Spotlight On: Sharina Gutierrez, Sports Illustrated Model And Mom Of Three

Model Sharina Gutierrez just gave us her secrets to preparing for iconic photo shoots, her journey to self-love, conscious parenting, and her top three principles for a fulfilling life.

By Nicole Dominique7 min read
Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez

Despite the hundreds of miles that separated us – with only a screen acting as a medium – I felt Sharina Gutierrez's warm and soothing aura. It invited me to listen, and I spent the next hour learning about her evolution as a mom of three and model.

Here's her story: Born into a first-generation Filipino family in Los Angeles, Sharina's upbringing mirrored the experiences of mine and millions of other women with Asian heritage. In a household that personified tough love, education came first. But, fate had other plans for Sharina.

When she was only 12, the already-tall and striking girl transitioned from Catholic school to a public institution. The move became a pivotal moment for Sharina, placing the right people in her life at the right time. Thanks to her stunning and unique look, a new friend introduced her to an idea we all dream of hearing: "You should try out modeling."

Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez
Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez

Let this be a lesson to listen to your intuition because that's what Sharina did – and it paid off. There was some resistance from her family at first, but the mom and daughter duo decided to give John Robert Powers Modeling and Acting Agency a go. "I knew that I wanted to try it and do something different," she says to me. "It actually helped my self-esteem a lot when I was younger. But at the time, I had to beg my mom. My mom said, 'I will let you do this modeling thing if you take etiquette classes,' which they offered through John Robert Powers. I said, 'Done. Deal.'"

"Long story short, I never did etiquette classes," she smiles. "But I ended up getting discovered by a scout that they had that does this convention called IMTA (International Modeling and Talent Association). Back, then it was a big organization that Ashton Kutcher got scouted at. I joined, and I won that event out of 3,000 people. So that was my first time competing in the modeling world at the age of 13 and representing the Philippines."

The triumph marked the beginning of Sharina's groundbreaking presence in the world of fashion, modeling, and healing. Now an esteemed sound guide and model, Sharina has strutted on runways, partnered with some of the biggest brands, and helped others achieve their inner piece. Most recently, the mom of three and doting wife became a Sports Illustrated rookie and founded a conscious parenting brand, Mama Mantra.

Nicole Dominique: I want to talk about Mama Mantra real quick. What can we expect from your brand? 

Sharina Gutierrez: Our first capsule will be baby cutlery. It is a placemat with a plate and cover with a fork and a spoon. It's going to have mantras that I feel are important to remind families when they're together. Like, for us, we're Filipino, so what do we love to do? We love to eat and cook and feed people. For us, being at the table together has always been where we checked in.

So even having those little mantras that show subliminal messages of "I am blessed," "I'm grateful," or "I'm joyful." When you catch a mantra like that when you're going through something in life, or you just simply need positivity, those are powerful reminders and conversation starters at the table. "What makes you joyful? Why are we blessed at this time?" These mantras open up those conscious conversations for families. I don't know if your family is the same, but growing up Filipino, it's like, "Don't cry, be strong."

We don't talk about certain things. I’ve had to unlearn all of those things, and having my three children has been the biggest eye and heart opener for me. I had to really break down all those walls and break those generational curses and learn to have those deeper conversations that my parents don't have with me. But I'm capable now of having those conversations with my parents. I could go and sit with my mom now and say, "Hey, what makes you joyful?" and it brings back my inner child and heals her because I'm actually having that one-on-one and love from my parents. So that's our first example, and I'm excited about that. 

ND: Was it always your dream to be on Sports Illustrated? 

SG: I think I've always dreamed of becoming a Sports Illustrated rookie along with other goals, like becoming a Victoria's Secret Angel and working with top brands. I did an Estee Lauder Campaign and have been on Ralph Lauren. So I have this bucket list of things that are campaigns that I want to shoot, and Sports Illustrated is at the top. The first time I ever met them was 10 years ago. I was around 21 or  22. And, to be completely honest, I feel like that version of myself wouldn't have been ready for Sports Illustrated. I was very much in survival mode trying to raise my child and wasn't thinking of the bigger picture of what I wanted from my career. It was more like, "Okay, I got to make this amount of money to be able to support my people, to be able to pay rent." There was no bigger picture for me. So I'm really, really grateful for those 10 years of personal growth and spiritual journey.

Now, I can be an advocate of self-love and manifestation and tell people that dreams do come true. I really want to use this platform to write and inspire women that it doesn't matter how long you dream about something. It took me 21 years to get to where I am right now. I feel like there's no age limit as to when your dreams can come through, and if you love yourself enough and you believe enough in your dream, and it's like the core of you, you're capable of manifesting it. I'm a really big advocate of manifesting your dreams into reality.

ND: What was that process like of trying to achieve being an SI rookie?

SG: So I do have a vision board, and SI is a part of that board. I see that vision board every day when I wake up. I created a vision board last year to manifest my goals this year, and one of them was SI. 

Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez
Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez

But to prepare myself for SI, I had to completely lose myself in the last 10 years to find myself. That's what I like to tell people. I feel like I had to not even recognize myself in the beginning because I would look in the mirror and people would tell me all the time, "You're so beautiful, you're so giving, you're so loving,” and I would look at myself in the mirror at the beginning of those 10 years, and I did not see what they saw. I could barely look at myself in the mirror. There was a moment when I felt like I was just helping others with their goals and not having any goals for myself.

