From Guasmo Central to VOGUE Magazine Meet Ecuadorian model Carmen

From Guasmo Central to VOGUE Magazine: Meet Ecuadorian model Carmen Mina

He didn't believe in his potential or his beauty and at the age of 20 he decided to do a production with the photographer Roberto Pacurucu, began his professional life. Photos from the session were published in an American magazine and catwalks and calls appeared from agencies interested in representing her.

The Guayaquileño Carmen Mina, A young woman who grew up in the center of Guasmo, a suburb of Puerto Principal, is now a supermodel who, in addition to being a frequent face in international publications, returns to her native Ecuador to help other women to improve their personal image.

Your goal: to empower you and increase your self-esteem. “It all started as a business idea Carmen Mina stylist, Advice aimed at a diverse audience. We start working inside the person and from there we go outwards and think about how to dress to look more physically attractive,” he says of the latest reason for his visit to the country. The workshops took place in Quito and Guayaquil.

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While studying at the College of Fine Arts in Guayaquil, it was her classmates who often suggested she pursue a career in modeling. These skills, which went unnoticed for her, were what highlighted those around her to focus on this career.

“I didn’t see it as an attainable career. The market in Ecuador wasn't that big for blacks, and here I haven't seen any numbers that make me think that might be the case; “I had no inspiration,” she says, detailing the incredulity she felt as she listened to others motivate her.


Until she was 22, Mina lived with her mother Nora and three siblings (Andrés, Antonio and Ana) in Guayaquil, in the south of the city. He also dedicated his youth to volunteer work. It began in a parish in his community, continued in the Afro Cultural Center and then in the Salesian project Mi Patio. He would like to replicate this activity in his own foundation.

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Before settling outside the country, she had already received proposals from the Gucaya Models agency to work in Europe. “My family initially told me to concentrate on my studies to be financially secure,” he adds. She was studying fashion design and business administration when Pacurucu discovered her. It was at the end of his university studies, when he focused on the career, that opened the doors to the present in which he lives.

Although she recently traveled to Peru – to attend a parade – she says she is always connected to her family.

First steps

The American fashion magazine Fashion It is the publication in whose pages she was most frequently requested to appear. A dream that seemed unattainable as a teenager and that came true as an adult. He Quito photographer Jaime Pavón He was the first to portray her for the magazine, along with an entire Ecuadorian creative team. “I have worked in Brazil and the United States and also published for Europe (Portugal and Italy) and Argentina,” adds the Ecuadorian.

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Brazil, your new home

In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, he moved to Brazil. His decision was not taken lightly. She was selected by the renowned agency Ford Models, which represents her abroad. However, in the country it is supported by the DIS management.

“If you feel like it’s your time, you should do it. I felt that way and left,” explains Mina, who has settled in São Paulo. He has had his own space in this city for six months. “Brazil is an overdeveloped country in terms of fashion, the career that I dedicate myself to and that I like because I feel that the Latin American warmth and progress can be felt there,” he says.

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When she is not the protagonist of the photos or the catwalk, Mina remains connected to fashion. She does styling for various brands and photo productions.

Industry in Ecuador

For Mina, the fashion industry would develop positively and become stronger if we worked together. “In Brazil the industry is very united and they value Brazilians very much, a situation that is not the same, at least not when I worked in Ecuador. There is a lack of diversity in order to be more realistic with the target group and to identify with people,” he emphasizes.

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Just when she has managed to establish herself as an international model, she mentions other compatriots like Morire, who also stands out in campaigns outside the country.

“I feel like there is now more openness to Afro characters in different media and spaces (…). There are still a lot of stereotypes that are gradually disappearing,” says the 26-year-old model, who now defines beauty as an internal process. “It is a construction of the inside that is projected outside. If you don’t feel good inside, you’re not beautiful because you won’t reflect it,” he explains. (JO)