Born as Maria Gabriela de Jesus Isler Morales, the former Miss Universe (2013) is more than just a beauty icon. She is a force to be reckoned with in the self-empowerment space. Her sole goal is to help others live fuller, healthier and happier lives.
In a world that often doesn’t provide opportunities for young men and women living in poor circumstances; Gabriela found her way up and out of her often difficult life, taking advantage of the unique opportunities she was presented with to build a strong foundation for her passion—inspiring others like her. Through her work, she cemented a place in the world from where she can draw attention to global issues impacting the lives of women and children all over the world.
“I Want to be an Agent of Change, Inspiration, Guidance & Empowerment”
The impetus for her desire to promote change began during her reign as Miss Universe. As part of her duties, she earned the opportunity to travel to remote areas around the globe. One such place changed her life. In 2013, the world bore witness to the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. For Gabriela, the social, economic, and personal devastation she witnessed left a lasting impression on her. She decided then and there to be an agent for good. Soon after that, she helped to create the Miss Universe Cordaid Fund. Eventually, she was even recognized by the Vatican and blessed by Pope Francis for her humanitarian work.
Since then, Gabriela Isler was named the spokesperson for the prevention of HIV/AIDS by the Latino Commission on AIDS and actively participates in the United States Capital with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. This foundation supports research, education, and prevention of the disease.
Gabriela is also a champion of the prevention of modern day slavery: human trafficking, across the globe. This, in her opinion, is one of the worst major crimes in existence against humanity. Today, she is a signatory to the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery and is the Global Ambassador for Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), fighting against human trafficking.
Her latest endeavor INITIATIVE Isler is a humanitarian project created by her to contribute to social activities that promote youth empowerment, education, maternal mortality, as well as to help decrease teenage pregnancies and human trafficking bringing an end to modern slavery and everything that harms another person anywhere around the world.
One would think that all such causes would make for an incredibly overwhelming schedule, but Gabriela is tenacious. She uses her platform to help change the world one person at a time, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. She not only sits at the table with executives, countless volunteers, and those most deeply affected by the atrocities happening across the globe, but she also shares her ideas and does the work to ensure that such causes aren’t forgotten, and most importantly, that those she’s fighting for aren’t forgotten.
She has taken her fight to countries near and far, expanding her reach through channels that inspire the average person and young adults. Her recognition is what has given her access to all such unique opportunities, but her heart and conviction to those she aims to serve and help are what drive her forward.
By Claudia Portillo
Photography by Manny Roman