Interview With Yezenia Navarro, Humanitarian and Former Mrs. Mexico | ewmoda

Humanitarian Yezenia Navarro Looks Back on a Decade of Lessons

Model, actress, and humanitarian Yezenia Navarro chats with the ewmoda team on last decade's lessons and the future

Posted on

20 January 2020

Model, Humanitarian Yezenia Navarro Looks Back on a Decade of Lessons

The former Mrs. Universe and Mrs. Mexico has always supported causes for human rights

Yezenia Navarro is a Qatar-based Mexican entrepreneur, model, actress, and the proud holder of a multitude of international beauty pageant titles. She is also the founder of the NGO, Queens Without Scars, which dedicates its activities to raising awareness on domestic violence against women and supporting women from difficult households.

The ewmoda team had the opportunity to speak with Navarro on her whirlwind of a decade in acting, presenting, coaching models, modeling herself, walking pageant stages, being a working mother to three boys, and more.

On her favourite career highlights in the last ten years...

"I believe there are so many things from each of these roles. As a humanitarian I would say it is visiting orphans and children in several countries and being able to spend time with them. People in need often benefit from tangible items like money and food but I find it beautiful to be able to spend time with them and I believe this can make a positive difference."

In 2015, Navarro had a unique opportunity to travel through Jamaica, painting schools and spending time with orphaned children.

"Another experience that was an honour for me was to be one of the guests of the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice as an individual expert. I learned so much from a collection of amazing people from all over the world."

"As a model, I would say I have had the honour to meet numerous fashion designers like Caroline Herrera and many local designers, from Lebanon for example, but now I am working more backstage, so it is an entirely another level. I manage models and book models from abroad, bringing them to Qatar or the Middle East. This also gives me another contact or perspective with the designers. I am not the model, but I am working with the designers to deliver their vision through their fashion shows."

"As an actress in Qatar, I never expected to act because a majority of the productions are in Arabic, however, I did participate in one of the first Qatari movies (Al-Johara which means Cinderella) with the first female Qatari director, Nora Al-Subai. From there I participated in an Italian, a German and an Indian movie all here in Qatar, followed by many commercials."

"With respect to the community, I am so proud to be the Mexican Community Leader for the Supreme Committee for the World Cup. I feel wonderful that they chose me to collaborate with the Mexican Embassy as well as other Latin American communities."

On how she will carry the lessons of the past decade into the new one...

"I believe all the experiences that I have had in my life in fashion, film industry, communities, football, and family, have helped build who I am today. I hope in the next decade I will be a better person as in a better human, a better mother, and a better friend."

"I know I am destined for a higher purpose and I believe there is something big for me that I hope I can fulfill," she added.

"I would love to participate in more speaking events targeted to women, work with my various charity organizations and travel the world to help children in places like Uganda, Columbia, and Mexico."

One of Navarro's aspirations in the new decade is to build water facilities to increase access to fresh water.

"Earlier in my life I believed I wasn’t enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t tall enough. But each and every person is special and believe that you are enough. We have two options in life: we can choose to be a victim, or we can choose to be a warrior."

She believes that when you choose to be a victim, all the bad things that have happened in your life will push you down. But if you chose to stand up and move on, you can take all the bad things that have happened in your life and help yourself and help others. The bad experiences in her life allowed Navarro to understand, empathize and help others who are going through the same experiences.

On what she would have done differently during pageants...

"I do not know if I would do something different because I like what I did in my early pageants when I was competing for various crowns. Of course, everyone wants to win, wants to wear the crown, but for me, I always believed that if I didn’t obtain the crown, I would always gain wonderful friends."

"The biggest prize from the pageants was the friendships that I gained with women from all over the world. If I could change one thing, I would be smarter to realize when things are “weird” or not legitimate. All types of unusual or weird things happen at pageants. But I am extremely happy with the experience that has driven me here physically and mentally."

