Patricia Zavala

She’s sitting in one of the waiting rooms of the hotel in Cancun. It’s half past three in the morning and a few souls are wandering around the facility; it’s Monday and even in Cancun, people have to rest after a crazy weekend. But not Paty. In the distance, she sees the magazine’s crew walk in and immediately gets off the couch to greet them. With a smile and a hug, she welcomes us. It’s time to work… one of television’s most transcendental hosts has a hot date: It’s us!

Her warm reception and beauty leave no doubt as to why she is one Latin America’s most talented hosts and why her show is one of the most successful in the network, where she can show off an impressive guest list including but not limited to: George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Sofía Vergara, Jim Parsons, Jared Leto, Chris Pratt and Matthew McConaughey. Nobody is with her. There is no unnecessary glamour nor assistants. She pushes forward on her own and reports ready to begin.

“I think that the show’s success is due to the fact that I love what I do. That is the key for things to go the way they should. Plus I have the fortune of collaborating with people who love their job”, she confesses during a short session of make-up touch up before her first round of photos.

Inside E! Entertainment’s line-up, Coffee Break was a section inside another show, like E! VIP (Caracas/Brazil) and Trendy Zone (Colombia/Mexico). But not much time passed before this small section took over the network’s prime time. It was in 2011 when it won it’s own spot and Patricia started to interview Hollywood’s crème de la crème as well as Latin and worldwide celebrities.

Did you ever imagine that Coffee Break would become what it is today?
No, never! I started working behind the cameras since I was 17. I was a stylist and I edited videos; I did this about seven years ago. I studied social communication and then film in London. My dream was to become an editor, to be behind cameras.

How did you get into this network then?
In 2010 I was a contestant in Chica E! Venezuela. I won. A year later, when that contract finished, I was offered Coffee Break and here I am. Now, almost five years later and after filming almost one hundred episodes, I never imagined that it would become what it is now. I think that not even the network or my team imagined this at first, but it worked, worked, worked and suddenly we were on prime time!

Did any factor help launch your show?
In the first show we had George Clooney as a guest and that was a surprise. I think that his appearance opened the doors to other guests.

You escaped to London to study film, how has it helped in television?
I decided to go one summer. I went for one semester and it helped a lot. For example, now that I have this show I know how production works so I can help my team do their job.

While we were shooting in the beach of Me Cancun, we felt thirsty. All logic said that it was due to the heat (35 degrees), but seeing Patricia play with the ocean waves and seduce the camera, without a doubt, caused effects similar to dehydration. Little time was needed for us to realise that she is the perfect MAXIM woman. Although she is a girl with a dazzling body, our interest in her does not end there. On the contrary, what we really care about is that she is a woman who succeeds in her field, and that she is lined up to achieve much more than what she has now. “I love comedy, it’s something that I have studied and I’m very good at it. But I want to grow more in my field. I’ll never leave television, I like interviews, and I love it. Besides, it’s my career, you know? It’s what I studied”, she confesses as we finish the first shots.

The moment has arrived for us to get on our vans and head to Tulum. A two-hour journey lies ahead to reach La Zebra beach. Patricia feels fresh and full of energy. She is very happy at the beach: “I needed the Caribbean, the water. It’s different in Miami; the water is very cold and tough to get into. It’s different here, and the colour of the sea fascinates me. I love Tulum… and all of the Riviera Maya. It’s a place that every person must visit before they die”, she sentences and nobody in the crew debates this idea. Before we continue our session, we relax a while and order something to eat. Patricia enjoys a ceviche and a cup of green tea. Something curious for a host of a show that revolves around coffee. Clearing up this paradox was necessary: “The first thing I do when I wake up, even before breakfast, is to get my mobile phone and check messages. I then get a cup of coffee and check what has happened in the world. During the day I drink green tea, it wakes me up but it doesn’t get me hyperactive,” she confesses.

Do you get excited when in one of those messages you know who the next guest is?
I can’t even believe it myself! When I read the name of the next guest in my email I’m always amazed.

What interviews hold a special place for you?
I feel that there is no point of comparison. I have talked to many people and you learn something from all of them. My interviews have been incredible experiences. I don’t have a favourite one. There are some special ones when you say “Wow! What a great experience!”.

Like which ones?
For example, we once filmed Charlize Theron in a castle that served as the location for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman. Going to a special place offers a completely different experience. The one with George Clooney is very important as it was the first one.

What do you do for fun?
I’m not about big groups. I love being at home with my family. Besides, in Miami you can’t do much, everything closes at two in the morning! In my spare time I exercise, listen to music and go for a walk.

What music are you into?
It’s overwhelming! A song comes on that I like and I listen to it eight hundred thousand times. I’m currently in love with Patrick Watson, everything that comes out from him in Spotify I leave on for hours and hours.

The sun hides behind the ocean. Our session with Patricia ends, while she walks towards a table that we have prepared, she covers herself up with a towel. I go to her and ask her what she wants to drink: “After all this… a tequila!” We order one and, with a glass in hand, all that’s left is to know what she thought of the MAXIM experience. “I haven’t done sessions like this — so straightforward. I have done modelling jobs in swimsuits, but this is the first time that I’ve posed for a men’s lifestyle magazine. I thought that I had passed this stage, but it was nice to come back to these types of photos. It was a more natural experience, which is liberating”. The spectacular Venezuelan woman who was born in the west side of the Paraguaná peninsula left us speechless. In the entire meeting that we had prior to this session this detail never came up. It’s the first time that she’s done this, so let’s say no more except… MAXIM readers, enjoy one of the most beautiful and important talents in Latin America. ■

By Gabriel Guajardo
Photographed by Marcovich

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