Elaine Palacio Biography, the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week, Profile, Career, Family, Husband, Net Worth, Social Media, Instagram

Elaine Palacio Biography the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week

The 22-year-old has discussed her relationship with Colombia and the influence her Afro-feminine heritage has had on the local and global fashion scene on several occasions.

Originally from Puerto Boyacá, an ebony goddess rises again on the great catwalks of the world before the Olympic Games.

Colombian women continue to enchant on the most important catwalks in the world. This is the case of the Afro-Colombian model Elaine Palacio, who became the new face of the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week, which takes place before the Olympic Games and will have this city as their epicenter.


At the beginning of 2024, the young woman originally from Puerto Boyacá became the first cover featuring an Afro-Colombian for Vogue magazine.

In an interview with El Tiempo, she said that those were difficult times she experienced before being called to be part of the catwalks, she did castings and even recalled that she was hungry for months, but this did not impede fulfilling her dream.

“I took six pastries and fainted. Thank God two roommates in the apartment helped me and I vomited,” he told the aforementioned media.


This caused the young woman to suffer from anemia for a time, leaving consequences that she still cannot fully control, especially those that involve her diet.

It was recently learned that the young model became the new face of the Valentino house and walked on the catwalk that paid tribute to the greatness of the Olympic Games, just as other brands have done.

In an interview with Show Caracol, Palacio assured that she feels deeply grateful for the opportunity that life gave her to fulfill her greatest dream.

“I am extremely grateful to be able to show the world my talent in the middle of this beautiful catwalk…

Very happy to have worked with Thom Browne, because it is one of the brands that I have always admired, so it is a dream for me to have fulfilled it,” she stated.

The curious thing about the catwalk was that it was an Olympic podium, because taking into account the imminent arrival of the sports competitions in the French capital, the designer mixed sports and haute couture.

On the other hand, Elaine Palacio felt excited to have been part of the catalog of the Italian fashion brand, since the fruits of her effort are reflected.

And she concluded that Colombian models are making a strong statement in the fashion shows of different brands, so she hopes that this market will expand and allow other women of color to also stand out like she did.

Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week
Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week

How was your arrival in the world of fashion?

On different occasions, the 22-year-old spoke about what Colombia means to her and the broad importance that her origin as an Afro woman has had within the national and international fashion industry.

It was five years ago that working at Colombiamoda, he took the first steps to open a long and successful career on the most important catwalks in the world.

A photo of her, at that time, went viral on social networks and reached New York, where she enchanted designers with her beauty. She ended up being contacted by brands like Victoria’s Secret and Moschino.

“Colombia fills me with energy, my family, my feelings. My vibe has always been here in Colombia and working for the country, because it has been five years since I had done anything in the fashion industry (…)

I am doing this beautiful editorial, because it fills me with much more emotion and makes me proud , since I am representing my country very well,” he indicated in a talk with Noticias Caracol.

The young woman, these days, is preparing to be at Fashion Week in Milan, London, and New York. Likewise, he will be working with drummer Travis Barker on a campaign with Tommy Hilfiger.

Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week
Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week


Name: Elaine Palacio

Age: 22-year-old

Nationality: Colombia

Originality: Puerto Boyacá

Height: 179 / 5’10” 1/2

Hair: Black

Eyes: Black

Bust: 83 / 32” 1/2

Waist: 60 / 23” 1/2

Hips: 90 / 35” 1/2

Shoes: 40 / 9

I endured hunger, suffered from anemia, and was rejected, but I managed to become an international model.

She had been rejected in dozens of castings, she didn’t know how to speak English and she had days when she didn’t even have enough money to eat. I had been in New York for almost three months without getting a campaign to work on.

At that time, Elaine Palacio saw her dream of becoming an international model increasingly distant, a promise for which she had decided to transform her life a year ago and move 3,861 kilometers away from her home in Colombia.

