It’s been an epic year of firsts for Nicaraguan-American soprano Gabriella. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut performing the High Priestess in Aida, sat for a full-page portrait in The New Yorker, made her company debut with the Met Opera’s Summer Concerts in the Parks Series, appeared on Live in HD alongside Anna Netrebko and performed on stage alongside the legendary Placido Domingo. Reyes also traveled to Europe for the first time to perform with the Nuremberg Symphony in Bavaria. To top things off, she signed with international management, Askonas Holt.
Lucky for us, Gabriella found time in her schedule to add one more thing to her list of firsts: modeling. While on set, we discovered that as a teen Gabriella pursued a career in modeling but was discouraged by casting directors who told her she was too large. Let’s just say we were thrilled to be part of her Pretty Woman “big mistake” moment.
She chatted with us about the importance of self-love, hydration and Placido Domingo.
Rocking the aforementioned white shirt.
Hometown: Meriden, CT
Current home: New York, NY
Current profession: A Young Artist at the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program
Hidden talent: I’m a tuba/saxophone player who also played women’s full contact football in college.
Proudest moment: November 23, 2018 when I had my onstage debut at the Metropolitan Opera alongside the legendary Placido Domingo, a man I have revered and admired ever since before I knew I wanted to do music. My grandmother would play old recordings of him singing when I was a little girl, and she would sing along so beautifully. To think that only 20 years later, I would be onstage alongside him is just such a special moment for me.
Fat does not mean ugly or unworthy. I spent too much time debating my self-worth due to my larger size. Worth comes from so many other aspects of oneself, and size is NOT one of them.
On your mind: Pumped to be on a train home to spend some family time with my parents, sisters, and nieces!
On your desk: A huge bottle of water because hydration is KEY! A piano/vocal score of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, as well as a pair of highlighters and a good old fashioned Italian dictionary. As well as tons of other scores that I’ve been meaning to highlight and translate.
On your nightstand: A heavy duty industrial strength humidifier because again, hydration is KEY! My phone charger, my glasses, and the planner that I try to remember to fill every night. That doesn’t always happen though…
On the horizon: I am so excited to travel to Europe this summer, to spend some time in wine country, Beaune, France making some incredible music with musicians from the Metropolitan Opera’s orchestra. Then I’ll spend three weeks learning Italian in various regions of Italy. Then finally off to Prague, Czech to compete in Placido Domingo’s international competition Operalia.
Gabriella is wearing the Tris Classic Blazer and Greer Classic Pant. Shop this Look
Outfit in top rotation: A pair of black tights, a swing camo dress, and some heeled boots.
On wearing black: All day, everyday everywhere from my undies to my ball cap!
On staying ahead of the curve: I drink tons tons of water to try to stay ahead of what may come my way. Also, staying prepared with my music, learning and translating the music EARLY so that I’m not cramming last minute.
On dealing with life curveballs: I have to learned to lean into the curve and ride the wave, not run away. If things seem to have spun me a little out of whack, I trust that the curve will bring me right back. I don’t mean to cheesily rhyme, but it’s true. Most times, the curve will only throw me out so far, therefore, I trust in myself that I know my way back to my equilibrium, and that the curve will get me there by just breathing and trusting.
Advice you’d give to your younger self: Fat does not mean ugly or unworthy. I spent too much time debating my self-worth due to my larger size. Worth comes from so many other aspects of oneself, and size is NOT one of them. I would teach myself that I am strong, beautiful, confident and sexy exactly the way I am, curves, rolls and all. I can do all things, and those talents and skills will get me far if I only believe in myself and practice self love EVERY day.
Style secret: What you wear is only half the battle, how you wear it changes the game. Smile and be proud in whatever you chose from your closet. Consciously smile and greet those who come your way. That’s how to bring an outfit to the next level.
Find Gabriella on Instagram.