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Meet Nikoleta Morales: a versatile freelance journalist and advocate for body positivity as a plus-size model

Feb 20, 2024 | Interviews | 0 comments


From a 15-year-old immigrant girl from Kustendil, Bulgaria with an eating disorder to a plus-size fashion model, entertainment journalist, and an empowered mom of a teenage girl living in the US.

Dress Design by House of Solana; OSCAR


Freelance Entertainment Journalism: Nikoleta brings a unique perspective to her journalism, offering insightful commentary on the entertainment industry from her freelance standpoint. Her independent voice allows her to cover a diverse range of topics and provide unbiased insights.

Representation as a Plus-Size Model: As a plus-size model, Nikoleta advocates for body positivity and inclusivity in the fashion and entertainment world. Her presence challenges industry norms and promotes acceptance of all body types.

Expertise in Oscar Coverage: With firsthand experience covering the Oscars since 2019, Nikoleta offers seasoned analysis and behind-the-scenes insights into Hollywood’s most prestigious event. Her coverage goes beyond red carpet fashion to explore the cultural significance of nominated films and industry trends.

Dress design by Mario and Jorge Designs; OSCAR

Follow Nikoleta Morales on Instagram @nikoletamorales

About Her

Nikoleta Morales is an award-winning entertainment journalist and publicist based in Chicago. She is also a plus-size fashion model for the House of Solana and has modeled for Model Icon Inc, Victoria Henley’s Magnifique, and Supermodels Unlimited, among other fashion shows. She immigrated from Kustendil, Bulgaria, to the US alone at the age of 15 to pursue the American Dream. Nikoleta has written for several publications in the US and abroad, such as BG Voice, Extra Newspaper, Lawndale News, The Daily Herald, FF2 Media, Noseweek (South Africa), Cultured Focus Magazine, Montana Press Monthly Newspaper, the Bulgarian National Television BNT, BTV, among others. She was the Managing Editor for Extra Newspaper from 2012-2014. Nikoleta won the 2020 Communicator of Achievement Award presented by the Illinois Women’s Press Association. She has interviewed a lot of A-list celebrities and has been invited to cover the Oscars in person since 2019.

Modeling | Photo by M.A.K Studios, Inc | OSCAR

Interview with Nikoleta Morales

What inspired you to pursue an entertainment journalism and public relations career?

Nikoleta Morales: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with watching music videos on MTV and I was a big fan of Hanson. I loved listening to the Backstreet Boys, Hanson, the Spice Girls, and Britney Spears. I was a dancer and I loved being on stage. I dreamed of meeting and talking to celebrities. I immigrated to the US from Bulgaria at the age of 15, which was the start of my American dream journey. In addition to dance, I started acting in high school and college and I combined my love for dance and acting with my other talents – writing and communication. It wasn’t until I graduated from Roosevelt University with a master’s in journalism that I was truly on the way to pursuing my passion. I fell in love with entertainment journalism and PR found me when I was working as a Managing Editor for Extra Newspaper. I decided to pursue entertainment journalism and it stuck with me, even in the toughest times.

Anne Hathaway for “Eileen” – Sundance Film Festival 2023

Can you share a memorable moment from your early days in the industry that shaped your career?

Nikoleta Morales: My first Hollywood celebrity interview was with Draco Rosa. I was excited and nervous at the same time during the interview but I loved talking with him. I discovered how easy and fun it was for me to talk with him and he loved the interview. I ended up winning a journalism award for that interview. At that moment, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – entertainment journalism. Before that, my first celebrity interview was for a Bulgarian newspaper with one of the biggest Bulgarian pop-folk stars – Azis. I was able to get an exclusive interview with him that ended up being picked up in major Bulgarian media outlets because he was comfortable sharing with me a secret that he was supposed to keep private while on tour in the US. At that moment, I knew that I had a gift for interviewing celebrities and making them feel comfortable to open up to me.

As a plus-size fashion model, how do you see the industry evolving inclusivity?

Nikoleta Morales: I see that the fashion industry is evolving slowly. I see more and more plus-size models on big runway shows and being featured on the cover of famous magazines, which makes me happy. I believe there is still a long way to go when it comes to plus-size fashion but if the industry keeps going in the same direction there is hope. I started doing plus-size because it was a niche I saw myself fit in and I love expressing my artistic self by wearing different fashions. I wanted to feel beautiful and confident in my skin and with clothes that emphasized my curvy features. I wish that more designers embrace and do plus-size fashion as there is a market and a need for that niche.

