I met Awanda Pérez in 2013 during my first trip to Madrid, Spain. She hosted me in her fabulous flats, taking me to the most elite clubs and hottest restaurants, and allowing me to sit in on her exclusive photo shoots. It quickly became apparent that she was the best friend I hadn’t met yet—my soul family, my tribe. In addition to being a top model, blogger, sister, and friend, she’s a visionary businesswoman. Awanda is the founder and CEO of Minoire Models, the first agency to specialize in the management of ethnic models in Madrid, Spain. Awanda’s revolutionary and rapidly growing agency was established to provide "an alternative to the whitewashed world of contemporary fashion, and to fight the racism inherent in the fashion world, and Spanish society at large." Awanda took a progressive response to the issue stating that the only way forward is to initiate racial awareness is through diverse representation.’She didn’t ask or wait for a seat at the table. She built her own, and told her fellow models to pull up a seat!
On my recent trip to Madrid, I had the opportunity to sit down with her and chat about her self-care and beauty routine. See her tips below.
On her morning routine
"I check my texts and emails, and immediately do 15 minutes of meditation. I don’t always have the time, but I try to stay consistent. I can definitely see the difference on days that I start with peace as my focus."
On why she launched Minoire
"The origins come from my other project, GoNaturalSpain, and my wish to help and do something to create opportunities for black women to see their skin and hair represented in the mainstream media. We need to see and hear ourselves everywhere. Young Black women need to know this, and have the expectation that anything is possible. I started Minoire to give multicultural women the chance to appear in top campaigns and ads across the country, and it’s working. There are a lot of Black women in Spain. We are ready to work and we have an important role. We are beautiful, natural, and creative."
On her vision for Minoire and multicultural women going forward
"Minoire is powerful because it doesn’t just give us a voice in the fashion industry—it represents something much larger. It is showing Spain and the world the diversity and beauty of multicultural women. We are showing black and brown women that they are perfect as they are, beautiful as they are, and that they are safe and free to be themselves, everywhere."
On becoming the best version of Herself
"Going natural wasn’t just for my hair! It’s become a lifestyle across the board. I made the decision to go 'back to nature' in every area of my life and the changes are significant. I have also seen a change in my compassion for myself and for others. I can’t explain it, but I feel a freedom, and I’m sure others can see and feel it as well."
On what she’s currently reading
"The Magic of Forgiveness. It is really important to forgive others and yourself always, in all ways."
On how she’s spending her days social distancing
"I keep myself positive and relaxed. I dance a lot, sleep a lot, and gently focus on my future goals and vision for Minoire. I don’t have all of the answers, and a road ahead isn’t entirely clear yet, but I can feel love. I see love in every single thing because I can still live and I have my family here. I am very thankful for everything. Times like this make me see that real happiness is so simple—you don’t need much! I’ve caught up on my favorite TV shows, I’ve read books that I’ve wanted to get to for awhile, and I’ve been able to catch some classic films (my other passion aside from fashion). I enjoy all things creative! I’ve been practicing keeping my mind focused on this moment and not feeling guilty in moments where I’m seemingly doing nothing. Sometimes, those are the most important moments."
On what’s next
"Well, infinity and beyond! We are the first black and multicultural modeling agency in Spain, but I’d like Minoire to be the first international modeling agency for black women! I have so many ideas—to include a magazine, and other top secret ideas. Right now, as we build, it would be important to have a like-minded brand support us."
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