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Actress Patricia Velasquez finds empowerment through film, poetry, charity work

Patricia Velasquez stars in 'Guys Reading Poems' (Photo: Fatelink Productions)

Actress Patricia Velasquez doesn't necessarily see herself as an inspiration to others, but she knows she's a force for change.

The busy model and actress splits her time between several passion projects, including her eco-friendly beauty line, a film out later this month, and a children's foundation in her native Venezuela.

"I really try to do what my heart calls," she said during a recent phone interview to promote, 'Guys Reading Poems,' directed by Hunter Lee Hughes. "I've always kind of been someone who likes to do a lot of things," she said."

The film is set for theatrical release in late April.

Close to her heart is the Wayuu Taya Foundation, which helps women and children in Venezuela, mostly through education and healthcare initiatives. The foundation, launched in 2002, now serves about 5,000 children daily.

"It's a small foundation that has a big, big reach."

Velasquez also has lots of praise for 'Guys Reading Poems.'

"The film has a message that we all face challenges," said Velasquez of the film. 'Challenges' is a bit of an understatement; The dream-like plot centers around a young boy imprisoned in a puppet box by his mother, played by Velasquez, after her husband leaves her. She admits the storyline is downright torturous.

"The young boy, who is as resilient as most children are, finds light in the darkness through poetry. And he survives."

Velasquez says many will be surprised to learn there are few lines of dialogue in the movie. Most of the story is told through poetry. There is a touching message of healing in 'Guys.' And it's resonating with critics. It recently won 'Best of the Fest' at the South Texas Underground Film Festival in Corpus Christi.

"At some point in our lives we have all felt that we've been put in a box," said Velasquez. "The message is that it's our creativity that will help us survive the situation and guide us out of it."

While poetry is considered to be somewhat of a nostalgic form of communication in today's 'insta-snap-book' society, it's also turned into somewhat of a movement. People find empowerment through open mic nights all over the country, especially fitting during National Poetry Month.

"That's part of the transformation," said Velasquez. "It's what you most experience when you watch the movie. It is very much about forgiveness."

As for Velasquez, she says she understands the inspiration she's become to others since coming out a few years ago. Even with her jet-setting schedule, she regularly takes time to advocate for the LGBTQ community.

"I'm not particularly looking to become a leader or a voice, but if I have, I can only be honored and recognize the responsibility that comes with it."

'Guys Reading Poems' will enjoy a limited release on April 28 in Hollywood. To learn more about the film, click here.

To learn more about Patricia Velasquez, click here.

To learn more about the Wayuu Taya Foundation, click here.

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