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EXCLUSIVE: Get To Know Filipino-Italian Model Ambra Gutierrez

The former Ms. Italy contestant, newly minted Victoria’s Secret model, Time Magazine Person of the Year, and women’s rights advocate talks about swapping her hard hat for modelling, her strong Filipino mom, and some difficult life lessons. 

 

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Ambra Gutierrez Talks About Harvey Weinstein, The Scandal That Rocked Hollywood, And The Price Of Speaking The Truth

 

On Ambra: Sports bra by Versus, pants by Tibi, and coat by MM6

 

 

On growing up
Ambra is a beautiful name aptly given to a beautiful woman. The Filipino-Italian model shares that she was named after Ambra Angiolini, one of Italy’s biggest stars. “She was always on TV, was seen practically everywhere. My mom really liked her a lot because she was such a talented singer and actress. So my mom thought I was her little Ambra and gave me that name.” 

Raised by a mother who enjoyed pampering herself with manicures, Ambra grew up very feminine. “Since I was a kid, my mom was always enjoying manicures, stuff like that. It was all very girly. I did my nails, makeup, hair. When I was around fourteen or so, my classmates and friends would tell me that I’d become a makeup artist or a hair stylist. But while I enjoyed those things, I also liked a challenge.” 

This prompted her to pursue a course at the Guarino Guarini Institute in Turin where she studied to become a chartered surveyor, a profession usually chosen by men. “At that time, I told myself, I’ll choose what’s most difficult to do and excel in it. And I did. My school had predominantly male students. We were just two girls in my class. It was fun. And it’s amazing that I was able to do it and that I actually did well in school, in all my classes.” 

But fate had other plans and whisked Ambra away from a career in building and construction. “When I was 19, after my graduation, I decided to move to Milan and stay with my Filipino aunt who lived there. On the day I went around to check for modelling agencies, one of the bookers of Elite stopped me on the street and said, 'Hi, are you a model?' So I thought, maybe I’m really meant to be a model. I got signed and suddenly, I was working on fittings for brands like Armani Jeans. It was surreal.”

 

On Ambra: Top and skirt by by Versus Versace

 

 

On her strong and supportive mom

Before her modelling career took flight, Ambra spent most of her life in Turin, Italy. “My mom’s from Calamba, Laguna. She was a single mom. I grew up only with her and my brother. She surrounded us with a Filipino community. We were always in church.”

She also adds that theirs wasn’t an easy life. Before her father left to build a new family, Ambra says their home life was tumultuous. “Growing up, he wasn’t exactly the type of father that I wished I had. Unfortunately, at that time, he abused drugs and alcohol. He was violent with my mom. When I’d try to stop fights, I remember like, I was ten or eleven, I was also getting hit, so I grew up knowing it was a hard life out there. But at the same time, I never gave up because I know there are some other beautiful things.”

She says that she’s very grateful for having a brother and a strong mother. “My mom taught me to be strong. That God will help you go through anything. She also helped me realize that I can learn something from any situation and I can always rise above any difficulty. She lived a sort of life that wasn’t always happy. Seeing how she was able to live a happy life, to surpass all hardships really inspired me. I grew up with a lot of strength, coming from her.” 

 

On Ambra: Dress by MM6

 

 

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