As her career shifts into overdrive, Elite Miami model Ariadna Gutierrez talks fashion, forgiveness and fate.
We’ll get to the iconic beauty happening on the cover and in these pages in a moment. But first, Steve Harvey. It was not Ariadna Gutiérrez’s dream to receive the shock of her life on live television, in front of her friends and family, and 6 million other broadcast viewers. Nope. Her dream since she was a little girl in Barranquilla, Colombia, was to be Miss Universe. But it would be a disservice to the Ariadna-makes-it-big story to not resurface the fateful night in 2015 that launched a thousand memes. Because, in her words, “I believe in destiny.” On that stage in Las Vegas when the frazzled host announced that he had made a huge mistake and the Miss Universe crown was lifted off her head, everything crystallized for Gutiérrez. “My values, the way I was raised, the way I was taught to have respect and grace in tough situations—all of that came together.”
We are sitting in the Ocean Drive offices on a sunny October afternoon and Gutiérrez—in a mesh I.AM.GIA jumpsuit, Chanel belt and white trainers—is a ray of positivity. She’s fresh off a plane from Puerto Rico and giddy about the prospect of being painted head to toe with glitter the next day at her cover shoot. “I love beauty; I love the expression of an editorial and creating experiences,” she says. Then pointing out an image on the mood board for the shoot, “This is a Pat McGrath look! I looooove!” The first thing I learn about Gutiérrez is that before she was on the pageant circuit, she was already a very, very successful model in Colombia. “Everyone thought that I was crazy to want to do pageants,” she recalls. “I was the best model at that time, I was doing all the campaigns, I was getting paid the highest.” So why then? “Because I knew I was going to win.”
When you became Miss Colombia, was it all you hoped that it would be?
In South America it’s the president and then it’s the Miss. Miss Colombia is a huge role. And my duty as Miss Colombia was to bring happiness. People say, ‘Oh, pageants are so cheesy and silly and fake.’ But I’m like, we don’t need more war or more millionaires. We don’t need more people on social media. We need something that brings us joy, that brings us love. Something that is an expression of love. And that was my duty as Miss Colombia: bringing joy and spreading the love message.
Looking back, can you see a silver lining in what happened at the Miss Universe pageant?
The first day when I got to Vegas, I remember seeing all the girls and the production team, the IMG people—and I knew I was going to win. You know when you feel something is meant to be for you? I had worked my ass off. My preparation as Miss Colombia, I was ready for it. This was my destiny. So after everything happened—I wanted to die. I had depression and all the bad things I can imagine. And then I was like, 'You know what? This is not going to break me.' So it took time, but yes, I do see the silver lining.
It almost seems like it made you stronger. What did you learn from the experience?
Self-confidence and self-love. I don’t remember anyone teaching me about self-love and self-confidence. People don’t teach you that. I think the thing that people should learn the most is self-love, because when you have love for yourself, you have love for your neighbor, you have love for the people around you. When you feel love inside of you, you don’t feel angry. All the craziness that is happening around the world would never happen if people learned more from love.
I believe in the power of thoughts and I think that thoughts create your future. If you think negative things, you are going to create a negative future for yourself. But if you think positive, you are going to attract everything you ever dreamed of.
How do you maintain that level of gratitude on a day-to-day basis?
Positive affirmations is something that I do every single day. I like to meditate too. I do a lot of exercise. I get in Zen mode every time I exercise. But it’s like Zen-beast mode because I do it hard. And I like to connect with nature whenever I have the opportunity. Get out of the house, walk. Miami is a city where we are always in the office or in the car. You need to walk more. You walk, you see people, you look at the trees and connect with the universe. We are connected to the universe, and we don’t really know how powerful it is.
Where do you feel most connected to nature?
Thailand. My father passed away from cancer. He was my best friend; he was in charge of my life, my business, everything. When he passed away, I went through a spiritual connection with myself that I never had before. That is when I was born. Before that I was doing my thing, and it was very mechanic. And after that my life changed. I got the chance to go to Thailand, and that is where I really learned the meaning of life. The secret of life. The people are so nice; they believe in karma; they meditate; they are full of love. And it’s like you see it in the community. It’s so peaceful and calm, and they respect each other and they respect you. We need more of that.
I can’t reveal it yet because I am working on it, but I am going to start my own brand. It is going to hopefully come out next year. I am a very pro-environment person, so it’s going to be related to that and have fashion, too, and inclusivity and women’s empowerment.
So a new platform for spreading the love.
Yes, always spreading the message of love.
The model answers our rapid-fire question.
Dress, stylist’s own
TV show you binge watched?
I don’t watch TV.
Last movie that made you cry?
Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love.
I can do makeup very, very well.
What stresses you out?
These days, nothing.
What were you doing yesterday?
I was in Puerto Rico enjoying life.
Emoji you most commonly use?
First thing you thought when your alarm went off this morning?
I am grateful for being alive and happy to be doing this interview for this cover.
Weirdest app on your phone?
Co-Star. You put the time you were born and the day of your birth and it tells you crazy things about your life. It’s accurate AF.
Caraline bodysuit, $482, by Nonchalant Label at Frankie Miami.
Most romantic place in Miami?
What would your Uber Eats history tell us?
That I’m vegan.
I have someone post for me and don’t look at other people’s lives.
Photography by: Photographed by RIOCAM; Styled by Danny Santiage; Film by Anton Kirindongo and John Haller; Makeup by Daniela Gozlan
using Lemonhead.LA assisted by Reynela Rios; Hair by Danny Jelaca/Danny Jelaca Salon for Imaj Artists; Shot on location at
One Thousand Museum, 1000museum.com