On November 9, 2013, Gabriela Isler made history when she was named Miss Universe, becoming the seventh woman from Venezuela to bring home the crown.
Representing a country with such an impressive Miss Universe track record can be a source of added pressure for Venezuelan beauties competing for the ultimate title. But for 25-year-old Gabriela wearing the Venezuela sash was a great honor allowing her to compete with confidence and pride onstage. Venezuela is known for intensive training programs for its beauty queens. Gabriela credits her age and life experiences for giving her the ability to make her own decisions on how she wanted to present herself at the pageant, even at times when she was given instructions from her Venezuelan director. One request of pageant coaches to which she did acquiesce, was to wear only high heels during her three weeks on location in Russia.
Surprisingly, prior to winning the Miss Venezuela title, Gabriela – a stunning beauty at nearly six feet tall – never saw herself having a career in front of the camera. Rather, she was focused on her studies and graduated from the private institution, UNITEC with a degree in marketing and business administration and eventually plans to open her own business after getting her MBA. While going to school, Gabriela was introduced to the modeling world unexpectedly when a scout spotted her unique features which she attributes to her father who is Swiss and German.
Modeling led to Miss Universe Venezuela “and the rest,” as they say, “is history.”
Gabriela is embracing the whirlwind her life has become since becoming Miss Universe. Just after winning the crown, she was whisked away to a luxury apartment in New York City, which serves as her home base while she travels the globe on behalf of the Miss Universe Organization. The most difficult part about making the transition to New York…winter. Gabriela, who has been home to Venezuela only once briefly over the holidays, has had to make the adjustment to one of the coldest winters on record in New York. “The weather in Venezuela is always perfect and doesn’t change too much,” she says, “I didn’t have the proper coat when I got here and walking in snow has been a learning experience.” Warm coats quickly arrived (one of the many perks Miss Universe receives is a personal stylist) and Gabriela was immediately recognized for her fashion statements in the press and was named Best Dressed when she presented at the Latin Grammy Awards earlier this year in Las Vegas.
Gabriela is a self-described “compulsive planner” and has found adjusting to an ever-changing schedule to be a bit of a challenge. “I am used to making my own schedule and I know my own calendar very far in advance. It is sometimes difficult to board a plane for a two week trip and not know what I will be doing every day but I think this experience will make me more flexible in the future.” Gabriela loves to travel and is enjoying her new home in New York. She plans to enjoy every moment of the year. “I know it will go by very quickly and I need to make the most of every opportunity,” she adds. “I miss my family very much but they are all very proud of me and very supportive.”
Family is what Gabriela says is the most important part of her life. She credits her mother, Emperatriz, for the strong values she learned growing up. Throughout her childhood, Gabriela was surrounded by a large extended family but had to move away from them following her parent’s divorce. After the move, she lived with her mother, grandmother and older sister, a trio of independent women who impacted her life greatly and forced her to grow up quickly. Gabriela worked hard to support herself through college and took an active role in helping her sister Karen raise her daughter.
Gabriela will use her title to bring attention to important issues around the world especially those that involve women and children. She looks forward to traveling the globe, experiencing new cultures and languages, and perfecting her English while living in New York City. During her spare time, Gabriela enjoys baking and watching movies. As Miss Universe, Gabriela will serve as a spokesperson for HIV/AIDS awareness and will work closely with organizations such as God’s Love We Deliver, Latino AIDS Commission and Aid for AIDS, among others.