Modeling | Photo by Jigna Maniar | OSCAR

What challenges did you face as an immigrant pursuing your dreams in the US, and how did you overcome them?

Nikoleta Morales: Being an immigrant in any country is very difficult. You have to work harder, be bolder, overcome adversity, follow stricter rules, fight for your rights to be here, and constantly prove that you belong. I love Bulgaria and I miss it but there is no denying that there are far more opportunities in the US. In Bulgaria, I feel at home and surrounded by family and friends. In the US, I feel like a foreigner and more alone. Pursuing dreams in the US requires lots of chasing, hard work, energy, people who support you and help you, but most importantly a firm belief in yourself. It gets exhausting having to prove myself, my worth, and why I belong but it is part of my immigrant story. The challenges are always there and they will always be there – whether less or more. What helps me get through them is my strong faith in God, my love for my family in Bulgaria, the support of my mother and my brother, and most importantly – my love for my daughter. At the end of the day, whether you are an immigrant in the US pursuing your dreams or a human being trying to survive each day, the most important key we all need is love.

How do you balance your journalist, publicist, and fashion model roles?

Nikoleta Morales: Balancing is a skill that is learned and I am still learning it. I do entertainment journalism and PR on a freelance basis, which is why it is easier to manage. I have a full-time day job that helps me pay the bills but it doesn’t fuel my creative side. The energy I have left, I pour into my love and passion for entertainment. I do fashion shows for fun and I make time to do what I love. It recharges me and fuels my creativity. I am also a single mom with a teenage daughter so I have to make sure most of my time and energy goes to her. At the end of the day, you always find time for the things you love. If I had a wish it would be to do entertainment journalism full-time but it is a journey that I am still embarking on.

Tell us about an interview with a celebrity that left a lasting impression on you and why.

Nikoleta Morales: In all honesty, no one interview leaves a mark – they all do. With each interview, I get insight, wisdom, and information that is interesting and unique, and they are all authentic in their way. Learning about the celebrities’ journey, success, and inspiration, inspires me as a journalist and a human being. I also learn something about myself each time. A few of the interviews that made an impact and were emotional for me were with Ana Ortiz, Eva Longoria, Mike Tyson, Mark Anthony, Renée Zellweger, the Cookie Monster and Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street, Holly Holm, Rob Schneider, Chris Redd, Marlon Wayans, Van Hunt, Fluffy, among many others. Meeting the people I admire and talking to them, leaves a lasting impression that I can share with a wider audience.

What advice do you have for aspiring journalists and models, especially those from diverse backgrounds?

Nikoleta Morales: Don’t be afraid to fail and always believe in yourself because if you don’t, it is very difficult to overcome challenges. People will try to put you down, compete with you, be jealous of you and your success, and make you feel less, unworthy, and unwanted, but if you believe in yourself and your abilities and you know in your heart who you are, none of that matters. Do what you love and boldly show the world your unique, authentic self!

Reflecting on your journey, what achievements are you most proud of, and what goals do you have for the future?

Nikoleta Morales: I am very proud of myself for making it this far despite the numerous challenges and obstacles I face and have overcome daily. I am proud of not letting other people’s opinions redirect me from my true authentic self and what I want in life while standing up to negativity, jealousy, adversity, and misfortunes. I work on bettering myself as a human being, mother, journalist, and professional. Every challenge brings a reward whether that is a lesson or a skill. So I embrace challenges and the fruits they labor. There is growth that needs to be done on the journey filled with obstacles that help you get there but also rewards that make it worth taking. I am proud of being selected to cover the Oscars for five years now and following my dreams regardless of what others say or do. It is not easy to follow your dreams but I learned that to dream is to live, if you don’t you are simply existing. I am proud of the strong and wise young lady my daughter has become and how our relationship has evolved and strengthened despite the odds. My goals for the future are to continue following my passions and dreams whatever they may be, to be a present mom for my daughter and watch her grow and succeed in life, to be a good, kind, and empathetic human being, and to bring light to others in the darkness. Always be a light to others as you never know who needs it or what lives you can save by sharing your story, being empathetic, and most of all present.

Connect with Nikoleta Morales

Blog @nikoletamorales
Instagram @nikoletamorales
Facebook @nikoletamorales
LinkedIn @nikoletamorales
YouTube @ Nikoleta Morales

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Written by Mohd Imran

Founder & CEO @BIZBoost 🚀 On a Mission to Educate, Enlighten, Empower & Entertain the Social Sphere🔥Hunted @PHDelhi 👊 Introvert 👻 Snap @TheSoulfulEMU #BIZBoost

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