Global event planner and stylist Guerdy Abraira’s mantra is to keep it simple. Although she is a grandiose event planner and stylist with exquisite taste, keeping things simple is what makes her the grand success that she is today, all the way from her career, her ambassadorship with G.H. Mumm Champagne, to a mother of two boys, and wife. With this being stated, Abraira makes her grand debut in Peacock TV’s ‘Real Housewives of Miami’ (RHOM) Season 4 as a housewife. ‘RHOM’ went through an eight-year hiatus and is ready to provide viewers with a major comeback. While Abraira makes her appearance on ‘RHOM’, viewers will receive a taste of her personality.
Abraira was always on the move, as she and her family left Haiti to move to Paris when she was only one year old, followed by moving to Miami when she was nine where she attended secondary school and college at St. Thomas University.
“The first thing for me was trying to fit in because you want to have friends and want to be accepted just as you are,” said Abraira about her experience when she first moved to Miami. “You can only imagine a nine-year-old pastor’s kid that is five foot eight, sporting pigtails and ruffled church attire on the first day of school…imagine that?”
That language barrier proved to be extremely challenging, therefore, she realized the solution to her language barrier was to keep things simple and to dedicate her focus to academics and athletics. In doing so, friendships organically formed, and by senior year, Abraira was voted Prom Queen, graduated with honors in her school’s International Baccalaureate Program, and had a scholarship to attend St. Thomas University, a local university where she and her husband both received their bachelor’s degrees.
During her college years, she studied communication arts, became president of the university’s television station, played volleyball, and also took salsa lessons at night to explore various career path options.
It wasn’t until Abraira worked at the university’s events department in the alumni office after graduating that she found her true passion: event planning. Abraira acknowledged that she was enamored by the art of planning events, as she had the luxury to witness notable event producer Barton G. Weiss work his magic for the university’s grand fundraising balls, which inspired her to delve into her career path.
“I realized I liked doing the events but I disliked the bureaucracy of the fundraising side,” she said. “It helped me with funneling my passion into my work because I knew I loved to do parties and knew I was good at it, which then turned into my full-time career.”
As she became deeply enamored with the art of hosting and event planning, Abraira inquired about diving into event planning and landed an opportunity to work as a catering manager at a Radisson Hotel in Miami. She was hungry for the chance to learn the back and front of the house, along with the rest of what the alluring events industry had in store.
“I loved every second of my job at the hotel and loved dreaming up new ideas, conducting events, and most of all, I loved all of the tastings,” she expressed. “Without even noticing, I assisted with tripling the hotel’s catering sales projections.”
While working at the Radisson, Abraira befriended the head Chef. They were really good friends as their love for food brought them together as well as his knowledge of the French language, which they had in common as Abraira’s first language was French. This chef then left to work at Fisher Island and after a few months, Abraira received a call from the human resources director at the island who stated that she was highly recommended to be hired as their Catering Manager. As a result, she was recruited to work on Fisher Island. For the next three years, Abraira produced events for the island’s most notable equity members, such as Oprah, Boris Becker, Julia Roberts, among others.
“Let’s just say that my role as the Fisher Island “Go-to” Party Planner truly shaped my career and allowed me to be in my element and part of the right team,” she said. “I am humbled to know that I was the girl in school that looked like a giraffe and didn’t speak English and who later became the ‘go-to’ girl that knows how to meticulously throw a damn good fête .”
During Abraira’s time as the Fisher Island Hotel catering senior manager, she also befriended the owner of the island floral studio, whose name was Martha. Often, Abraira would visit her during her lunch breaks to provide her with exact design directions to ensure her client’s expectations were met.
“I was not a floral connoisseur at all at that time–just had a good eye for what I knew my clients wanted,” said Abraira.
One day, Martha confided in Abraira and mentioned she was ready to retire. As Martha had owned the studio for 25 years, she was unaware of what to do with the floral studio after a few failed attempts at selling. For Abraira, the opportunity to own the floral studio was a clear sign that she was on the right career path, which also came with a historical moment.
“The day I became the owner of the design studio wasn’t just significant for me, but I believe it was also significant in black history on Fisher Island,” she expressed. “As it turns out, the first owner of Fisher Island was Miami’s first black millionaire, D.A. Dorsey, who purchased the island so that blacks could have a beach of their own, which he then sold to Carl Fisher due to increasing taxes…therefore, my ownership of the design studio on the island was a proud moment.”
The club on the island recruited Abraira again in a different capacity – this time to stay on as a subcontractor planner given the strong rapport she had already established with members. She obliged, which resulted in her not only planning the events but also fully producing them from start to finish. Indeed, this was a huge achievement since it also created a complete niche market as one of its kind to provide both services to clients. This formula was exceptionally popular with Abraira’s jet-setting clients who wanted this turn-key service.
For events, Abraira gains inspiration from every single place she’s at since she is very observant. All the way from trips to Target, an accessory such as a belt, trips to a museum, and more.
“I speak a lot of languages, but I don’t speak basic,” she said. “ I use my energy to be creative…I never thought I was a creative person growing up and all of a sudden it just started channeling itself in different ways, which I have to credit my mom for.”
Abraira’s mother had a very cosmopolitan sense and was a fashion aficionado, as she was a fan of Princess Diana’s fashion choices in the 1980s and also had an imitation ring just like the late Princess. Abraira knew her mother had style and grace, which stuck to her like glue and is utilized for a plethora of her inspiration and taste for events.
