Patricia Velasquez, dubbed the first Latina supermodel, has walked runways for Chanel, Gucci, Carolina Herrera and posed for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. She also has appeared in numerous movies and television shows like “The Mummy” and “Ugly Betty.” Now the 44-year-old Venezuelan born model has penned a book. Called “Straight Walk: A Supermodel’s Journey to Finding Her Truth,” the book details her coming out as a lesbian and the struggles that surrounded that. Velasquez, who has an eight-year-old daughter, spoke to FOX411 about her book.
FOX411: Why come out now?
Patricia Velasquez: I decided to do it a few years ago but it took me a little time to write it. I have a daughter and it made me realize I have to set an example for her. I needed to make sure my daughter knew how to overcome adversity and always felt proud of who she was and be aware of other people and that’s really where it all started. Then it became a wave when I talked about it everyone around me was saying, ‘Thank you you’re helping me, that’s amazing. You have to write. There hasn’t really been any other Latina girls from entertainment who have come out and you’re going to help people.’ So now it has become my cause now, trying to inspire people to live their truth and go out and fight for what they love.
FOX411: You write that you were terrified to tell your family.
Velasquez: I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed to because my life was so far away, communications weren’t what they are now. Living in Europe and then the U.S, it was far. Cell phones were just starting and the internet. It was not as easy to communicate and find things out. In a way I lived my life openly but there were world that were very different. I had to experiment that feeling of hiding only when I went back to my country or when my famly would come visit me. As years went by and I started getting older and I entered a relationship in London and we started reflecting on our lives and she decided to tell her family. I think I was always afraid. I wasn’t afraid that they would be mad, I was afraid that I was going to hurt them. In the fear of thinking that I was going to hurt them I thought I was kind of protecting them from pain when in reality I was not allowing them to live their path and of course me not living my path.
FOX411: Your brother had the biggest problem.
Velasquez: I talked to him about this last year. I asked him, ‘Fernando why did you get so mad for so long?’ And he said, ‘I was in so much pain because I knew life was going to be so much harder for you.’ Of course he came back around, same with my Dad. It’s not so great for other people. I was lucky. I struggled with it for many years, I was lucky. Many people don’t have that choice and don’t the type of family who are going to be so welcoming. There is a big percentage of suicide in the U.S. from gay teens and it’s something we have to keep addressing. I have a foundation and now it feels really personal, we can help inspire. There aren’t any other Latina women that have come out in my world and now it’s kind of a responsibility that I have.
FOX411: You write that you didn’t have crushes on girls growing up.
Velasquez: Yeah I didn’t. You don’t know something till you experience it.
FOX411: Sandra Bernhard was your first kiss with a woman. What would have happened if she hadn’t kissed you?
Velasquez: It probably would have been somebody else later. I think I’ve always had very strong feelings for women but in general I have very strong feelings for friendship. I live for my friends. Maybe in my head I was confusing that feeling. I did feel other things. I just didn’t know exactly what they were. And it took a strong wonderful person for me to then understand and then I struggled with it. I did go out with other guys but then I realized it was more of a feeling of home. Like I felt when I started with women that this is home. It felt natural. Now I can tell you I’m very gay.
FOX411: She was your first love and heartbreak.
Velasquez: I have nothing but admiration and thankfulness towards Sandra because she taught me so much. She gave me so much. When we broke up, yeah my heart was broken, she was my first love. It took me a long time to get over it. I knew it was something that had to be done but still it took me a long time to get over it. But it made me stronger for sure.