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Michael Slezak

A beautiful
role model

The last few years have been a true fairy tale for Isamar Gonzalez. At one moment she was just another girl in a tough city neighbourhood. The next she was an internationally-known fashion model. Good looks, good luck and lots of determination have helped her become a success.

”When I was growing up, I never dreamed my life would really be like this,” says the 20-year-old Gonzalez. ”Being a model is exciting. I meet new people every day. And I get to travel all over the world - from Hawaii to Paris to Italy to South Africa.”

Gonzalez was born in Puerto Rico. When she was four, she moved with her family to the South Bronx in New York City. ”I grew up in a rough area,” she says. Her mother taught her how to survive in the city. ”My mom is a strong woman. She’s a tough cookie. I am the same way,” Gonzalez says.

At 16, Gonzalez moved to South Beach, in Miami, Florida. She was working at the beach when a woman from a modelling agency discovered her. Soon after, Gonzalez got a job in a TV commercial for Sassoon jeans. ”They paid me $1,000,” she says. ”I was pretty excited at the time, since I had never seen that much money.”

Since then, her career has taken off. She’s worked for some of the top designers at fashion shows, and she’s been photographed for many advertisements and magazine fashion spreads.

Last year, Gonzalez returned to Puerto Rico for the first time in 10 years. There, she saw her father and grandmother. ”Nobody could believe how much I’ve grown up. It was exciting to see all of my family - my cousins and aunts and uncles.”

Gonzalez says she might like to become a singer in the future. She would also like to have children.

She recently rented ”a little house on a hill” in Los Angeles. In her free time, Gonzalez enjoys gardening and roller-blading.

”The fashion world is hard. Sometimes you forget who you are,” she says. ”It’s important to keep your own life. It’s important to have a home you love where you can get away. And it’s important to have your family to turn to, and to always be honest with yourself.”


fairy tale: cuento de hadas
tough: agobiante
growing up: creciendo
rough area
: zona de ambiente arrabalero
to survive: sobrevivir
tough cookie:
persona fuerte que no se rinde
since then
: desde entonces

taken off: despegado
spreads: artículos a dos columnas
might like
: podría interesarle
rented: alquiló
roller-blading: patinaje en línea
hard: difícil
get away: escaparse