All photos: Alan Mercer Hair & Make-up: Clark Ivor
Directional Lighting: E. Venturo
The very first time I photographed Dayanara it was pure magic. I can really say I have loved her from the moment I met her. She is everything wonderful a person can be. I've seen her with her children many times and she is the most amazing Mother. I've never seen her be anything but kind to everyone around her.
Along with the new photos I am showcasing some of our past work over the last five years. I consider these photographs of Dayanara among my best work with anyone.
Hair & Make-up: Clark Ivor Directional Lighting: E. Venturo
The life of Dayanara Torres reads like a modern-day fairy tale . . . From her modest upbringing in Puerto Rico; to being discovered on the streets of her hometown; becoming Miss Universe at the tender age of 18 and, soon-after, a movie star in the Philippines and Puerto Rico, marrying and divorcing, raising two beautiful sons and bravely striving to rebuild her career . . . while Dayanara's story is what dreams, or novelas, are made of it is very much her reality, one that she manages with her signature grace, dignity, beauty and style.
Dayanara Torres Delgado was born in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico into a poor, very loving and close-knit family. As a child, expression and creativity were important aspects of her playtime. She would enjoy acting out roles such as being a model or a queen. Dancing, swimming and horseback riding were other favorite pastimes, which she continues to cultivate today.
From a very early age, Dayanara garnered honors and merits for good conduct in school. She concluded her 12th grade studies in "El Colegio Santa Rosa" in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, intending to one day attend college and become an orthodontist. But life would take her in a different and exciting direction.
At the age of 17, during her senior year in high school, she was walking through the Plaza de Toa Alta when she was approached to take part in the Miss Puerto Rico pageant as a representative of her town.
Dayanara still recalls being incredibly surprised as she never saw herself as a beauty queen . . . not for her home town of Toa Alta and even less as a representative of Puerto Rico in the Miss Universe pageant competing with 78 women from all over the world. It was all too wonderful to dare dream it would come true. Yet it did come true, and in Mexico City on May 21st, 1993, Dayanara became the youngest woman ever to be chosen to be Miss Universe.
Her humanitarian work during her reign focused on disadvantaged and poverty-stricken children throughout the world. She became an international ambassador for UNICEF, traveling throughout Latin America and Asia in support of the organization's projects, during and after her reign. In 1995 she endowed the Dayanara Torres Foundation which provided aid and scholarships to destitute families in Puerto Rico and the Philippines. In most recent years she has served on the board of, and made contributions to, the Children's Hope Foundation, for children and mothers affected by AIDS and Fundación Sonrisa which helps children with facial deformities in Puerto Rico.
Once her year as Miss Universe was completed, Dayanara traveled to Manila to pass on the crown to the next pageant queen. She even sang a duet during the pageant with Peabo Bryson, called "A Whole New World". Little did she know that night that her own life would, once again, take an exciting turn and that she would be living in a whole new world herself.
During her visit to the Philippines, Dayanara became so well-loved that she was offered the opportunity to host two television shows and star in movies. She made the decision to stay, and her short stay was extended to 4 years. In those four years she became a major movie star and the "It" girl in the country.
She starred in 13 movies in the Philippines and Puerto Rico including "Linda Sara" (1994) co-starring with singer/actor Chayanne and directed by Oscar nominee Jacobo Morales. She was the host of the highly rated live variety show "ASAP" which is broadcast throughout all of Asia. And, as host of another show, "Eazy Dancing", became known as "The Dancing Queen of the Philippines". The country's Press Club honored her with the Best New TV Personality Award in 1995.
She returned to Puerto Rico in 1998, during the promotion of her album "Antifaz", which reached the top of the Billboard Dance charts throughout Latin America and the Philippines. In the Island, she also starred in the theater productions of Cinderella (as Cinderella in 1998) and Peter Pan (as Tinkerbell in 1999).
In honor of her beauty and talent, the Dayanara doll was launched in 1998, complete with a crown, and outfits of a singer, dancer, and model. The doll was immediately sold out in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
On May 10, 2000, Dayanara wed Salsa/Pop Star Marc Anthony, and made the decision to dedicate herself to her new role as wife and mother. The couple has two children together, Cristian Anthony and Ryan Anthony.
Directional Lighting: E. Venturo
As this is a fairy tale with modern-day twists. . . Dayanara and her husband divorced in 2004, and the heroine of our story is now building her career as an actress, spokesperson and model while caring for her two little princes with the help of her family.
A whirlwind of projects are always in the works in the areas of acting, modeling, endorsements, commercials, production, and even product development. Dayanara is once again looking forward to a whole new world ahead of her.
Dayanara and I were brought together for the eighth time to shoot her new photos for the 'Asma en Español' campaign. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, along with MERCK, provide information to educate Latin Americans about this health problem. It is 'a perfect fit' as Dayanara herself says in the interview.
DT: I have actually had asthma since I was a little girl. I was in the hospital every few months until I was at least five years old. I was probably hospitalized seven times. My kids have it too, one more than the other.
AM: So you really know what you are talking about from personal experience.
DT: It is a perfect fit. I know what it is and how people suffer from it. I know how you can't go outside and play sports. I was never that strong as a child and was never able to do those things. Because of having my kids go through it and help them out definitely makes this a cause that is very dear to me.
AM: You are always involved in charities and causes. Is this something you always wanted to do?
AM: It seems to be the natural course for someone who as been a Miss Universe don't you think?
DT: From the very beginning I did work with a lot of charities. I started with UNICEF and then I created my own foundation called The Dayanara Foundation in the Philippines. I just knew I wanted to do something. From the very beginning I have been very blessed in my life and I think it's important to give back.
AM: Does this fulfill you?
DT: Absolutely. One day I went to my friends house, who has a niece, who has down syndrome. Just knowing that I could go to her house and bring my crown and it made her so happy. That made my day! She said, "Thank you for coming." I said, "No, thank you for letting me do that." To me, it fills me with joy, to do things like that.
AM: I know you have been doing a bit of acting recently. Have you been filming outside of LA?
DT: I filmed the television show called 'Watch Over Me' for three months in San Diego. The last movie I did was in Philadelphia.
AM: Has it been released?
AM: Is it out on DVD?
DT: Yes and it is still showing on Showtime.
AM: Did you enjoy making it?
DT: I did because it was very different. When I was filming the show in San Diego the character was very much like me. I was a student looking for love. In 'The Nail' I was a battered wife. My husband beat me and my child up. It was hard but it was different.
AM: Were you de-glamorized?
Lighting: E. Venturo
AM: Did you enjoy making it?
DT: I did. It was a challenge and something different. I definitely enjoyed doing that.
AM: Would you like to make more heavy dramas?
DT: I like drama. Yes I would like to make more because I enjoyed it.
AM: Does working on a dramatic film help you process some of your personal life?
DT: Sometimes it's hard because you are working so hard to get out of certain stages or things that have happened in your life. Say you have tried real hard to let go of certain things then you have to go back and film it. So I think if anything my life experience has been like 'gold in my pocket.' That's what I call it. I have it there and when I need it I use it.
AM: By the way how is your sister?
AM: You've been living in Los Angeles for five years now. Is it home now?
DT: It is definitely home now. The boys are happy and love the school they are in. They are doing all kinds of sports from golf to baseball and soccer. Because we are in Los Angeles they are both involved in music. They each have their own bands and they play in big venues. It's great, we are very happy here. This is home.
AM: It's such a joy to see you and work with you anytime Dayanara.
DT: Thank you very much. It's my pleasure.