Abraira also states the difference between planning corporate and social events. She prefers working on social events, as she finds the process of curating a social event similar to her childhood since she had to reinvent herself in order to belong in the new environment she was integrated into.
“When you do social, it’s the reflection of each individual that is hosting that event, one by one, so you get to recreate one event at a time,” said Abraira.
Abraira is also one of seven siblings, a mother of two boys, and has been with her husband for 26 happy years who she has known since high school. As she is known to be a heavy hitter in the events industry, a businesswoman, and now a reality television star, she balances all in a productive manner, as it goes back to keeping it simple.
“It’s always a challenge…I definitely have my kinks, for instance, when I forget to say I have to travel somewhere,” she said in regards to communicating with her husband. “The thing about it is that my husband and I don’t have any ego with each other, and that’s the core of our success because we keep it very simple.”
As a mother, she explains to her children that her role in the events industry consists of traveling, hard work, and resiliency. The boys are very supportive towards Abraira and her career, they give her the simple hug she needs after returning from a work trip.
Now that she is part of a reality television show, Abraira embraces the opportunity because she wants to empower viewers with her truth and her pathway to success, which she is sure she’ll do.
“It’s all about confidence and not allowing anyone to tell you what you should be,” said Abraira.
In the show, Abraira comes in as a professional, which is a treat for the viewers, since the majority of the characters in other seasons are a group of affluent women residing in a certain city with their wealthy husbands. Abraira’s challenge on the show is juggling being a social party girl and a professional as she helps to plan a castmates’ wedding. . This scenario seems to be the first of this sort of dynamic in the Real Housewives franchise, which brings a refreshing storyline for Bravo fans.
“People see me as the ‘party girl, but what’s interesting is that this is my profession,” she said. “The balancing act is being ‘party Guerdy’ and the ‘professional Guerdy’.”
Being on the show has taught Abraira that she is a Type A personality and how to coexist with a plethora of personalities. This season, viewers can expect Abraira to have patience in executing a grand wedding on the show as well as being very soulful and reserved.
“Viewers will see why I am the way I am and that I am built tough for a reason,” she said. “People will soon understand the ‘Guerdy’ effect.”
Abraira’s hustle and grind also spring from a tragedy her family experienced, which arrived from the deadly earthquake that occurred in Haiti in 2010, where her brother Emmanuel (Manu) and his wife had moved to. Though her family had moved to France when she and her siblings were young, they always longed to go back to their birthplace. Her brother Manu and his wife, who both worked for the United Nations, received that opportunity, which was the reason for their move. That fateful event took the life of Manu and two out of his three young daughters. For Abraira and her extended family, it is the post-earthquake events leading to the recovery of their corpses that cut even deeper.
“After a couple of years since the tragedy happened, I self-evaluated and asked myself if I was truly living my BEST life and to its fullest?… Am I shying away from other parts of myself and too leaning on the Professional Guerdy? …And just like that, I said to myself that I’m going to roar and roar however I choose fit,” she said.
She soon realized that being her full and true self was the only way to operate in the future. Abraira credits her deceased brother for igniting this flame inside as she admits that he lived a fearless and adventurous life and took risks to fulfill his passions.
Manu was always one to believe in her, as she stated he’d always gaze at her for the sole reason that he knew deep down she was going to fulfill her heart’s greatest desires. Her brother even wanted to invest in her floral business. Till this day, Abraira finds reassurance that her brother is still with her spiritually, even sharing a sweet story of a bird that pecks at her office window almost daily.
“I feel like it’s him checking up on me and making sure that I keep my chin up and continue to grind”,” she said. “As said as it is, it’s little reminders like this that keep me going…I’m unstoppable.”
Abraira mentioned that Manu is survived by his wife and his youngest daughter who was close to three years old at the time. She considers her surviving niece Alyahna like a daughter and finds inspiration through her.
With 2021 coming to an end, Abraira has exciting projects coming up including one which focuses on the girl empowerment movement which her young and growing niece is the center and core of this inspiration.
“I want young girls to take the deserving road to success, not the safe or easy way,” said Abraira.
Independence and confidence are the keys for any woman to become successful and leading by her mantra of “keeping it simple”, Abraira’s advice is to keep your head down, do the work, be steady and good things will inevitably come your way.
Overall, Abraira’s goal is to reinvent the thoughts of the girl power idea. She desires to pay it forward by educating, which is the reason behind a seminar she is curating that will contain different layers, all the way from career advice to confidence boosters.
In addition, she also wants to help retrain viewers’ expectations of women in reality television shows. Abraira believes that women can do it all and if they build each other up more than they tear each other down, this will be the manner to impact the next generation.
“We can’t just utter the words ‘girl power’, we have to act it out and this starts by keeping it simple…a simple act of kindness or a simple compliment extended to a fellow woman, THAT is girl power”,” said Abraira. “Yes, the drama will be inevitable while being a part of The Real Housewives of Miami franchise, however, I want viewers to see who I was, who I am, and who I will become, and for this to happen I am willing to walk into the fire and look forward to ‘Guerdyfying’ this world one day at a time.”
Photographer: Filbert Kung @filbert_kung
Makeup: Alicia Lewis @themakeupali
Hair: Peggy Mackey @peggymackeybeauty
Styling: Waïna Chancy @wainachancy
Producer + PR: Matthew Dillon @mattdillon1983
Co-Producer: Natalie Steger @natalietsteger
Interview: Aida M Toro @aidamtoro
Location: Wuul Studios, Miami, Florida @wuul_studios