XIOX MAGAZINE Volume 2 Issue 10 - Page 60

P atricia Velasquez was born in Guajira, Venezuela on January 31, 1971, the fifth of six children. She was raised by her parents, both of whom were educators, in a third world country. Needless to say, Patricia’s life was far from luxurious. She attended San Vicente de Paul High School, and after her graduation in 1987, headed for college to study engineering and accounting. Although she was being raised to go into the Venezuelan oil industry (which is basically the only choice for Native American children from Venezuela), a chance event led her to switch plans. A friend of hers wanted to become a model, and one of the pictures she sent to a casting call in Caracas includ- ed Patricia. As fate would have it, the agency wanted exotic Patricia. After a year of college studies, she left for Milan in pursuit of a modeling career. In 1998, she strutted down catwalks in ready-to-wear fashion shows for design- ers such as Antonio Berardi, Bella Freud, Corinne Cobson, Claude Montana and Dolce & Gabana, to name a few. As for print, Patricia appeared in ads for Chanel’s Allure, Roberto Verino’s Verino fragrance, as well as Victoria’s Secret. She even donned swimsuits for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition in 1994 at the age of 23. She has participated in the mother of all beauty pag- eants, the Miss Venezuela pageant, and can be seen in such movies as The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Patricia has tried and succeeded in branching out from the stereotype of a model. Besides, she has more noble reasons for her very full schedule. She grew up in a very poor family in Guajira, and promised herself that she would get her family out of that situation. After her first few modeling gigs, she bought her family a new home, made sure her 3 brothers received a college education, and still sup- ports causes such as the advancement of Hispanics, fair treatment of indige- nous peoples, and the fight against pediatric AIDS. She also launched a foun- dation to help Venezuelans. White Dress: Mario Delatorre Beaded Earrings: Terri Lavallee