EXCLUSIVE: Ambra Gutierrez Talks About Harvey Weinstein, The Scandal That Rocked Hollywood, And The Price Of Speaking The Truth
In 2015, Ambra Gutierrez wore a wire for the NYPD. She had just filed a sexual assault report against Harvey Weinstein. The then 22-year-old model cooperated with the police, obtained an audio recording of Weinstein admitting to the offense, but for some reason, no charges were pressed against one of Hollywood's biggest moguls.
While the allegations disappeared and died down into whispers, Gutierrez's reputation and career took a nosedive. High-profile designers dropped her from their projects. Colleagues excluded her. No one believed her. She became a pariah.
And as if things couldn’t get any worse, several tabloid articles emerged, all trying to discredit Gutierrez. Some of the most unforgiving stories called her a blackmailing opportunist who wanted a movie role: It was a full-on smear campaign. “It was very difficult,” Gutierrez recalls. “I felt like I was going crazy. I thought I would lose everything.” During this time, the model suffered from an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression.
This was three years before Gutierrez’s NYPD wire recording resurfaced, thanks to an expose by The New Yorker. The #MeToo movement gained momentum and soon after the recording’s release, a handcuffed Weinstein would be all over the news. Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars—Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Eva Green, and Cara Delevingne, just to name a few—came forward with their stories, implicating one of the movie industry’s most powerful and influential men. Gutierrez felt vindicated, saying, “Things changed for me after that. It was like getting back the three years I have lost.”
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Getting back on track
There’s a glow about Gutierrez these days. She’s evidently happier, more at peace. “This year, I changed in a way that I am freer. I feel free. [Back then], I couldn’t do so many things that were in my mind. I felt stuck in so many ways. Now, I’m more relaxed. I’m more confident that I can achieve all my goals.”
From a harrowing spiral downspin, Gutierrez is now poised for a career renaissance. Earlier this year, she booked a shoot with Victoria’s Secret, one of her dream projects. She is now one of three Filipinas representing the iconic lingerie brand. She told Metro.Style, “I didn’t hear [from Victoria’s Secret] for two months. I was beginning to think that it would never happen because of the situation I was in. I even thought it was impossible. So when I finally got the news from my agency, I was so happy! I had just arrived in Italy when I was told, but I didn’t hesitate and went back to NY. I was so jetlagged, but so happy. It was a dream come true. It was amazing.”
She also shares that apart from landing a gig with Victoria’s Secret, she would like to be a part of a perfume campaign. “There are some really beautiful perfume ads and they shoot in those beautiful places like forests. I’d like to be able to visit those places,” she shares.
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Telling her story
While Gutierrez is ready to take on the fashion world, she emphasizes the value of having the conversation about sexual harassment and assault. She is taking control of her narrative in hopes of helping those who have struggled with similar experiences. Just this year, she launched a new podcast, “In Our Words,” which focuses on stories of strength, courage, and survival.
“I want [listeners] to know that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to help,” she says. “If we don’t have this conversation, bad people will keep on doing wrong and that’s something we should not allow. If we don’t speak, we end up giving them power. If you don’t speak out, one day, it may be your daughter, your son, or your sister. You’re going to regret that you didn’t talk about it when you had the chance.”
Aside from hosting "In Our Words,” Gutierrez is making good use of her story. She is currently part of Model Alliance, an organization that promotes "fair treatment, equal opportunity, and sustainable practices in the fashion industry, from the runway to the factory floor.”
In Manila, Gutierrez works with Humanility, an organization committed to helping women and at-risk children. The non-profit organization is known for rescuing, educating, and rehabilitating victims of abuse and human trafficking. Realizing the power of her story and using it to help empower others is something this Filipino-Italian model will continue to do. “I have the media attention right now that gives me a voice, which I am super grateful for and I’ll try to do my best [to share my story] with the tools that I have.”
Watch out for more features on Ambra on Metro and Metro.Style.
Photography by Dix Perez
Produced and styled by Randz Manucom
Makeup by Xeng Zulueta
Hairstyling by Mong Amado
Fashion assistant: Carmen Zeta