How is it different?

I think every girl wants to do Victoria's Secret. You grow up seeing the show and your like, “I want to be there,” so of course when the opportunity comes you have to grab it. I think it's very important in every models career to have the visibility that they see you everywhere around the world with a show like this.

So, what did you do this morning to prepare?

This morning I ate scrambled eggs with bacon—real bacon no turkey bacon—and a croissant. My diet hasn't changed much, but what has changed the most is my exercise.

Being Puerto Rican, what’s your favorite Puerto Rican dish?

Mofongo with pollo al ajillo (chicken and garlic). I love garlic, don't talk to me after, but I love it!

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About this author

Verky Arcos, Fashion Director

A  writer and editor with expertise in fashion and lifestyle coverage, Verky Baldonado is currently Latina magazine's Fashion Director. Baldonado has written Latin-inspired travel and food related content and has contributed to celebrity Q&As, red carpet video interviews, and the annual “Reasons to Love Being Latina” feature. Verky is U.S.-born and of Ecuadorean and Puerto Rican descent who speaks and writes fluent Spanish. Prior to Latina, Verky worked as a photo shoot coordinator at Universal/Island Def Jam Music Group. Verky holds a B.A. in Communications Arts from Montclair State University and currently resides in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.

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