The Plug Spotlight: Vanessa Ariel Torres

Vanessa Ariel Torres /@vanessaarieltorres

Beginnings and Basics 


This week’s spotlight plugger is full time student, model and traveler extraordinaire, Vanessa Ariel Torres. As a college student, she spends a good amount of her time in classes, but remains active on social media as a content creator and influencer. As someone that is experienced in both modeling and her career as an influencer, she maintains that she enjoys both. “I enjoy both! Modeling is overall very fun because I love to work in a team setting with other creative thinkers. Plus it’s usually less work on my part because there’s so many people contributing! Social media influencing is also very fun but for different reasons. I have almost total creative freedom since it’s up to me to style, find locations, shoot and edit the images for every outfit.” 

Vanessa has been committed to her educational aspirations since she was younger, so when the idea of modeling happened for her by chance, she wasn’t expecting it to say the least. “Modeling is something I always dreamed of doing when I was younger. Apart from my educational aspirations, this was always something I knew I would enjoy. As I got older, I stopped considering it as a career option because it seemed like an “unrealistic” goal until it happened by chance and voila – I was modeling!” As her modeling career has taken off, she has expanded her career to allow more creativity and leverage in her various brand partnerships, Aeropostale and Cancun Collection, to name a few. When asked if she had a favorite, she replied, “I have too many to name! What makes a company ‘my favorite’ to work with depends completely on their passion. You can tell when a brand as a whole is passionate about what they do, what they stand for, how happy it makes them and that’s what really makes me love working with them.” When asked what her favorite feature of The Plug was, she replied, “I love utilizing the Community Board. I feel that it has opportunities available exclusively to Pluggers which I appreciate the most.” She hopes to take this career in a consistent upward trajectory, saying, “When it comes to modeling, I’m going with the flow of things. I’d be insanely grateful if my journey as a model lasted for a while, but I do plan to explore my other talents within that time. In 10 years, I see myself done with school, with my Doctorate degree in a field I enjoy, possibly still modeling on a larger scale, maybe open up a restaurant or swimwear brand (two totally different things, but both are something I’m very passionate about although both are still just a thought) and still traveling as much as possible!”




Although she’s a complete natural now, Vanessa’s inspiration for modeling and content creation came from a place of youth and family. “I’ve always loved taking photos of my everyday life and this became an outlet to do just that and in a professional setting. My family, my mom especially, pushed me to continue when the opportunity presented itself. I started modeling at a time in my life that I was finally starting to accept myself physically and mentally and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.” She also speaks about her personal influences in her career, saying, “I think my happiness is my largest influence. Everything I do is with my own happiness in mind. My travel destinations are based on what would excite me the most, collaborations are based on my current tastes, and the things I post are based on what currently appeals to me! I don’t have a specific page or person that I turn to for inspiration, but social media definitely influences me. Most of the destinations I chose to visit was because I saw glimpses of it through the Internet!” 

Her family, understandably, has held a large impact over her life, one that allows her to engage with her creative side in whichever way she chooses to. She speaks freely about her blend of cultures and how this hybridity has lended itself to the way she has shaped her career. “I’ve noticed that growing up with multiple cultural backgrounds overall made me more open-minded and accepting of all walks of life. I have two religions in my family – Christianity and Hinduism – and my parents never pushed us toward either one, so it taught us the beliefs of both and to appreciate those differences. It’s also very fun when it comes to parties, celebrations, holidays, and family get-togethers because the experience between both cultures tend to be different. There’s the Caribbean (Trinidadian) food, dancing, parties and music, the Puerto Rican food, music, and dancing, the Indian influence of food, our Hindu practices, and the beautiful ceremonies I get to be a part of with that side of my family.”




This blend of cultures has also led her to a wanderlust, where she’s been lucky enough to travel all over the world. “So far, my favorite destinations have been Maui, HI and Aruba. I felt like I was at home in Maui – it was such an adventure every day, but still had the comforts of what you would hope for at home. I loved that there was always somewhere to explore like hidden beaches, hikes that lead to waterfalls, rocky beaches with cliff sides to jump off of into clear water. If my family would follow me, I would definitely live there. I went to Maui first and honestly, I was hesitant about any next trips because I didn’t think anywhere else could compare. I did take trips in between, but 6 months later when I traveled to Aruba is when I fell in love again. Aruba was secluded but safe, hot but windy, small but diverse, and tropical with a desert. I loved the people of Aruba, especially. They call it “One Happy Island” and I couldn’t agree more – I’ve never met nicer people. I wouldn’t even recommend staying in the ‘tourist hot spot’ of the West side. I would recommend staying on the opposite side of the island where the beaches are just as perfect, if not more, and almost always empty. Aruba was another great adventure where we visited several beautiful hidden beaches that, given the desert terrain, you wouldn’t even know were there. Visiting the rock desert (Arikok National Park) and hiking through it to get to Conchi, the Natural Pool, was also surreal. I had never felt so vulnerable and overpowered by nature than then! Both islands had incredible charm and I plan on revisiting them soon.”  





As we wrapped up the interview, we couldn’t help but ask Vanessa what she’d say to someone starting out in the business. She replied, “Always be yourself and focus your efforts on what you love the most! You will never have more to say/do or have more effort to excel than with something you love doing. Whether it be fashion blogging, travel blogging, photography, digital effects.. don’t worry who likes it or not. It sounds cliche, but people are attracted to passion. If you’re passionate with what you do, that’s enough to influence the masses to listen and see for themselves.” 

She maintains this idea of a passionate, personally fulfilled life when she speaks about the parts of her life she hasn’t shared on her platform — the experiences and emotions that cultivate community. She says, “I think the most exciting parts in general are the things that aren’t or can’t be shared – the actual experiences. Rafting on an accidentally-popped raft in the Big Pigeon River in the Smoky Mountains, soaking in the sun on a beach in St. Kitts to last-minute deciding to ride a jetski for the first time and being absolutely terrified of tipping but then getting on it, going as fast as I could and standing up to feel the wind trying to push me off and feeling completely empowered, being alone on the bow of our cruise ship, looking up at the stars while in the middle of the ocean and feeling both relaxed and intimidated, swimming in the ocean so deep my feet couldn’t touch the bottom just to have a jellyfish wrap its tentacles around my leg, riding my bike through the forest in the Sian Ka’an Eco Reserve in Tulum with the rain pouring down on us making the journey all the more exciting, visiting a Mayan village and meeting a living relic, one of the last direct descendents of the Mayan people, who made us tortillas and what looked like scrambled egg, in Maui exploring the waterfalls and natural pools and hiking through the rain trying to avoid the slippery rocks, climbing down a cliffside to a hidden natural pool inside a cave in the cliffside – all of these are some of the most exciting parts of my life and almost none of them are shared.” 

















You can follow along with Vanessa’s journey on her Instagram





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