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 (National Government 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

faces to watch-manila fashion festival now 2016
FASHION, MODELS TALK

FACES TO WATCH – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW 2016

The names of Ria Bolivar, Justine Gabionza and Sara Kae Custodio-Cruz are few of those who have a established career out of their heels. New models may come, but these ladies are still on their prime and ascertained their runway worthiness to be recognized as top models of the Philippines.

For Manila Fashion Festival Now 2016, we were able to spot the girls that we predict to be the successors of runway nyoras. These freshies have that major “it” factor that made them stand out from the pool of breathing mannequins. Although some of them may have done work in the past, this season is where they pushed the limits that made them a true stand out. The initial girls were shortlisted to 10, but we decided to make it a 12 plus a bonus.  

Note: List below in alphabetical order

Arianna Cowper/ PW Models

Photo by Mike Server

It can never be good as it gets when this elegant new comer landed on the scene. Bringing a bold and feisty deal on the catwalk is what Arianna is. It’s the youthful bombshell appeal, together with that charming personality are the attributes that makes her lovable to clients. Yes she is young, but she is downright gorgeous that put smiles in our faces.

Brandi Branfuhr / YEOH Models

Photo by yours truly

The defiant beauty appeared on Via Valencia S/S 2016 collection which made everyone asking for her name. Her cold aura is a massive fashion allure that was evident on top-tier designer shows. She can easily become an aristocrat in Cheetah Rivera, and a disruptive crew in Renan Pacson x Gnarly. She doesn’t need to conform to mainstream, for her on her own is an impressive influence of the atypical crowd. Two sum it in two words, Brandi is a “Catwalk Conqueror”.

Carla Hufano/ Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

The Asian doll faced is commonly desired by the orient. However, she comes off as a severe version that works well in the path that she has chosen. She owns her razor cheeks, angular shoulders, and piercing eyes with much confidence. Carla has somehow left a memorable mark for us, a true wow factor moment for a star in the making.

Cassie Reyes / Elite Manila

Photo from Preview PH

Discovered on Instagram by her booker, Cassie was lifted into new heights by the buzz that she created which earned her with a feature in Preview Magazine. The 5 foot 8 Filipina’s chill and natural look is delightfully striking in pure frenzy. Standing out from the crowd is her forte – a one of a kind charisma that we will continually see in seasons to come.

Erla Garcia/ Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

The brown-skinned stunner emanates that classic Filipina presence, and gives a stabbing gaze upon her turn on the catwalk. Any camera holder during the show proper would yearn to capture that cinematic charisma of hers. It’s just reasonable to say that her spit fire debut created a deep impact. A death stare in her eyes only means she is serious to do business in the modelling industry.

Genica Contreras / Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

Our first impression with Genica on the casting call is a soft-spoken girl with a lot of potential. However, the introvert beauty created a lot of buzz during Manila Fashion Festival Now. Her perfect editorial face which is very European belongs to pages of high fashion magazines. Starting from Face of the Philippines Season 3, her show list strolled all the way until the finale day. From what we’ve seen, the model freshman is equivalent into an eccentric diamond-in-a-rough ready to shine and steal the limelight.

Joma Bernardo / PW Models

Photo by yours truly

Androgyny is her secret ingredient. Joma is truly proud and comfortable in her own skin and it shows. She is not afraid to represent the blur between genders and it has been paid off by appearing on a number of shows in the F/W 2016. This season, she walked exclusively for Brit Tripudio’s collection, shaking things up again with her ultra-femme signature walk. Unique persona as you may call it. Nevertheless, it’s indisputable that she is a total package.

Ksenia Zambon / Reign Models

Photo from Preview PH

Appearing on the crème dela crème shows in Manila Fashion Festival Now, Ksenia is a force to reckon with. Aristocratic by beauty and effortless by nature – She rivals most of the striking faces on Philippine fashion with a killer presence. The model has made an instant impact to be a coveted girl this season. Should there be a girl who is a budding star, we know it is her with the capital K.

Maria Rivera

Photo by yours truly

The first-ever trans model recognized by the fashion industry in the Philippines was able to rebrand her image . She courageously chopped her long-raven locks for a modern-day Louise Brooks do. This instantly turned her into a high fashion doll, with her pale skin and slender form to match. Maria equally delivers a job well done from her bookings, especially when she took the number one spot on Cheetah Rivera’s latest collection. Her runway takeover is on full-fledged and it won’t stop there as Maria is part of the continuous model breakthrough in the country.

Martin Tuanquin

Martin Tuanquin in the middle. Photo from Megastyle PH

Gender bending in the Philippines will never be completed without Martin. One look would immediately flash an intense interest. The androgynous Asian face has taken a break last season, but someone who is bound to be notice will always end up in the right places. Martin made a comeback as one of the openers of Renan Pacson x Gnarly. Through every step and squint from her, Martin always wants you to remember her name, and we are never misunderstanding something from this girl-on-the-hype.

Naiara Arcuri / Black Diamond LCP

Photo by yours truly

Brazilians are usually known for their big hair and golden tan. It was the opposite case for Naiara, who rather turned out to be edgy and astonishing with her au-natural crop. The leggy model appeared on shows for Manila Fashion Festival NOW with a mighty strut. For a new comer, she was hard to miss as she knows how to dominate and dictate the energy on the runway. With this, she did an orbit of shows proving how truly she can be bankable with the top designers.

Rizza Decena/ Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

It was the right timing when Rizza was scouted to join Face of the Philippines Season 3. She showed us that being a fresh face can emerge as “MVP” in Manila Fashion Festival NOW. The girl resembles a baby Rihanna with the right presence to connect through clients and audience. Even with a newbie status, she snagged our attention with her trademark unruly fro and almond eyes. We even wonder if someone can give her a ticket to model overseas since everything about Rizza is destined to cross markets.

 

Bonus:

Arin Cruz

Photo from Preview PH

Little Ms. Sunhsine – Arin Cruz comes from a family of fashion. She was born with what we call the “golden shoes in her feet”. At a young age, she is experiencing a taste of being in the front row (We’re totally jealous). The young fashionista wears the trendiest pieces, and is already working the runway every season. With your Mama as your personal runway coach, and your Papa teaching you with fashion economics, you get a promising model with the sweetest first impression.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

Manila Fashion Festival
FASHION, MODELS TALK

INSIDE THE CASTING CALL – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

Model Compcards at the deliberation table.

The first day of October for 2016 is the day that will determine the who’s-who on the designers’ list of runway army. They have the responsibility of representing the story of the collection, and ensuring that every moment in the spotlight is translated into footsteps on gold. That is why a crucial casting process is part of the main ingredients that makes up a stellar show. My blog is spilling the beans on what happens within the casting process which is normally secluded to the majority of the industry’s followers in the country.

The Waiting Game

Upon arriving at the Art Personas office, a group of models, looking effortlessly flawless in the midst of the waiting game will welcome your sight. Some would scroll endlessly on their mobile phones, some would engage in small talks with model peers; some would carry a novel with them, and some center and gather their energy for the casting directors.

Welcoming rights

The models would first register on the agency’s lounge. Their measurements are taken by the assigned staff and a number They are quickly snapped for a digitals (soft copy of what we usually call as Model Polaroid) and assigned with a number for their batch line up.

The “Judgement Hour”

They are being called by batch for the eyes of top fashion Director – Jackie Aquino and the designers themselves. They are given few minutes to impress the panel with their presence and walk. Sometime in the middle, Dir. Jackie would take a moment to review the model digitals per batch to see how they look with in natural light without makeup. I was fully amazed and focused how good he indentify those who are runway ready and has that “bookable potential” from the group. He is very specific on the things that he points, showing how experienced he is on doing things like this.

The Casting Team carefully scrutinizing each model. 

On the other side of the table are the designers busy jotting down the names and numbers of the models that they think best embody their collection. Some of them shared their insights on their model criteria:

“ I’m looking for new faces from different races. They must look international.” – Rhett Eala.

“Someone who has a proportionate body. Not pretty, but appealing.” – Arleen Sipat-Sutton of AZUCAR.

“My current collection is about passion, love, woman and flamenco. It’s a celebration of diversity in womanhood.” – Cheetah Rivera.