However, the roles changed one morning while I was walking through Soho, one of the exclusive neighborhoods of Manhattan.

She was going with a friend to some African dance classes to change her mood when a woman stopped her in the middle of the sidewalk and asked her name and what agency she worked for.

The young woman born in Puerto Boyacá, only 17 years old, responded confused and with words in English that were mixed with a marked accent that revealed that she was a foreigner. Without further ado, the recruiter left in her elegant car that she had gotten out of minutes before.

Days later they announced to her that she had been chosen to be part of Victoria Secret Pink in 2020. This is how her career began.

Since then he has worked with big brands and publishers such as Vogue Italia, Valentino, Gucci, Armani, Jacquemus, Alexander Wang, Moschino, Giorgio Armani, Victoria Beckham, Burberry, Reebok, among others.

After six years in the industry, Palacio recognizes that her current job is not even close to the future she projected when she was a child.

Elaine was born on October 27, 2001 in Boyacá. She was raised by her mother, Sandra Milena Mosquera, a social sciences teacher; his father, Luis Alberto Palacio, a bricklayer, and his grandmother, María Flor Rentería, a well-known chef in the town.

Since she was a child, her hyperactivity and extroverted personality had led her to be part of multiple dance groups and various sports.

“My grandmother instilled in me to leave sorrow aside. I was always that girl who did dances in the classroom, events or any type of ‘show’ to pass the material,” she recalled.

His attitude seems to have not changed, he speaks easily and in the company of his hands, he laughs out loud and, despite recounting difficult moments, he does not lose his smile.

She studied at the San Pedro Claver Educational Institution, where she stood out, from the age of 10, as part of the athletics team, bringing gold medals to her school and recognition as a potential high-performance athlete in local, departmental, and national competitions. national.

This is how the Palace grew. For seven years she got used to demanding sports, to scrapes, to walking and running with a firm step and to stop looking delicate.

However, her grandmother never stopped emphasizing her beauty and that her future would be to be a model, “a successful one, just like Naomi Elaine Campbell.”

For the Puerto Boyacense, who shared a name with the British actress, businesswoman and supermodel, that dream was impossible.

“How am I going to be a model? I look anything but like that,” that was her main thought.

Especially because, at that time, being black and an international model were “blessings” that only women like Naomi could fulfill.

In his mind, on the contrary, he had another reference. I wanted to be the next Caterine Ibargüen, an Olympic winner. “I was super motivated to be the best athlete, I was psyched that that was what I wanted,” she explained.

To continue with that goal, he investigated and found that the Antioquia Athletics League, located in Medellín, should be his next step to advance in competitions.

She was excited to move, she had heard that the athletes there were stronger because they came from Chigorodó and Chocó and that, in addition, they were trained by specialized teachers.

However, that was not the best economic time for his family, who would have to pay for a place to live, transportation, meals, and tuition for the last year of high school, which he had yet to complete if he were going to move to the capital of Antioquia.

“My grandmother was the one who had a job at that time and I begged and begged her until she agreed to pay me the monthly payment at my aunt’s house,” he said.

Her family trusted her, since she was a child she had been responsible, dedicated, and very independent, so the change, they thought, would not be so hard for her.

“I started with the league with a lot of effort, but it didn’t matter because I wanted to continue and support my parents,” he stated.

Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week
Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week

From the race track to the catwalk

While in Medellín, in the middle of a demanding routine to attend her training sessions that were two hours from her home, the 16-year-old girl saw a casting notice on the social network Facebook to enter a new modeling agency in Colombia, ‘Cover Management’.

“Why not try?” she thought before proposing to her aunt that she accompany her to El Poblado to try the idea. At that time she saw it as a hobby she could do alongside sports.

Elaine remembers that moment with nostalgia and accuracy. Two boys and a girl were waiting outside when they called her in. As soon as they saw her, everyone present shouted and praised her. She didn’t understand anything.