There is this amazing designer, her name is Donna Karan. She hosted a beautiful luncheon for me and my influencer friends to bring awareness to her brand, Urban Zen. I think of Donna all the time, and I tell her she is the big reason where I am today. She gave this beautiful speech in front of everybody about how I’m this amazing person who is giving and puts everybody before themselves. I remember at the time laughing. I didn't see what she was seeing in me after that event. I remember just going home, and I was crying, and I was like, “Why do these people like me?” I had to take a step back from everything and find out who I was, and that started my spiritual journey of loving myself. 

I feel like I could use that platform to help so many people love themselves. So, I made it a North Star in my life. I use this platform to not just be a rookie but to use it to inspire people. There were people telling me I'm not Sports Illustrated enough, whether that means because I don't have boobs or a big butt or whatever it is that they say. I'm really glad to be a part of this version of Sports Illustrated because I feel like they have changed so much. They’re very versatile and have the most beautiful women I've ever seen, but they're also the most beautiful women on the inside.

They all have an amazing story to tell. They all can inspire the next generation and help empower women and people to become the best versions of themselves. So I'm really grateful that this version of me gets that second chance and that I get to be a part of this Sports Illustrated, and I think that it's all in alignment.

ND: Can you share some tips on preparing for the photoshoot?

SG: I just hit the ground running like I always do. I feel like when something is in my soul, I will give it a hundred percent. So my workout regimen works for me. It might not work for everybody. But I love Barre classes, so things that brought me back to dancing because my body was trained to be a dancer at a very young age. When I do a Barre class, my muscles remember to tone right away.

Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez
Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez

I did Barre at least four times a week and then hot yoga because it helped me center my mind and not overthink everything. And then my husband actually trained me as well. So he had me running outside when it was hot or humid. He’s my biggest cheerleader. I remember before I did this whole Sports Illustrated thing, I had this big conversation with him, and I said, “Hey, I don't know if I should model anymore.” He's like, “Are you crazy?"

He's like, 'You haven't even given this version of you a chance." Long story short, here I am today because he didn't let me give up. 

ND: How important is eating clean when preparing for a shoot when you want that toned look?

SG: It's all about balance. I'm not going to lie, my husband says that I’m so dedicated because I live in such a big city. I love Cinnabon, carbs, and rice. I think when I'm in training mode, I give myself a balance. I'll be clean, I’ll have less carbs, so bread and rice and things like that. I replace it with good carbs like salads and high protein because I'm training so I'm burning it. 

But if I was really craving something sweet or a piece of pizza, I will give it to myself because I'm already working so hard. This is what I like to tell my children. When you're working so hard towards something, it's good to reward yourself with little things. Obviously, if you are training towards something like don't eat a pizza every day. Balance is so important because I'm still human and I have cravings.

ND: What are your big three must-do’s to stay true to yourself and be confident?

SG: You come first, so you have to prioritize yourself first. I feel like that is ultimate number one, you have to put yourself first because if you can't show up for yourself, then you can't show up for anybody else. You have to be your own best friend. You have to be the realest person to yourself. You have to be okay with that voice trying to get you back into place and showing you that tough love of, “Hey, you deserve better than this. I feel you.” So, self-love.

Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez
Courtesy of Sharina Gutierrez

Number two: Spending your time wisely. It’s always passing. Are you being intentional and purposeful every minute of your day? If you have time to scroll on Instagram for 30 minutes, you have time to go work out. If you have time to complain about coffee spilling on your shirt or whatever, you have time to change your shirt. It’s about prioritizing time, and spending time with the ones you love, right? Creating your business, being in the moment. Spend your time actually working towards your goals. Because every day you're just still and not working towards your goals, you're never going to get anywhere, right? 

The third is how you treat others. Those are non-negotiable. I became self-aware of how I was treating others. And the moment I realized how I acted toward others, I confronted myself. I think that that was the best thing that I've ever done – saying sorry to the people who are hurt and letting it go. Doing that made so much more space for love in my life. The self-love helped peel off layers that didn't belong anymore as well and helped me grow. 

ND: What advice would you give to women who want to put themselves out there or use their platforms? The women want to achieve their dreams but are scared or insecure?

SG: You'll never know unless you take that first step. I feel like one thing that I say to a lot of people who ask me for advice is, "I am not done." So the universe is going to be giving you visions in your life, and there's a reason why you see for yourself. You see it for yourself because you're capable of actually doing those things. You just have to take a leap of faith and know that you're not crazy and that you're capable of actually manifesting those things into reality. It's up to you to trust those visions and make them a reality. You have to take a step closer to those dreams.

I feel like that's how elevation is. If you are not scared or if you don't have that kind of, like, "Oh my gosh" feeling, then is it really growth? Think of it this way: When you get older, you have these growing pains. You're getting taller, and you physically feel the pain in your body. I feel like that's how life, in general, is; you feel growth in so many different parts of your life. You feel your relationships, you feel your career, you feel it all in different ways. But once you get past those growth obstacles, it's like, "Whoa, if I never took that first step, I never would have experienced that. I wouldn't be here." It would stay here, really into you.

Whenever you're doing something, put your soul into it and work towards those goals. This is my greatest advice: You are capable of doing anything. It's up to you to believe that you can do it. So, do it with me. Go do it.

Want to learn more about Sharina and keep tabs on Mommy Mantra? Follow her on her socials here!

Evie deserves to be heard. Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.