JW Marriot Dubai-OctoberFest

Filipino Models: La Liga Filipina

Filipino Models: La Liga Filipina

Photographer:  Raen Badua

Wardrobe Stylist:  Slava Nemish

Make-Up Artist:  Eric Vosburg

Hairstylist:  Justin Arellano

 

Models: 

Alexander Dominguez – Red Model Management

Danica Magpantay – Ford Models

Francis Ariosa – Wilhelmina Models NYC

Paul Kiefer – Major Models

Stephanie Retuya – Wilhelmina Models NYC

 

La Liga Filipina

By Nicholo Jallores

 Meet the new breed of Filipino reformistas instigating a revolution in global fashion, transcending race barriers, and creating positive cultural change. 

You would be hard-pressed to think that models – of all the types of overseas Filipinos – would be at the forefront of revolutionizing the way Filipinos are represented in the global stage, but apparently, they are. They are in the thick of the Revolution, and they got there sans the bloodshed of a boxer, the theatrics of a performer, or the overly choreographed perfection of a beauty queen. Used to be that to earn any measure of renown as an international Filipino model you would have to fit a visual mold that bordered on racial caricature, but now, the new crop of Filipino models typify an arresting sort of cultural ambiguity. They blur the lines, as opposed to reinforcing them. It’s not about being a South East Asian / Pacific Islander wearing nice clothes and posing; it’s just about modelling, which is exactly as it should be.

Say hello to the league of extraordinary Filipinos in the world of Fashion.

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ALEXANDER DOMINGUEZ – RED MODEL MANAGEMENT

How did you become a model? Did you always want to be one?

I did not always plan on being a model. After I graduated college I wanted to work in different fields to see what I truly enjoyed doing. After a couple of jobs I did not enjoy, a photographer from Maryland (Randolph Garret) reached out to me for a photo shoot. I sent out some photos to at least 30 agencies around the world. Finally RED models NY contacted me and gave me the opportunity to enter the fashion industry.

Most significant campaigns so far. Which one are you most proud of and why?

I am proud to have worked with a lot of brands so far. It’s hard to say which one is my favorite.

Tell us about your journey to the modelling world in NYC.

I started my modeling career in 2014. I was living in Prince George’s county Maryland at the time and was working at the bank. I wasn’t happy with how my life was going so I decided to take a chance and apply to modeling agencies all over the world. One day RED models contacted me offering a contract. I eventually quit my job and moved to NY. Looking back on it I would say it was a mix of luck and determination that lead me to start a modeling career.

What’s the best thing about being an international model? What’s the worst thing about it?

The best thing about being an international model is experiencing and sharing culture. I believe this industry connects people. I don’t see any reason how being an international model is a bad thing. International models bring diversity in the fashion industry.

On being Filipino – is being Filipino a hindrance or an asset to a model like you?

I have never found it a hindrance being Filipino. All my life I’ve been proud of my culture and people. It has been an asset by providing me humility in this industry.

What advice can you give to Filipinos aspiring to model internationally?

Do what makes you happy and you can’t win if you don’t play.

If you weren’t a model today, what would you be?

It is hard for me to imagine life not being a model. All my prior occupations were good for me at the time, but I’ve always ended up disliking it except modeling.

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DANICA MAGPANTAY – FORD MODELS

 How did you become a model? Did you always want to be one?

I always wanted to model. I just didn’t think it would happen as fast as it did. I got started when I joined the local Ford Supermodel of The World contest in Philippines.

Most significant campaigns so far. Which one are you most proud of and why?

Last year’s summer campaign for Aeropostale. It has been one of my dreams since I started modeling to appear on one of the flashy Times Square ads and through that campaign it came true.

Tell us about your journey to the modelling world in NYC.

After I won the contest in the Philippines, I was able to go on and compete on the international level and was fortunate enough to win here in New York as well. A week after that I was going to castings for the upcoming fashion week.

With anything you do, you really must have a sound mind and body. I have experienced highs and lows in this career but I am just so blessed that I am surrounded by loving and empowering people who always believe in me. Also, I have God whom I draw my strength and courage from every day.

What’s the best thing about being an international model? What’s the worst thing about it?

Diversity in the market. Being able to travel from one city to another, you do realize what the “modeling market” is in each city. Being in New York, there is equal opportunity for everyone to get booked because there are all kinds of different looks that every client is looking for.

On being Filipino – is being Filipino a hindrance or an asset to a model like you?

Definitely not a hindrance, like I said, there is a diversity of models and you just have to see which ones work for your look – no matter what your race is.

What advice can you give to Filipinos aspiring to model internationally?

Do it. Keep learning about the tricks of the trade and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. And most importantly, always make sure you enjoy doing it!

If you weren’t a model today, what would you be?

I’d either be a merchandiser for my own clothing/accessories store or be a business woman and market and develop products from our family’s organic farm.

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FRANCIS ARIOSA – WILHELMINA MODELS NYC

Most significant campaigns so far. Which one are you most proud of and why?

