Photo by Norma Molina
Hi there! My name is Adriana Irizarry Hilera. I am a 32 year old married cat lady from Puerto Rico, modeling full time for the first time in my life! I have been modeling off and on since I was 18 years old, but, thanks to the support of my wonderful husband, family and agencies, I am a professional model. That’s right, I make a living and support my family modeling. Here’s how it started…
I started modeling on my beautiful island of Puerto Rico in 2000, right after I graduated High School. I was also attending college and working in a small accessory boutique. Luckily enough, I started working with an agency right away and began booking jobs (but only after my booker chopped all my hair off right there in the agency!). I had the pleasure and honor of working with local and international designers like Stella Nolasco, Luis Antonio, Harry Robles, Pipo Pere and many, many more. I shot numerous editorials, campaigns, and even represented Puerto Rico after winning the Ford Supermodel of the World model search. Saw myself on billboards, stores, catalogues and bus stops all over the island and had the chance to travel for work. It was a wonderful experience.
Three years later, I left it all behind and moved to Daytona Beach, FL. I would fly back and forth a few times a year for Fashion Week and a family visit, but did not really pursue modeling too much. In 2005, I moved to Orlando, FL where I reside happily with my wonderful husband Pete and my cat Coco today. It was actually Pete who encouraged me to find an agency here in town, and in 2007 I was signed with an agency. However, due to my job (working as a Store Manager at a sunglass boutique), I did not have the time to attend castings, last minute gigs or go-sees. I had to work to survive; so modeling had to take a back seat. In between, I switched agencies, was able to work on a few fashion shows, editorials and campaigns. I have always been very thankful and have also felt very lucky to have the opportunity to stay relevant in the industry and be able to get consistent work.
This past summer, I told my husband that I was quitting my job. Earlier last year, after months of feeling stressed and frustrated, I had switched jobs hoping that a change in my environment might make me feel better. But that little black cloud would always hang over my head. So, after lots of thought and conversation, I chose to switch my focus and my career and allow myself to pursue my passion. It was a very scary and overwhelming decision. I was to leave my full time job with a steady paycheck, health insurance for me and my husband and stability to try and work as a model. But my husband was super supportive and was behind me 100%. He simply said, “Go for it! We’ll make it work”.
Today, I am happy to say that I have been able to book enough gigs to help meet our financial responsibilities and provide for my family. I am currently trying to find representation in other markets in hopes of expanding the opportunities for work. I am certain that with hard work and dedication, I will be able to make this year a great one, be able to consistently work as a model and continue to be a happy human.
With this blog I hope to share with you my journey and give you a glimpse into my world in hopes of inspiring you with your very own.
Until next time!
Much love and light,
“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
– Thomas Jefferson