By: Maria Espinal
Born Patricia Carola Velásquez Semprún on 31 January
1971 in Zulia, Venezuela, this beautiful international supermodel,
film director, award-winning activist, actress
and entrepreneur now can add author to her many phases.
If she looks familiar to you, Patricia was one of the
first Latina fashion models in the late 1990s to grace the
runways for top haute couture design houses. You might
have seen her in one of The Mummy films, or perhaps on Uggly Betty, The L Word or Celebrity Apprentice.
On February 10th her book, Straight Walk: A Supermodel’s
Journey to Finding her Truth, was released. Hard to
put down at times, in her memoir Patricia will take you
through her struggles growing up in poverty in Venezuela;
how her relationship with Sandra Bernhard made her realize
she was and is a lesbian; her previous relationship;
her daughter Maya and why now is the right time for her
Let’s start with the most obvious question.
Why is this the right time for you to publicly
come out, even though it was known before?
It’s very difficult to face your past and talk about things
that weren’t pleasant. I think I put off doing anything like
writing a book or being public about my life for a long
time. I have done work with the children of the Wayuutaya
Foundation, teaching them to be proud and honest.
I thought it was time to set an example for them. That
meant admitting my truth. Writing the book—that was
a part of that journey. I often told stories here and there
to friends or people I met. The response was always the
same: you need to write something and inspire others. It
took a while to muster up the strength, but the children
inspired me to finally do it.
Have you felt at times that our community “expects”
that celebrities, who we know are gay,
make their sexuality public? Did you ever feel
that pressure before?
I can understand how our community expects us celebrities
to make our lifestyle public. I have not necessarily felt the pressure to speak publicly about myself. I think
that is a very internal and personal process. If
my coming out now helps someone else, then
that means I have done this correctly.
Having said that, it seems to make a
difference in the way society sees
our community when a celebrity or
anyone in the public eye comes out.
How do you experience that as a member
of the LGBT community?
It’s human nature to have icons in any culture,
gender or sexuality. If my coming out can inspire
others, then I am super happy.
There is a sentence in the epilogue
that caught my attention and made
me stop to really think: “Time moves
too quickly to save something for
later.” How have you applied that to
the different stages in your life?
The sentence is applied to things that matter
from the heart to things that have to do with
setting examples. When I said that, I was referring
to the time when we have to actually
make a difference in the world. That’s how I
meant it. When we are young, we think we
have all the time in the world. Now, as I am
growing older, I feel I need to set an example...
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