Often times, what we know about models is truly only skin deep. But that’s no longer the case with Patricia Velasquez, the 44–year-old stunner who’s strutted the runway for Chanel, Gucci and Carolina Herrera and posed for Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret. Thanks to her new memoir, Straight Walk: A Supermodel’s Journey to Finding Her Truth, Velasquez’s life—from a poor childhood in Venezuela to extravagance, fame and fortune—is, quite literally, an open book.
What’s most shocking about the former catwalk queen’s revelations, however, is that she almost didn’t write them down. “I started telling these stories to some of my friends and the response was the same: You need to write a book, Patricia, you need to use your story to inspire others,” she tells DuJour. “It took a while, but I thought to myself, I have to do this.”
Straight Walk follows Velasquez from her early days as a beauty pageant runner-up to life as young model in Paris and her work on-screen in movies, including a role in The Mummy and a stint as a music video star. The book manages to draw back the curtain on the glamorous life Velasquez was living, but it doesn’t spare the gory details of the dark side of the business. “It’s very difficult to talk about your past,” she says, “and to face things it wasn’t very pleasant to live through.”
Looking at her experience on the whole, she says, was the most gratifying part of penning her memoir.
“I definitely hope to inspire others to live that truth, whatever that truth might be,” she says. “We can all overcome hardship. We are not alone. We all have struggles, it doesn’t matter what situation you’re in. We’re people, we all have universal feelings of pain and loneliness.”