Patricia Velasquez is the star of the new Wolfe Video film “Liz in September,” and this is an exclusive edited excerpt from her 2015 autobiography “Straight Walk: A Supermodel’s Journey to Finding Her Truth.”
I learned from my mistakes over the years, overcame a lot of anguish, kicked down many doors, but ultimately it was my truth that set me free. My life feels authentic and unburdened now. My openness became my true joy and gave me a second chance to find peace, love, and real freedom, and it gave me the opportunity to spread it around to those I love.
People have asked me: Why now? Why keep my sexuality a secret from the public all those years and then suddenly feel the urge to tell the world? The fashion world, which is all about being fresh and unique and creative, was of course very open and accepting of the gay community even decades ago, but the irony of being an international beauty and symbol of femininity has never been lost on me. Once I started acting, I remained quiet to protect my craft. There was Celebrity Apprentice too, and we all know how much Donald Trump loves a pretty woman. Hollywood actors and actresses have a right to share to whatever extent they choose. They have to portray many different faces in a career, and sometimes that means not letting the public in on much about them, which is a challenge for superstars. I respect those who keep it to themselves and urge them to continue if they need to.
Revealing my secret to my inner circle unexpectedly changed something else within me. Before I came out, I used to hide my sexiness unless I was being paid to flaunt it. I felt ashamed of it and confused by it, maybe because I was living a lie. My sexy side was only for hire as a model. This notion made it feel ugly to me, and I worked hard to cover it up whenever possible. Looking back, it was an effort to prove to the other side of my world that I was, in fact, gay. But once I told the truth and had nothing to prove to anyone, I unleashed an ability to own my looks and own my beauty. Once I was honest about being gay, I was honest about enjoying being sexy. I was able to accept that everyone who was gay didn’t also have to maintain a masculine status, though at times there’s a big, butch dyke in me, not just a lipstick lesbian. Now we can embrace our feminine and masculine side, and that’s okay. Gay women are beautiful, so with nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, I felt free just to be. I love men for their ability to be honest with their desires.
Knowing that, now I allow myself to enjoy my femininity as well. Heels and skirts are no longer for work only. The truth gave me choice. The truth unlocked confidence.
It’s important to start a dialogue between women everywhere in every culture—gay or straight—that encourages them to be open and empowered. I urge women of all cultures, not just Latin ones: Be seen. Be heard . Speaking up heals not only the person doing the talking, but also the person doing the listening. I feel hiding secrets hurts, not helps, and that sometimes trying to shield other people from the pain of the truth is a huge disservice to them. Truth frees people to experience their journey and process. I want to at least start a dialogue about being Latina and gay. The tide is changing. It’s time to take action, specifically in the Latin communities, which have long avoided the topic.
There are many reasons I wrote this book, but primarily I wrote it for my daughter, Maya. I want Maya to be free to be who she wants to be and to live in a world free of prejudice and bias. If I can stand up and tell the world a secret I held for so long, and felt so much shame over for so many years, maybe that will give her the strength to live an honest, authentic life as well. I want my daughter to be truthful to her nature and to take pride in everything she does and is. It doesn’t matter if someone is standing up to say they’re gay or not; it boils down to being proud of whatever we do in our lives.
“Liz in September” debuts nationwide on 11/3 via Wolfe Video. Look for it on DVD at fine retailers everywhere and on VOD exclusively from Wolfe On Demand and Vimeo On Demand; the release expands on 12/1 across additional digital and VOD platforms including iTunes, Amazon and others.
Check out the trailer below: