FASHION, MODELS TALK

LEGITIMATELY LIZZY

Photo: Jerick Sanchez
Makeup : Syd Helmsley
All credit goes to its respective owners

Years ago, there was this buzz on fashion forums about a Filipina-British model making waves on the fashion scene, represented by the biggest agencies in major fashion capitals. She goes by the nickname Lizzy (Born Rosemary-Anne Elizabeth Burden), who gave a twist to the typical English Rose beauty with her South East Asian mix. Most of us followers only knew about her through the edgy body of work and opportunities she had in her career, such as working with Katie Grand and sharing a runway with Alessandra Ambrosio. Little did we know, she is a woman with a voice and substance who extends beyond what we see. 

I gushed with excitement when I got the opportunity to meet her for a Saturday dinner. She waved and welcomed me in her cute British accent. Before the interview, we talked about some of her endeavors outside modelling. To be honest, I arrived with the idea of getting information on her career background, but our conversation ended up where I got some inspiring advice from her, especially when it comes to pursuing your passion and the love of your life. The self-confessed frugal is also a smart and dedicated student, who recently decided to lend her footsteps to the Filipino fashion arena under the management of Elite Manila. Her intelligent insight on her model journey is pretty impressive, and her mature approach on things is something worth our attention.  

Photos from Fashion Model Directory
All credit goes to its respective owners

When you were young, how did you understand modelling

I admired the grace and elegance of the women in the magazines, but I didn’t realize how much creative work went into those pictures. It isn’t just the model – it’s also the photographer, the hair and makeup artists, the stylist, the designer and manufacturers of the clothes, the agent, the casting team… Back then, all I saw was the end product: beauty. 

How did that perception change now that you are a model? 

I’ve learned that fashion isn’t just art, it’s also business. As a model, you need to sell your brand. You need excellent people skills so that you can build relationships with agencies and clients – you must always be a pleasure to work with. There’s so much behind each photo and I’ve come to appreciate that over the years. 

What were the struggles that you encountered when you were starting? 

I was lucky to have a relatively easy beginning. From Manchester I went to London, then to Milan and Paris, then New York. But that first year, I got alopecia – you know, when your hair falls out. I guess I was overwhelmed by everything, and it was even more stressful because my whole income relied on my looks. But I learned to stop caring about it. I found that I could spray the patches with black. Thankfully, no one laughed at me and I kept booking jobs. Cultivating that self-acceptance was a big life lesson. Only when I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me did my hair grow back.

Of all the countries in Asia, what made you decide to choose Philippines as your next stop? 

I’m doing postgraduate studies in International Relations. From an academic perspective, it was a simple choice: it’s such an interesting time here politically – to say the least – and I wanted to perfect my Tagalog. From a personal perspective, modeling here is a wonderful opportunity to return to my motherland and spend time with my Filipino family.

How do you differentiate the pressure in modelling vs. your other priorities, like school? 

I don’t find modeling to be high-pressure. Sure, it’s competitive, but I don’t waste time thinking negatively about the competition. I’m only responsible for myself, unlike in my corporate job where I was responsible for 100 people. Plus, I’m my own boss as a model, so the only pressure is how much I put on myself, which is the same as in academia, ultimately. Agents and professors can push you, but it’s your career and your degree in the end. I’m constantly learning how to push myself better. Both modeling and academia take self-motivation and careful time management – especially balancing the two – so the skills from both fields feed into each other. But I think the most important part of pushing yourself effectively is finding enjoyment in it. For instance, I enjoy taking care of my body because working out makes me feel good – you can’t argue with endorphins! Staying in shape is just the by-product. When you truly enjoy a challenge, whatever it is, the pressure disappears.

You’ve jumped from one fashion capital to another. How was it living with complete strangers, especially in the model apartment? 

I’ve only lived in model apartments twice but both times my roommates became my friends. All I’d say to anyone moving into a model apartment would be follow the basic human rules. You know, respect the other person and their privacy, be considerate when they want to sleep, be clean and tidy, don’t burden them with your problems. When you give that respect to them, you can expect it back. That’s the basis of a happy co-living arrangement, right? (Laughs).

You have worked with a lot of bookers from different agencies; can you give the top 3 beauty advice you had from them? 

Common sense!

• Exercise regularly.
• Sleep consistently.

• Eat clean, lean and green and keep hydrated.

 

Photo from Elite London via Bellazon forum
All credit goes to its respective owners

You have an impressive book, what posing tips can you give us when it comes to selfies and full body shots? 

Focus on the mood that you’re trying to convey and it will shine through your eyes. Only think about body angles and lighting secondarily; that way the result will be natural.

Is there anything that you would like to explore more or venture on? 

One thing I’ve been really impressed to find in the Philippines is that there’s a strong eco-ethical fashion movement. I got to do a show with Miranda Konstantinidou in Cebu and at the end, she had her entire crew on stage. She cares about them, and we could all feel it. The entire the front row was crying. Her company is something like 99% female and production is 100% in-house, which means her staff get fair rates for their work. It’s the opposite of fast fashion. There are also designers here like Zacharias and Joanique who are using indigenous materials such as mother of pearl, and others still who are incorporating innovative fibers like pinya (from the pineapple) into their designs. I’m excited that this movement is happening and I want to champion it because I’m so proud that it’s happening here.

As one of the new generation models with Filipino blood, how have you witnessed the evolution having Filipino models on the scene? 

When I started modeling, I felt like Asian models weren’t really considered. It was, “we’ll put one token black girl in the show and maybe an Asian for good measure”. Now, I’m very happy that Asian beauty is getting more of the recognition it deserves. 

What can young Filipino models expect when they want to break in to the western scene? 

When I was in New York, I was put into the “ethnically ambiguous” category. What is that? One day I’d be Latina, black the next, then Asian. Somehow, they didn’t know how to pinpoint the Filipina look. It was great commercially – I was every woman! But I think it’s very important to be proud of Filipina beauty in its own right. Fashion, by its nature, is constantly changing, so we have to keep faith in our power to redefine the categories, shift the goalposts.

Photos from Elite London via Bellazon forum
All credit goes to its respective owners

How did this career change you? 

It has made me more independent. At a young age, I got to travel the world and meet people from lots of different cultures – that made me more empathetic. Modeling has also helped me to keep my own counsel. You have to work with different crews every day, you are moving from city to city, so you need to be a friend to yourself, that voice in your own head who says, “you are beautiful, you are a good person, you can achieve whatever you apply yourself to”. Learning to be kind to myself has helped me in every aspect of life.

What direction do you see yourself now you’re here in Philippines?

While I finish studying, I want to maximize all the opportunities in fashion I have here, and do the best work I can across the spectrum of editorial and commercial. I’m also an ambassador for Liter of Light, which is the first clean energy NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in Asia. Their work is amazing. They teach women to build sustainable light sources, so that in itself creates jobs, and having light at night helps to prevent rape and theft. It means kids can study when the sun goes down. So my goal is to use modeling to expand my platform to promote this kind of work. One of my role models is Emma Watson. She was studying at Oxford when I was at Cambridge. Because of her acting career, she has a big audience who listen when she’s promoting women’s rights – now she’s a UN ambassador for women. I aim to combine my academic background with my work in fashion and documentary film to have a positive influence in the world.

Before we wrapped our interview, I asked her take on things she considers as “First”: 

Love – I was besotted with some older boy I met at the local disco when I was kid. I couldn’t stop talking about him for a year!

Modelling gig – I was scouted for a little shoot in the Philippines when I was 13, but my mum wasn’t very happy about it so I didn’t model again until I’d nearly finished school.

Disney movie – The Lion King. 

Impression that a model should do – Be on time.

Thing that she notices to a guy – Confidence.

…Bizarre talent – I used to really, really like Elvis Presley. I won a talent competition in school where I dressed as him and sang “Heartbreak Hotel” with my toy guitar!

Photo from Elite London via Bellazon forum
All credit goes to its respective owners

With special thanks to Stig Latorre of Elite Model Management – Manila

Ben
GeekyBF.com

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FASHION, MODELS TALK

FACE OF THE PHILIPPINES DELEGATE MAKES THE TOP 10 CUT

Those legs are meant for the runway!
Image source: Facebook

Asia New Star Model Contest – the competition that shows the diverse Asian beauty scouted representatives from the corners of the biggest continent through their respective networks per participating Asian countries. Last October 2016, the winners from the Face of Philippines S2 were selected from hopefuls. Along with the handpicked candidate, they were flown to South Korea this May 2016 to compete to the said contest.

A face made for beauty. Kathlyn is giving her 101% for this backstage photo
Image source: @faceofthephilippines

As a clear stand out though her obvious sky scrapper height, Kathlyn Asuncion has been an early favorite even in the rounds of local fashion shows. The girl doesn’t have to try hard as she is born with feline-like gaze straight from the 50s era. Continuously booking jobs for two seasons on Manila Fashion Festival became her training ground to build her confidence more and live in accordance to demand of her high heels. Aside from her hard work, her ever-supporting family are always there to witness her glide with the pros and give life to the theatrics of the shows. Fast forward to May 2016, she and other delegates from the Philippines jet set to South Korea to battle it out step-by-step with the delegates from other Asian country.

Kathlyn walking for Randy Ortiz in Manila Fashion Festival F/W 2016
Photo by Blessthemodels.com

Walking with all her collected gears through months of experience, Ms. Kathlyn impressed the crowd and finished at top 10. It’s just months since she started submerging herself to the actual fashion scene, but we are puzzled if it is still appropriate for her to be called as newbie, knowing that she works like she’s been doing this for years. She may have not grabbed the number one spot, but her experiences and her potential is more than just number one. A big congratulatory hugs to you and your fellow FOP delegates.

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

THE (RUMORED) PINAY BEAUTIES ON ASIA’S NEXT TOP MODEL CYCLE 4 – POSSIBLE SPOILER

Image Source: Facebook

A facebook spoiler post that was shared by a friend of mine made my eyes popped like crazy. The post contains the beauty shots of the possible contenders on the 4th cycle of Asia’s Next Top Model. I immediately opened the unofficial  fan page that posted the spoiler teaser. One of their previous post shows the three girls representing the Philippines. They have already made a name in The local pageant scene and have dipped their stilettos on some modelling gigs. Please take note that the Asia’s Next Top Model has not yet released the official models for this cycle.

ALAIZA MALINAO / MERCATOR MODELS / BB. PILIPINAS 2015 TOP 15 FINALIST
Image Source: Facebook

GWENDOLINE RUAIS / PMAP / MISS WORLD 2011 1ST RUNNER UP
Image Source: Facebook

JULIAN AURINE FLORES / BB. PILIPINAS 2014 TOP 15 FINALIST
Image Source: Facebook

By analyzing their background, If they are indeed the official rep from the Philippines, I am crossing my fingers that their pageant background will not hinder their chances on being edgy and editorial. Hopefully, they can shed their pageant skin and reveal a true model self behind all the glitz that they’ve been known for.

Official premiere date of the 4th cycle on Star World Asia on March 9, 2015.

=========================================================

Update: The three Filipina beauties are the official representative of the Philippines Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 4. 

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

BEFORE THE CATWALK

They are today’s on-the-radar models of Philippine fashion. We’ve seen them swayed and stared fiercely on the camera. As they make their turn on the end of the catwalk, we will also turn back the hands of time and help them recall a nostalgic moment in their life.

I have chased these girls and borrowed a few minutes of their time to ask this question –What was your initial dream before becoming a model?

 

 

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FASHION, MODELS TALK

WHO WILL WIN ASIA’S NEXT TOP MODEL CYCLE 2?

After a shocking goodbye from Marie Nakagawa (Japan), the competition now hails the final three girls. Being a Filipino, I’m so proud that the two Filipina- Jodilly and Katarina made it up to the final episode. They will be competing with Sheena, the blonde Malaysian girl who also has an excellent performance throughout the competition. She reminds me of a blonde version of Filipina model Charlene Almarvez with a more ethnic face.  Because of her edgy-high fashion potential and consistent performance, most of us are expecting for Nicole to be on the top three, but she was axed on during their Malaysia Airline shoot.

Final three from L to R: Jodilly Pendre (Philippines), Katarina Rodriguez (Philippines) and Sheena Liam (Malaysia). See notes for the image source.

Going back to the two the two Filipina, I am crossing my fingers for either one of them to bring the title but I’m really rooting for Jodilly to win. Katarina is bestowed with a face of gold but her height does not really meet the international standards, unlike Jodilly who is standing at a towering 5’10”.  The two of them have a strong body of work which increases our country’s chances of winning. A lot of thoughts are dwindling in my head about the show, but all we can do right now is to hold our breath and waiting for Wednesday is like waiting for years. To remind us again, the winner will take home the following prizes which will be tangible in the days to come:

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

A three-month contract with Storm Model Management in London, the chance to appear in a spread and on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore/Malaysia, a cash prize from FOX International Broadcast, a Subaru XV car, and the chance of becoming the new face of TRESemmé for one of their 2014 campaigns.

Let us all catch the finale of Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 2 this Wednesday at 8:50PM on Star World.

Image Sources:

Jodilly – http://www.behance.net/gallery/Jodilly-Pendre/14619273

Katarina – http://instagram.com/p/l3oL2EmpoC/

Sheena – http://starworldasia.tv

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

RISSA MANANQUIL-TRILLO

Rissa Mananquil Trillo Metro Magazine Illustration
Model: Rissa Mananquil-Trillo
Photographer: Sara Black for Metro Magazine August 2013 issue
Illustration by: Ben L.Ferrer

The world of ballet was her first stage. She decided to give modeling a try and the experience became her road to success. Becoming the first ever Pinay to grace an ad with Benetton is only the start. Her checklist also includes a Management degree, movie and hosting stint, former PMAP President, product endorser, and a spot as a columnist in The Philippine Star,

Being a working mom can bring huge responsibilities, but it is her inner confidence and sophistication that helped her to be where she is now. As one of the brand ambassadors of the Ponds Age Miracle line, she redefined beauty beyond exterior and adding a number to your age is equivalent to blossoming into a more beautiful version of one’s self. Together with her grace and poise, she perfectly fits the shoe of a “beauty icon” representing a modern day Filipina.

Bless the models!!!

Ben.