Final Look Up

Day-end model check to complete their squad. 

As the day reached 6pm, the panel collated all compcards and checked whether they can still dig and find an undiscovered or overlooked potential from the number of model applicants. From the last minute, a few were selected as final addition to the designers’ model crew based on their cards. This is the point where we can really stress the importance of having a professional-looking compcard with strong-edgy images that is worthy of a second glance. Those who will make the cut will be notified accordingly and will be invited for fittings. I have noted some new face favorites that I’m truly dying to see walking the most coveted designer shows. In a few weeks, it will be another round of fresh-from-the cutting room pieces, parading to satisfy the editors and fashion people’s craving. For those who qualified, the runway is your next grilling room.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

manila-fashion-festival-ss-2017
FASHION, MODELS TALK

JOIN THE GUEST LIST – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

 

Manila Fashion Festival NOW promotional. 
Image via Manilafashionfestival.com

The runway of all runway shows in the Philippines is ready to bring the lights back and present the freshly-tailored collections for the next season. Witness the parade of high fashion ensembles at Edsa Shangri-la (click to see in Google Maps) on October 18 to 21 2016.

As the event was voted as the as Best Fashion Show of 2014 by Stylebible.ph readers (source: Wikipedia), the people behind Manila Fashion Festival constantly aims to bring the show outside the “fandom mentality” by allowing fashion lovers within and outside the elite circle to watch the show in flesh.

Manila Fashion Festival NOW schedule and show list (click to enlarge)
Images sent via email by manilafashionfestival.com after confirmation of registration. 

Go ahead and visit their official website and click Registration->Runway Shows. Complete the needed details and select the preferred date and show block that you wish to attend. By the looks of it, it’s going to be a long day of fahsiongasmic moments as Day two and four have afternoon shows. I can only commit to attend evening shows due to my real job responsibilities. Battling the 6pm traffic going to the venue can be true fashionista challenge, but we know it’s all worth the sweat. You can catch me there snapping models all the time. Hope to see you there.

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

MODELS @ PHILIPPINE FASHION WEEK HOLIDAY 2016

Shermaine (PMAP) and her freezing stare

Perhaps this is the most memorable of any fashion event I’ve ever been. Aside from being impressed from Jerome Salaya Ang’s collection, and seeing the comeback of one my early faves – Rodina Luspo on the runway, I almost lost my cool when I realized my camera bag is nowhere out of sight. The PHFW people and Discovery Primea security were very nice to help me until they cleared the venue. Unfortunately, my camera bag plus its accessory are already in the hands of someone else. Still, I’m very thankful that my PENTAX Q7 is with me when the bag became missing in action. I really don’t know how I will react if the camera was inside that bag? Maybe I’ll be sobbing till I don’t know when and I won’t be able to do some blog post for this season of PHFW.

Then again, the blog must go on. In between those moments, I managed to take some runway photos and after show model pics despite of what happened. Glad to know that seeing my beloved runway stars from different agencies could atleast cheer me up. Thank you also to Mr Tex and Mr Mito of PHFW for extending a helping hand, and to Jana Stuntz and Hye Won for calming my nerves down with our small talk 🙂

Click or hover the image to see model’s name and agency.

All photos are taken by me. Please credit me and my blog upon usage. 

Bless the models

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

PHILIPPINE FASHION WEEK HOLIDAY 2016 SCHEDULE

Image Source: @tinaherrera_ Instagram

For every fashion nerds’ reference. Be sure to get your kits and eyes ready to witness the latest collection from some of our country’s top designers.

Screenshot of the registration form sent via link on email

Some designers have already sent their e-invite link that will lead to the registration. As a common practice, the actual e-invite is being received after submitting the completely filled-out form. But up to now, it seems that the e-invite is not yet available in my inbox and its subfolders (tears).Not so sure, but it seems some folks are also experiencing the same since   Hoping that just like last season, the tickets will be sent days before the show. Regardless, we will never hesitate to confirm those and wait through long lines just to watch the fresh creations and witness our favorite models.