On the non-profit "Queens Without Scars" against domestic violence on women...

"Seeing the Ambassadors of Queens Without Scars hosting events in different countries to support women makes me proud. Even though I am not physically present at all these events, these Ambassadors continue to further the work."

Sometimes in other countries, it is easier to organize events to raise money and help girls. For example, at one event QWS helped an abuse victim to help her build a business so that she could support her children. In Columbia, QWS has a substantial impact because the Ambassador is well connected with celebrities and various key people."

This provides positive exposure for helping women from domestic violence on TV as well as highlights tours, events, and visits to shelter homes.

"Of course, in Mexico, I also actively participate in raising funds and awareness. I sincerely wish I could do more in the Middle East. Often I am contacted by women who require help, but my hands are tied. I can instruct them of the process to file a complaint but because of cultural norms and rules, it can be quite complicated."

On her best advice for keeping a healthy life and work balance...

"I am very lucky that I have support at home with my fantastic nanny. I try to actively participate in my children’s lives every day. While they are at school, it is my time to focus on going to the gym, attending events and other professional tasks."

"During the weekends, especially Friday, it is dedicated to my family. In addition, I always hug and kiss my children every night. I love them, support them and try to teach them to be a gentleman and good individuals. Also, what helps me is I always eat healthily and work out at least 3 to 5 times a week. These things make me a genuinely happy person."

"I always encourage my friends to stand up to those who push them down. We can be in the middle of a storm and we can experience dark and painful things but if you decide that you are going to be happy, and it isn’t always easy, you can be happy. Happiness and love are decisions."

On what changes she wants to see in the model industry...

"Honestly, I am happy to work in Qatar as a backstage manager because I have the power and an active say in how events are managed. I always request to my clients to feed my models. They need to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I encourage them to eat."

"Sometimes in modeling, designers believe or treat you like hangers, you are only there to showcase their clothing."

Navarro doesn't agree: "I believe a model is an actress on the catwalk that requires energy and charisma to show off the outfit or clothing."

"Another thing is that I request is body diversity."

According to her, "We as women need to embrace our bodies the way they are now and I am happy to see that in the fashion industry there is more diversity in terms of skin color, body shape, limitations, and age. Different is beautiful."

On where "home" is for her...

"I have to say Qatar. I go to Mexico and enjoy my family but after 2 months I want to come back home. I love my family in Mexico but at the end of the day, my home is in Qatar."

Navarro prefers the country as it is the place where her children grew up, where their school is, where her work is based, as well as her friends. For the former Mrs. Universe, everything is in Qatar.

"All the opportunities I have had lately are all a result of living in Qatar. I started acting and modeling in Mexico, but I have really blossomed in Qatar. I am extremely grateful to Qatar. I am grateful to the Royal Family, to all the people I have met and to all the opportunities that I have here."

On her secret to keeping a fresh face during her frequent travels...

"I think it depends on the destination. When I go to the tropics or islands like the Caribbean, Philippines or Bali, I believe the sun is your best makeup. You don’t need makeup."

"But saying this, I try to always take care of my skin. I wash my face every night, use sun protection every morning and apply ample under eye cream. Honestly, I do everything that I can to take care of my skin and look fresh. I think it is key to drink a lot of water, take care of your skin with a consistent regiment and eat a balanced and healthy diet."

Navarro also recommends eating a lot of veggies and fruit. "If you want to look great, you need to start from the inside by eating well.

On whether she always wanted to get involved in fashion and film...

"Absolutely! Always! Since I could start speaking, I was always singing and dancing. I started singing at 6 years old. I had several singing opportunities but at 7 I started modeling so I was doing both. At 12 years old I tried acting and I fell in love with being on stage."

And finally...

"I would love to say that I am not perfect. I have made several mistakes. I am a working mom that tries to balance professional and family commitments. Sometimes I feel guilty working, but my kids understand. We cannot let society say what is wrong and what is right because it is different for everyone."