Initially, New York-based Filipina model Sharina Gutierrez’s beauty may seem intimidating to most. After all, you might have seen the 28-year-old flaunt her modeling prowess in international publications and campaigns. But as you start to interact with her, taking in details such as the multicolored crystal bracelets stacked on her arms and her easygoing manner of speaking, one is immediately drawn into the conversation. Clearly, this is someone who has grown to be wise beyond her years.
Top by KELVIN MORALES and pants by JAZ CEREZO
Where is home? This was the very question that started what Gutierrez calls her spiritual journey. She shares that through meditation, one thing led to another, and she decided that she had to go back to her roots in the Philippines.
“Almost my whole life, I’ve been in the United States. When it came to my career, I would always go up against the job of the American girl next door—light complexion, blonde hair, light-colored eyes. While I love my Filipino look now, it was a struggle back then when I was younger since I was always comparing myself to others. I wanted to understand more about my roots so that led me here, to this conversation with you,” she says with a smile.
Fringed jumpsuit and fringed jacket by ROB ORTEGA. Green draped gown by RAJO LAUREL
On the ever-changing fashion industry
“I’ve learned that the industry is like a chameleon; it changes just as much as you change as a person,” shares Gutierrez when asked about what she has learned since working in the industry. The beauty shares that compared to the time when she first started modeling at the tender age of 12, there have been changes in the industry, both good and not so good.
“You’re in competition with people who have millions of followers,” she starts. “There have been times when models have been booked for their following, rather than their ability to represent a brand because of who they are. Some brands tend to lean towards things like that for free advertising.” Gutierrez shares that while she used to feel a little competitive about this when she first started, she soon realized that to her at least, it didn’t matter. “I stepped into social media after I had my son. I wanted to catch up to that at first and adjust to what people wanted, but now, I just want to be my own person. Who I am may not appeal to everybody, but I want others to know that they can do the same rather than conform,” she says.
Fringe and crystal embellished gown with shoulder detail by ROSENTHAL TEE. Tulle and corset gown by ANTHONY RAMIREZ
Mind over matter
While staying true to herself is definitely paying off, Gutierrez admits that she wasn’t always as wise, saying, “My first ever shoot at 12 was for Vogue. I look back now and realize that these were things I never really talked about when I was younger, for fear of being made fun of. I should’ve been proud of what I did.” She wants to share to aspiring models that being stronger is something you learn in the process. “I want to share to young people that if one person says no, it doesn’t mean everybody will. Don’t focus on what is in front of you because when you turn around, there are three more doors behind you,” she says.
Gutierrez gives another example of why one should simply embrace their confidence, telling us about a recent campaign she booked with Reebok. “At the set, I was waiting for other girls to get there. When I asked where they were, they told me that this day was going to be all about me. They added that the entire campaign would be featuring me and the likes of Ariana Grande, Gigi Hadid and Rae Sremmurd. I was in shock. It took a while to process the fact that I was at a level to be exposed with them. I always saw myself as under these people,” she shares, adding that another piece of advice she would like to there is that life is too short for one to be thinking poorly of themselves.
“I feel like my biggest accomplishment in my career is what is happening right now. This mindset makes it feel like a new beginning for me,” she adds.
Blazer with piping details by JAZ CEREZO. Sequined bustier, feathered belt, and pencil skirt, all by CHRIS DIAZ
A balancing act
Balancing a career and being a mother to a six-year-old doesn’t sound easy, but Gutierrez seems to do it with a natural ease, enjoying the day-to-day flow of things. “It just goes hand in hand,” she says, smiling. “In addition to modeling, I homeschool my son, I’m an entrepreneur and help find investors for start-up companies, I’ve also produced a music video for Tyga… I’m always doing something different and I find that to be the beauty in my life.”
Gutierrez continues to talk about her son, who is having the time of his life at Kidzania in BGC as we speak. “I’m just focused on giving him a life full of purpose. When it comes to balancing my life, my career and being a mom, it’s the reason you’re doing these things that ties it all together. They have to coincide or it’s not going to flow,” she says. “In return, my son gives me purpose. He is my teacher as well, you know.”
Fringe and crystal embellished gown with shoulder detail by ROSENTHAL TEE, Red fleece jacket by BERSHKA. Fringe jumpsuit and fringe jacket by ROB ORTEGA
Since arriving in the Philippines, Gutierrez has gotten a lot busier, balancing shoots and working on her advocacy with the Department of Tourism. “I really want to give back to this community and eventually open a non-profit organization here. I plan to sit with indigenous tribes and bring awareness to their dying art. I want to at least attempt to bring it back to life.”
Essentially, the model wants to create a community where people can grow and truly be themselves. “Whether it is modeling I’m talking about or being a mom or an entrepreneur, I just want to help others find themselves,” she starts. “My goal is simple. I just want to give love and connect with others to we can help each other grow.”