On January 22, it’ll be 15 years since TV host and model Amy Bravo moved to the United States with her brother, sister, and parents from Ecuador — but it seems like light years away from where she is now in her life. “When I came here, nothing made sense to me. Everything was so fast. I couldn’t understand a word,” says the 32-year-old mother of one. 
Fleeing economic instability, Bravo and her family moved into the in-law suite at her uncle’s house in the Tampa area where she quickly got a job working at a bodega. The first six months were tough, she says. One of her supervisors would spit on the floor and make her clean it. They'd make fun of her poor English as well.

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Once she told her family about the situation she was able to move on to a job where she was respected and appreciated. “Throughout that year, I picked up English,” says Bravo, who was forced to learn it by having to communicate with customers. That job not only taught her the language of her new country, but also got her the opportunity of a lifetime.

Amy Bravo when she first moved to the United States in 2000.

photo: Amy Bravo
She was scouted by a modeling agency when the owner of the agency came in to talk to her boss. Bravo first started modeling on a segment for HSN on Univision, and a year later was offered the chance to model and host on HSN’s own channel. “I was asked to audition to see what would happen. When that opportunity is there, you can’t let it go. You can’t be afraid,” she says. 

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All of her success wasn’t bestowed upon her out of luck, she says. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance, which she learned at an early age roller-skating competitively throughout Ecuador. “I see that a lot of what I am today I learned from a sport. I think I never forget my mom always being there, supporting me. Just wanting to get somewhere. Knowing that if I worked really hard, I would get it,” she notes.  
Along with all the medals and accolades she earned for roller skating, Bravo also got into beauty pageants, coming in second for Miss Guayaquil as a teenager. “That want was always there. I always loved being in the spotlight,” she says. And then she got into modeling for TV. “I always had that dream of hosting. I always wanted to be heard. I wanted people to hear me and not just stand there,” she says.  
Once she landed her dream job and even her dream man at work (her husband is a camera man at the network), Bravo went for more, earning a bachelor’s degree in business economics at the University of South Florida. “I would drive by the college and sometimes I would cry looking at it,” says Bravo of her longing to go back to school in her 20s. “When I became a permanent resident and then a U.S. citizen, I thought, What’s keeping me back from this dream? I can do anything I want now. "  
So what’s her advice to getting what you want? “Stay true to your passion and don’t give up.”