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The Working Class

Mikaela Lagdameo Martinez: Model/banker/entrepreneur–a stylish multitasker

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NECKPIECE, Parfois; printed bondage dress,  Mika’s own, Topshop

Mikaela Lagdameo Martinez was born beautiful. Her interesting features—almond eyes, sharp nose, thin lips, narrow cheekbones and jaw line—came from a striking lineage, as both her parents, Butch Cojuangco Lagdameo and Vicki Fernandez Zabarte, were models.

In addition to her natural attributes, she has glowing, sun-kissed skin. “I simply love the beach, and my Sundays are sacred and reserved for golf with my husband Chucho!” she says.

Martinez’s schedule is quite packed, since she holds a regular job as a money broker.

“I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. “In grade school, I was thrilled by the thought of tripling my money. I would buy a jar of Jell-O or bake cookies and sell them to my classmates for P4.50.”

MIKAELA sports the almost nomakeup look.

An avid fan of Chalk magazine when the glossy was new about a decade ago, she attended the mag’s parties where she met Xander Angeles, who took her photographs and sent them to an agency. She started modeling at 15, then started a clothing company (Ebony & Ivory), a magazine (Luxe), became a partner in her modeling agency (Élan) and developed a food business (Gourmet Pao)—while working behind the cameras as fashion stylist.

“While delivering Gourmet Pao to the company I now work in, they asked me if I was interested in working for them!” And another job was born.

Stepping up

Maneuvering between two careers, modeling and banking, Martinez is well aware of the demands of both industries. “The one thing they both have in common is competition. You simply have to step up! There is always someone better than you in what you do, so when you have that in mind, you keep working toward improving yourself all the time.”

But as her work continues to accelerate over the years, Martinez remains up to speed. “Funny thing is, as soon I started a family, I was driven and inspired like never before,” she says.

MIKAELA with husband and kids

How does this driven woman maintain her youth, spunk and class? She has the almost no makeup look. “The less stuff I put on my face the better. I stick to the basics: cold water, cleansing oil and moisturizer. I don’t wear makeup if I don’t have to.”

Her mode of dressing is simple. “I always say go for classic pieces. Have trendy statement pieces once in a while to give your look a good twist. I will always choose simplicity over extravagance, because it overpowers you.”

She promotes local designers, but when it comes to shoes, she leans toward Marni, Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga.

Simple yet spruced up, reserved yet sensual, classy yet down-to-earth. What a woman.


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