“They started saying that she was stunning, they said ‘Wow.’ It makes me laugh because you don’t know that that moment is going to change your life,” he said.

As soon as they took some photos, she signed up with her first agency at 16, just for the beginning of the Colombia Moda season, also known, as fashion week in Colombia.

As soon as she entered the industry, her grandmother enrolled her in the JC Figuera Models academy in Medellín.

“It was super difficult because I was already used to other things. “I was a more marked, stronger woman, who had to change to the delicate, the elegant, and the fashionable,” she recalled.

However, this was not what shocked her the most. Until now, she had no idea what the selection process for the catwalks would be like, nor what her new colleagues were like.

It was in that experience that he learned how “raw and real” castings were. More than 50 models waiting, some eating, sleeping, or reading on the floor, until a person shouts ‘Casting open’ and as if it were a stampede of animals, everyone present ran out to put a sheet of paper with the photos and information basic on a table.

“When I saw that, I felt very bad because I said if these severe, super beautiful women, who have their style, don’t pass and now I, who come with pants and tennis shoes, am I going to do it?” remembered about it.

He participated in this dynamic for approximately 20 castings for the brands that would work at Colombia Moda and he ended up in none.

“What happened is that she was very black and here we are used to seeing the blonde, with light eyes, with the bikini and straight hair.”

She knew that she had obstacles and that perhaps “she didn’t have the same opportunity as someone else,” but now the conditions are different.

“In a large Colombian brand you are not going to see more than three black women on that catwalk or more than three representative indigenous women, you are not going to see them,” he said.

On the fourth day of testing, with the attitude almost at the bottom, a photograph changed everything.

A friend, who was also a model, took an improvised photo of him with his cell phone and immediately sent it to a prestigious agency that has a presence in Colombia, Mexico, and the United States.

“The director wrote to me to sign in Colombia and Mexico. His idea was to take me to New York quickly,” according to what they told him, his profile was ‘international’ and his best opportunity was to leave the country.

Suspicious and distrustful, she took a step into the void and went to Mexico, to live in a modeling house and work there.

‘I feel like it was abuse’: the experience abroad
He spent six months in the Latin American country and returned to Colombia to get the visa papers and go to New York.

According to Palacio, there he made at least 15 catwalks, each for a value that varied between 800 and 1,000 dollars, and he also participated in multiple million-dollar payment campaigns.

However, he never received any of the profits he made.

“I was a girl and I feel like it was abuse. “This person bought me clothes to go to the auditions and then charged me millions of pesos for those changes,” he said that he accumulated a debt of more than 10 million pesos for eight changes of clothes.

Despite this, she did not know what could be considered an injustice or not, and, before, she felt grateful for the opportunity she had been given.

Little by little she realized that all the models who came with her were “disappearing, I was the only one who stayed, the one who endured and I feel that it was because I was the smallest.”

When he arrived in the United States, the good streak he had in Mexico did not continue with the same consistency.

In those months in which he lived in a small two-bedroom apartment with six other people, he had to “tighten his pocketbook.”

He had to walk at least four hours to get to his auditions, sneak into the subway, or skip meals for two days in a row, or sometimes three, because he couldn’t afford it.

Some weeks were more complicated than others, especially because his boss believed that his weight was one of the reasons why he was losing his job and, to “fix it, he started giving me 40 dollars a week when he had to give me 100 per week.” contract.

What do I do with that? Nothing. I could only eat, but if I had to buy something personal like soap or deodorant, I couldn’t.”

The criticism of his body did not stop. The pressure on her increased and they insisted that she must lose weight quickly.

“They told me I was fat and I wasn’t, I was normal, I just came from being an athlete, I had more legs, tail, and a little more muscle,” she explained.

However, they did not understand that their boss began to apply measures to check their body. First, he bought her some pills that, according to him, were for weight loss.

Likewise, every week he forced her to go to the building to have her size taken. The man wanted to see quick results, so Elaine, in desperate measures, used to tie her thighs and waist with tape, tightening it until her pants were tighter.