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

MODEL SPOTLIGHT – JAKE VILLUMSEN

Photo from Art Personas Management

The local fashion scene in the Philippines is also a breeding ground for new faces. Joining the catwalk cliques of the established ones may be a tough challenge for an inexperienced one. Success doesn’t just rely on looks and hard work. Reality is, everything should happen on the right timing, demand and opportunities. For a newbie, the game is just get noticed and book more, or get lost and be forgotten. As one of the models would say – “You really have to hustle”.

Jake in action. Walking for Mark Tamayo on Manila Fashion Festival F/W 2016.
Photos from StyleBible.ph

From the pool of hundreds of models who attended the open call, one lucky guy who just recently signed up with Art Personas Management made us recap the meaning of the law of attraction. The Danish-Filipino mix gave birth to Jake, whose height and killer brows would speak as runway ready. He was welcomed by the agency heads (Mr Ronnie Cruz, CEO of Art Personas and his wife, Ms Sara Kae) and has easily made friends with the other models because of his friendly nature.

Look who’s working?
Photos from zalora.com.ph

Being lined with aircraft technology as his education, we have seen him applied the same theory of being fly when he walked the F/W 2016 season of Manila Fashion Festival. Due to his prior commitments, he only stayed for the first day despite other bookings. We even overheard someone saying “Please just stay here and do more shows”. Mr Villumsen was discovered by Casting Director –Junel Quinones and though having a new career, he has to juggle lots of stuff before catching his flight- fittings; Zalora lookbook shoot for Mark Tamayo & Chris Diaz; actual runway show, and the whole waiting game for the show preparation. Before he packed his bags, he shared some of his time for a quick chat.

No bad angle. He works that backstage photo like a pro.
Photo from megastyle.com.ph

B: What excites you about modelling?
J: The people in front of you, cause even though you can’t see them because of the lights, you just walk and focus on the cameras.

B: So how did you prepare for your first runway show?
J: Ms Sara, she thought me how to walk through a workshop in Art Personas. After that, wherever I go I just practice walking even just on the streets.

B: How does it feel walking on the runway?
J: Well, in the backstage I’m not yet nervous. I feel excited, but when I’m walking its like black out and go straight.

B: What do you think is your trademark as a model?
J: Maybe my right ear. It’s a bit smaller than the left one (laughs).

B: Do you have any dream job other than modelling?
J: It’s the course that I took – fixing aircraft. I also studied bar tending in Thailand. But that is just my hobby, I just want to learn.

B: How about your goals in modelling?
J: I never thought that I could be a ramp model til I was discovered. During wardrobe fitting I had a brief talk with Mr. Jackie Aquino, the shows Director and he welcomed me to the modelling world and to the Art Personas family also. With that, I am forever grateful to them. I realized that modelling is not only glamour, the lights, make up but also the hardworking and good people behind it. That inspires me to love and do my best at least to fit in to the industry and become one of the best male models around. (laughs)

B: What do you miss about your life before modelling?
J: Haircut. Before, you can do anything to your hair or something. Right now, you need to ask your agent first if it is okay. Like the past few weeks, I wanted to have my hair cut but my agent said no because you have a look book shoot, and i need to look the same on the runway.

B: Has walking Manila Fashion Festival changed your style?
J: Yeah. Before I don’t like colourful stuff. Now I managed to walk with it around. I feel comfortable now walking in any clothes.

B: Despite of your busy schedule lately, how do you find time for yourself?
J: If there is no show, I just ask my friends what’s the set up if you’re going out? I wanna’ join you guys. I’m also travelling back and forth in Denmark.

B: How do you see yourself here say after 5 years?
J: I want to see myself working in airlines and maybe as a model at the same time.

B: How do you manage stress whenever you are preparing or the actual show?
J: Just relax and do what I had prepared

B: What was your dream before becoming a model?
J: When I was a kid, I have a lot of dreams. Like becoming a doctor, being a pilot. Now I realized, I enjoy more on fixing stuff so I studied aircraft mechanics.

B: If you can trade your life with a fellow model? Who is that and why?
J: Maybe Daniel Matsunaga. Since he has good looks and is confident when walking on the runway, just having fun.

Bless the models!

Ben.