Originally from the Dominican Republic, Leonela grew up more of a tomboy and never really thought about modeling. It wasn't until she started watching Miss Universe and America's Next Top Model at the age of 13 that she fell in love with the modeling industry. As a petite model, Leonela has faced rejections and judgments based on her height but her modeling career has built her confidence and self esteem. She doesn’t let rejection affect her from pursuing her dreams; she still goes out and knocks on doors.
Leonela doesn’t want to be known as just a “ model” she wants to be known as a role model, someone who inspires and motivates others to go after their dreams. She wants to ensure that more diversity is being represented, no matter how the person looks like. It is our responsibility to use our voice and platforms to make a difference. She has been volunteering with the youth girls at Oasis, a safe haven for women and children she has been mentoring the girls and helping them achieve their goals set forth. She will continue to create a path for those who may need inspiration, guidance and a role model.