Creating Ways to Celebrate Kindness with the Runway of Hope
Luisa Diaz is on a personal mission to spread kindness in everything she does. She says that there are so many people doing amazing acts of kindness, we need to hear more about them instead of glorifying the negativity in the world. She has used her experience as Ms. Venezuela International and Mrs. New York International to found the Mi Amore Gala, which she produces to raise funds for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking. Working with Safe Passage-–an organization that works to break the cycle of domestic abuse by healing and empowering women and their children, enabling them to live new, safe and productive lives– Luisa helps the victims realize how beautiful and worthy they are. She coaches and prepares them to participate in a beauty queen style fashion show where they walk down “The Runway of Hope.” She describes the women as being transformed, walking with their heads up and shoulders back showing the confidence and self-worth they’ve achieved through completing the Safe Passage program and symbolically walking toward the light of a promising future.
Luisa’s own journey growing up in Venezuela is perhaps the most inspiring story she shared. She watched her grandmother, who raised her along with her own 15 children, endure years of abuse from her husband which at times was so bad she said they sometimes had to sleep in the street. The abuse was so widespread in the community, and accepted as the norm, that there was no one to go to for help. Eventually, her grandmother left her husband with Luisa and her children, having no education or job to support them. The courage she witnessed in her grandmother propelled her to take chances of her own. After winning Ms. Venezuela International, Luisa moved to the United States and got a degree in business and marketing while learning English at the same time. With this same courage and tenacity, she launched the first Latino talk show on a North Carolina ABC affiliate which became a huge success.
Sexy Is Timeless®
Luisa wrote the book, Sexy Is Timeless: Ten Timeless Sexy Assets That Lie within You, to show women how beauty comes from within their own self-confidence and kindness toward others. The stories illustrate that “Sexy is cool.” Luisa says, “Ten timeless sexy assets that lie within each of us that had nothing to do with physicality.” She says that in her work with domestic abuse survivors, she realized that none of them feels truly beautiful. She thinks the reason for this is that, “society is focusing so much on the outside that we are not focused what is truly important.” She wrote the book to convince women that many attributes are sexy and beautiful. She says, “It gets better with age because confidence is very sexy; knowledge is very sexy; individuality, embracing who you are is sexy.…Kindness is the new sexy.”
Mi Amor Gala A Celebration of Kindness
The Mi Amor Gala was created to be a celebration of kindness. Luisa started the event even before founding the Luisa Diaz Foundation, and she aligned it to benefit Safe Passage after researching organizations that helped the victims of abuse and sexual trafficking. Safe Passage provided her with a family outside of her own, with a mentor and support staff that volunteers many services. More than a shelter Safe Passage provides education, counseling, and even plastic surgery for women whose faces bear the permanent signs of abuse and whose teeth have been knocked out or broken. Luisa provides runway coaching and counseling herself to prepare these survivors to walk the Runway of Hope, which highlights their success in embarking on a new life.
Check out more about Luisa’s foundation work and that of Safe Passage. Read her book to learn more about how Luisa feels that being sexy and beautiful is the whole package wrapped around being kind to yourself and others every day. Listen to or watch this conversation to hear more of Luisa’s story of launching her talk show and the Mi Amore Gala. The next Mi Amore Gala is May 18, 2023 at the Plaza Hotel in NYC. You can help sponsor it with ticket purchases at https://luisadiazfoundation.org/product/tickets-for-the-mag-gala-2023/.