DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series Face Time explores the real lives of models. Going beyond the runways and the glossy photo shoots, we’ve scooped on-set adventures, dished about designers, and learned important lessons along the way. Interviews with Carlotta Lennox, Myles Crosby, Donny Boaz, Atti Worku, David McKay, and many more have proved that Dallas-based models are among the most fascinating and accomplished in the country.
Gloria Azurdia is no exception to the rule. With a successful modeling career in progress, she followed her passion to a degree in Culinary Arts. Believing in the power of food to bring people together and enhance health, she launched a new blog with friend and chef, Connie Mullins.
Together, the duo has already contributed to The American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking With Heart. And they’re just getting started. Read on to learn more about Gloria’s journey, plus a few words of wisdom for living in positive balance.
Name: Gloria Elisa Azurdia
Hometown: Parkchester, Bronx, New York
Agency: Kim Dawson Agency & SMG Agency
Notable Clients: Neiman Marcus, Dillard’s, Mary Kay, JCPenney, FedEx, Frito Lay, TXU, Nerium, Surface Hair, Michael’s, Albertson’s, Belk
DFW Style Daily: At what age did you begin modeling? Were you scouted or did you pursue modeling as a career?
Gloria Azurdia: “I began my modeling and commercial acting career at age 14. My oldest sister Sandra was modeling in New York City, and I basically followed in her footsteps. After begging relentlessly, my mom signed me up for the John Robert Powers Modeling School in Dallas, where I modeled in a back-to-school ad for Valley View Mall. When the ad came out, I got a call from Lisa Dawson, and soon after, I signed with the Kim Dawson Agency.”
Were you ever treated differently by your school peers, as a model at such a young age?
“I wasn’t the most popular girl in school, and I sort of just kept to myself. Only my closest friends really knew that I was modeling, and I tried not to draw attention to myself.”
Tell us about three lessons that modeling has taught you over the years.
“First, confidence is beautiful. You can be the most physically attractive person in the world, but if you don’t believe in yourself, then no one will. Second, a smile opens doors. Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile at it.
“Third, be kind to everyone that you work with or meet on set, at a casting call, or in an audition waiting room. You never know when you will cross paths with those people again. Also, timing is everything. You have to seize the moment, because time waits for no one. Always arrive 15 minutes early to a booking, audition, casting, or fitting. It is better to wait on a client, then to have them wait on you!”
Describe one of your most memorable assignments.
“My most memorable assignment is a very recent one. My sister and I have always wanted to work together, and our wish came true when JCPenney booked us for the ‘Give Cancer the Boot’ campaign, which will come out this October. Sandra is a breast cancer survivor, and one of the strongest women I know. We are so grateful for the opportunity that JCPenney has given us to spread awareness.”
In addition to your work as a model, you are also trained in Culinary Arts and Hospitality. What attracted you to the industry?
“I love that food brings people together! You may not have a single thing in common with someone, but when you start talking about food, it’s like magic. Suddenly, you start sharing stories of your most memorable meals; it brings back nostalgic moments. We eat to live, but there is so much more to it than that. There is just something amazing about being creative with food and sharing it with others.”
How do you hope to grow your career in this field?
“I aspire to continue to learn and teach others. My dream job would be to have my own show in which I travel the world, showing people about different cultures. It would be sort of a take on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, but with a healthy ‘mind, body, and soul’ twist.”
What makes your perspective on food and nutrition unique?
“When I was younger, I didn’t pay attention to what I would consume. Eventually, I decided to make a conscious effort to live a healthier lifestyle. I started substituting ingredients and converting recipes into heart-healthy, nutrient dense meals. I believe in the power of healing and disease-preventative foods. Recently, I have teamed up with my good friend, Chef Connie Mullins (pictured above) on a new blog, 2FoodFitChix, to share and bring awareness to living a balanced life.”
What is your favorite dish to cook for yourself? For company?
“When I cook for myself, pizza is my ultimate comfort food! There are so many combinations that can be created with different vegetables, cheeses, and sauces. Basically, I clean out my fridge and go to town! When I have family and friends over, it usually depends on the time of year and what is in season. I love to cook Mediterranean, Asian, and Caribbean dishes.”
Do you have a personal role model? What have you learned from her example?
“I always looked up to my Grandmother, whom I was named after. She was a seamstress in New York City, and worked with Betsey Johnson before she became a famous designer. When we lived in New York, I would spend my summers with her in the kitchen or her sewing room. She taught me the importance of respect, responsibility, family values, and to always look your best when you step outside your home.”
Finally, what is your favorite way to spend a free afternoon or evening in Dallas?
“Once a month, I meet up with my very dear friend Clesson to watch a matinee at AMC at NorthPark Center. Afterward, we have lunch, followed up with some shopping.”
All images, courtesy of Gloria Azurdia.