“I already had a lot of anxiety and no model did anything. I cried all the time, but I never told my mother,” she lamented. Elaine kept all the bad experiences and isolated herself from her family so as not to worry them.

After all, she was barely 17 years old, she was still a child.

I thought I could handle it, but the situation didn’t change, I still hadn’t gotten casting contracts and the winter ‘Fashion Week’ in New York was already coming.

“I was afraid that they would return me and I didn’t want to, what I needed was time,” he said that, then, the only way out he could find was to triple the dose of the pills he was taking.

“I took six pastries and fainted. Thank God two roommates in the apartment helped me and I vomited,” he said.

The consequences of this lifestyle were crucial for his health: he became anemic for a time, lost a lot of weight, and still has some problems involving eating.

“What happens is that my body does not receive the food and I am skinnier. “My agent tells me to take care of myself.”

‘My little queen, I told you. You’re 18 years old and look where you are three months passed after living like this when he finally got a chance. Terry, a Victoria’s’s Secret recruiter, found her on the street and scheduled her for a clothing fitting.

“She was delighted with me. My English was ‘ratata’ but thank God things worked out and I did the campaign. They wanted to put me with the big ones, but I was very small.

They had to wait 20 days until I turned 18 to be able to sign the contract, so the campaign was 20 thousand pains,” he explained with emotion in his voice.

He worked with the underwear company all year round, twice a week. This first campaign helped her pay all her debts and move out of the apartment.

“I resigned empty-handed, one back and one forward. Even my visa was canceled, but anyway, when they saw that I was working, they renewed it for three years,” he commented that he got his place to live and signed with another agency, from that moment on things began to improve.

“The first year I did Jacquemus, Off White, Valentino, and several catwalks at Fashion Week in New York, Paris and Milan,” in addition to becoming the first Afro-Colombian model to appear on the cover of Vogue Italia magazine.

September 2020. Being invited to participate in the commemoration edition of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement.

“My little queen, I told you. You are 18 years old and look where you are.” Elaine said that those were the words of her grandmother, María Flor, upon seeing her on the cover. For her, Palacio is, without a doubt, the Colombian Naomi Campbell.

To this date, he has managed to work with multiple recognized companies.

This year she is working with Beauty Sara, Essex magazine, and participating in different catwalks of the current ‘Fashion Week’, which has been taking place since last February 9.

Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week
Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week

Negros de corazón Foundation: its new project

“Puerto Boyacá is a municipality where, unfortunately, talents are lost,” she commented. Elaine thinks that, if she had not left the municipality with the support of her family to one of the main cities, such as Medellín, she probably would not have had the same success or trajectory that he currently has.

Therefore, he has dedicated the last three years to becoming that support in his community.

At the end of 2022, when he was in a more stable and calm situation, he created a non-profit project in the company of his family to help, through culture and sports, the young people of Puerto Boyacá.

This is the ‘Blacks of Heart Foundation’, a house, as she calls it, where the children of the municipality can develop their abilities and skills.

At this time, the organization is mainly dedicated to being a space so that those who like dancing can compete and demonstrate their talents.

However, Palacio envisions this project as larger, “I want it to be the place for those young people who want to undertake or have an opportunity to develop their abilities in all types of art such as music, painting, dance, and more.”

Her inspiration to find it comes from herself, remembering when she used to dance in her childhood, how much she liked it, but how few opportunities there were: no costumes, no spaces, no teachers to teach them.

“I danced a lot because my grandmother did not always instill the Chocoana chimera, the Boyacá arrang,e, and the champeta,” he added that in his family they are a “mixture” of cultures.

He plans to continue applying to various projects for culture and sports. The idea, according to Elaine, is to generate benefits for the participants, either with recognition or experiences.

Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week
Elaine Palacio Biography: the Colombian model who walked for the Valentino house at Paris Fashion Week


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