It’s the shoot I did for Michael Cinco. He was the first designer who actually helped me and guided me with modeling, so that campaign means a lot to me.

Tell us about your journey to the modelling world in NYC. 

Well, it has been a ride with ups and downs, but I just put all my trust in God and believed in my dreams and I know things will happen.

What’s the best thing about being an international model? What’s the worst thing about it?

Being an international model will expose you to the good and bad of modeling, but it will help you grow, be a better person and have a thicker skin.

On being Filipino – is being Filipino a hindrance or an asset to a model like you?

The only hindrance of being a Filipino is to get Visas every time you travel to places like Europe. I believe loving yourself for who you are, whether you’re a Filipino or not is going to be your best asset in modeling, because being confident with yourself will take you places.

What advice can you give to Filipinos aspiring to model internationally?

-Well, first, believe in yourself. Pray hard. Trust in God and be strong. You will face a lot of hindrances but despite those challenges, it will just make you stronger. Take one step at a time.

If you weren’t a model today, what would you be? 

A married man with 5 kids. Hahaha! I would have my own bakery in Pagadian City and I would be helping out my dad with our farm. I would be anywhere where my family is.

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PAUL KIEFER – MAJOR MODELS

 How did you become a model? Did you always want to be one?

I was approached for the first time at a mall during my high school years at Slovakia. I did not decide to give it a try till many years later and many more scout approaches. One of the reasons it took me so long to start was, I never really dreamt of becoming a model and was actually not very interested in it, compared to what I had going on in my life at that time.

Most significant campaigns so far. Which one are you most proud of and why?

It’s a hard one to answer. The most significant to me was for Iconic shoot I did in Dubai. The reason it was so special to me is that it’s not every day you get to see yourself with a girlfriend on building size billboards! Now the most fun campaign shoot experience, I have to say, would be Adidas shot near San Francisco. We went from sunny surf beach side to snowmobiling in the blizzard in snowy mountains all in the same day of shooting.

Tell us about your journey to the modelling world in NYC.

Not much of a journey to be honest. NYC was my first trip for modeling, and I signed into modeling for the first time in NYC after being flown in. It is where my modeling career first officially started with my management in NYC. Since then I just fly back and forth for work.

What’s the best thing about being an international model? What’s the worst thing about it?

Traveling by far is the best. I honestly would not be doing modeling if I could not continue to travel. Now the worst part would have to be the vain side of the industry. I have never been a guy to care too much about how I appeared till I stepped into the modeling world. Fashion and styling my hair was never my thing. But it’s something you just have to eventually get used to.

On being Filipino – is being Filipino a hindrance or an asset to a model like you?

I would say neutral. I never really associated my race with my success or failures. Many people use race as an excuse in life but I say pay it no mind and just do your best. If you failed, then you either went about it wrong or it was just not for you. Modeling is not for everyone. If you are what they are looking for at that moment then that’s all you need. Be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.

What advice can you give to Filipinos aspiring to model internationally?

Finish school and get ready for 100 no’s before your first yes. Modeling is not all it’s played out to be. We are just normal people.

If you weren’t a model today, what would you be?

Actor or entrepreneur. I had a very promising situation in the acting industry laid out on the table for me in Los Angeles before modeling. But I guess I just did not want it that much at that time because I gave it all up to get out of LA in pursuit of something else. If not acting then possibly starting a business. I was in school also at that time for economics before I started modeling.

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STEPHANIE RETUYA – WILHELMINA MODELS NYC

How did you become a model? Did you always want to be one?

At first, I didn’t aspire to be a model until I tried my first runway show and that’s when I got hooked. It feels amazing to be up there- the adrenaline, walking knowing you are wearing a vision of the designer.

Most significant campaigns so far. Which one are you most proud of and why?

SM Aura Philippines, a Property campaign in Singapore and the Mac Indulge advertorial in Hongkong, I am very proud of these works because of the people I met when I did the job and the outcome of the work itself.

Tell us about your journey to the modelling world in NYC.

I met my mother agency when I worked with Mannequin in Singapore, after AsNTM (Asia’s Next Top Model) ended, they helped me travel to Asia first to build my book before I got here in NYC.

What’s the best thing about being an international model? What’s the worst thing about it?

The best thing is the travel, the new people, being exposed to different wonderful culture and the worst things are missing home and missing your family. It’s not all glitz and glamour it can be very lonely too.

On being Filipino – is being Filipino a hindrance or an asset to a model like you?

It depends on where you are, I have been discriminated for my race but NYC it has been an asset.

What advice can you give to Filipinos aspiring to model internationally?

Don’t give up and work for it!

If you weren’t a model today, what would you be? Explain why?

A literary writer, that’s what I went to school for and I love to read too, but nowadays I am very interested with cooking and food.

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Author: Illustrado

From the Middle East to the rest of the world, IllustradoLife shares the stories of Filipinos expats from around the world, providing a global venue championing the world class Filipino. IllustradoLife features articles on fashion and beauty, travel, lifestyle, business, events and other topics of interest to the international Filipino community from its mother publication, Illustrado Magazine.

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