Astrid Munoz has an ageless spirit. The former model and now avid polo fan and highly-acclaimed photographer has just launched her second exhibition, Unbridled Synchrony, in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre, however she refuses to be centre of attention. Much like her idol Audrey Hepburn she is one of those rare natural beauties (inside and out) that transcends time. She may have been a widely successful model for over 15 years but she has none of the ego that has toppled many a great star…
As a model and a photographer Astrid Munoz has faced many difficult challenges but with a life mantra of “never say no to your dreams” she has never given up and along the way she has always given back.

Astrid Munoz, Jaeger-LeCoultre

Astrid Munoz at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup where she debuted her Unbridled Synchrony exhibition

When unveiling her latest photography exhibition in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre at the Gold Cup polo tournament at Cowdray Park, following the major success of her first project following the Gauchos of Argentina, Emirates Woman spoke with the Puerto Rican beauty to share her fascinating life lessons….

Sports photography is a male dominated world.  I am the opposite of a sports photographer. I come from fashion. I want to convey the actual relationships that happen behind the game. No sponsor logos. I capture the passion.

Portraits capture the essence of the person. Self-portraits are very intimate; I’m trying to capture my essence, which is not what other people have done when I was in fashion. They were just focusing on making clothes look great. The focus wasn’t me. When I take portraits of someone else, I take my time. I try for them to reveal themselves to me as opposed to just taking a usual picture. I am patient – I like to wait until the flower opens and let the personality come out. I always try to find what is their beauty.

When I have the camera I see everything differently. I don’t see the world with regular eyes. I pay attention to details. I am always looking for different angles and different situations.

Astrid Munoz, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Unbridled Synchrony

One of the exhibition images from Unbridled Synchrony

The combination of travel and fashion photography, is my favourite. When I grew up reading all the international women’s glossy magazines in the nineties there were trips in Africa with giraffes and animals and I remember thinking that’s what I want to do – I want to be there whether as a model or a photographer. Sometimes now I do both.

It’s rewarding when your job involves helping others. The most interesting project I have ever worked for was in Borneo. I joined a charity called World Land Trust, it’s an amazing English-based charity. They purchase land around the world in places where it is needed. For example in Borneo we purchased a corridor between two orangutan settlements. The probelm was that on one side the organutans were mainly female and the other side mainly male. So now we built a bridge so they can travel from side to side. I always try to give back whether it to my neighbours or my church.

If it is your passion then don’t take no for an answer. That’s the best career advice I can give. You can have 900 nos to the one yes and that’s the one that is going to get you to the door. That is my life story and it is how many wonderful stories start. Don’t take no for an answer and go for your dreams.

Mother Teresa is my role model. I used to keep a picture of her among my model cards when I first started modelling in the nineties. She is one of my icons because she was so giving and selfless. Everyone should aspire to be the best.

Everyone is starting to look the same. There is too much plastic surgery. Audrey Hepburn is another icon of mine because she was so beautiful and such a hard worker and she didn’t do any operations – she was the most beautiful, ageless woman. Now everyone is operating and it all comes down to a lower self esteem. We are the ones teaching that to the new generation. We worry to much about looks and wrinkles.

We need to promote natural beauty. I modelled for a cover with my husband, not so long ago for a big magazine, and I looked like I had an operation. They did so much airbrushing. We need to start saying not to this behaviour. Let’s instead promote the beauty that is natural otherwise we are comparing ourselves to unrealistic ideals.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup alexandria gouveia with Astrid Munoz

EW’s Alexandria Gouveia (far left) with Astrid Munoz, Nadia Gardner from Jaeger-LeCoultre and Eduardo Astrada

Emirates Woman caught up with Astrid Munoz at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship where she discussed her love of the Gauchos and reveals the passion behind Unbridled Synchrony. Read the full interview in the September Issue.