Meet Aya Abesamis, only daughter of Desiree Verdadero, who placed second runner-up in the Miss Universe 1984 pageant, and Dr. JB Abesamis, Manila’s top male model in the ’80s.
Tall, with a perfect figure and a beauty-queen smile, she blushes when asked if she would join Bb. Pilipinas this year. “I am so into my studies right now,” is her safe answer. For this exclusive Lifestyle shoot, Aya wears Jill by Jojie Lloren, Anne Klein, and Culte Femme by Hindy Weber-Tantoco.
Aya projects corporate-executive confidence in the tailored numbers, and shines sensually in the weekend getups. Note the fine accessories that make each ensemble an unforgettable look. All these beautiful dresses are available at Rustan’s Makati.
At what age did you learn that your parents were top models, and your mom was a Miss Universe runner-up?
I think around 3 or 4 years old, I had an idea. I would have a babysitter, whenever we were in America, and would watch them do shows.
At what age did you want to model? Your first event?
When I was still young, I would pose a lot for the camera, when my dad would call me for pictures and say, “Andrea, look at the camera.” I think I was in my preteen when I first thought of being just like them, in doing not just work, but a certain art in beauty.
I was 9 when I had my first fashion show for Adidas at Discovery suites, but my real first big event was for the Metro show at Shangri-La Hotel Edsa, when I was 16.
What pointers did your mom and dad give you? Who taught you to walk on the ramp and pose for shoots?
My parents would always say, “straight back, so that you will look tall.” They would also teach me how to dress like a model; I guess that influenced me a lot.
My mother and father, of course, would teach me how to walk, pose, do the basics, but the modeling generation now is different from how it was before. Observation, concentration and practice are also a big part of learning from the senior models of the PMAP.
Do you also want to join the Bb. Pilipinas and follow in your mom’s footsteps?
I haven’t thought of it; I’m mostly focusing on my studies, especially since it’s my last year.
What is the difference between the models today and those in your parents’ time?
There are more models now. During their time, there would be a certain group, and just them, who would get all the work; they would do at least two gala shows a night, and hang out with the designers and socialize while they were all still dolled. The modeling before was more theatrical.
What about the PMAP then and in your parents’ time?
There’s no difference. There are more members now, though.