We’ve definitely matured and learned more about work and hard work,” says 2010 Ford Models’ Supermodel of the World Winner Danica Magpantay.
Though she and her fellow Filipino supermodels, 2005 second runner-up Charo Ronquillo and 2009 first runner-up Chat Almarvez, have been thrust into the spotlight at a very young age (Danica and Chat, now 18, and Charo, now 23), they remain down-to-earth and unaffected by the glitz and glamour of their job.
“Modeling really isn’t easy, because it’s also mentally taxing. You need to have the drive and the passion for it,” says Magpantay.
“Modeling has taught me a lot about what work really entails and about valuing money, unlike before when I would only get my money from my parents. Now that I’m earning, I’ve learned how to handle my own money wisely,” she adds.
“Modeling is tough. You need to be very independent,” adds Ronquillo.
Though modeling takes them to sought-after destinations and world fashion capitals, it also takes them far from home more often than they would wish.
Ronquillo, having started earlier than the two, has modeled for the likes of Tory Burch, Nanette Lepore, Antonio Berardi, Diane von Furstenberg and Kenneth Cole; has done TV shows such as the “Today Show” and the “Tyra Banks Show”; and has appeared in magazines such as Vogue Spain, Esquire and Glamour.
Almarvez has walked the runways of Tracey Reese, Naeem Khan, Cynthia Steffe and Sophie Theallet, among others, during New York Fashion Week; and has appeared in magazines such as Teen Vogue, Vogue China and VS Italia.
Magpantay has also walked the New York runways for Nanette Lepore, Odd Molly and Porter Gray, and has appeared in local fashion magazines and shows.
Far from home
Asked what they miss most about home, Almarvez says, “The presence of my family.”
“My simple life in Laguna, playing basketball and hanging out with friends,” says Ronquillo.
Adds Magpantay: “I miss the sense of being young and free-spirited because now, you’re thrown into the real world.”
Doing fashion editorials, runway shows, and TV appearances far from home is only one of the job’s demands. These young women must keep themselves in tiptop shape as well, waking up at 8 a.m. to work out, and keeping their diet. Modeling—depending highly on looks and youth—is a profession that usually requires a Plan B, regardless of one’s perceived staying power in the business.
What happens after a model has used up her shelf life? These three supermodels express a wish to pursue their other passions—fashion merchandising for Magpantay, culinary for Almarvez, and photography for Ronquillo.
But, for now, they will pursue modeling as far as their looks and feet could take them.
“I still see myself modeling six years from now. Maybe after that, I would want to go back to school. But for now, I want to make the most out of everything that comes my way,” says Magpantay.
Ronquillo says, “I’ll model for as long as I can,” a sentiment shared by Almarvez: “Anything can happen but I plan to model for as long as I can.”
Not for the faint-hearted
However, as much as they love modeling, they note that modeling is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It’s not merely about knowing how to pose, having that swagger to your walk or even having that X factor. There’s a lot of discipline and emotional maturity required.
“Before you get into modeling, you should think about the sacrifices and changes you must make and the challenges you will encounter,” says Almarvez.
“Don’t get too attached as well, because you won’t always get the projects you want. It will affect you negatively if, in the end, you get disappointed and you’re too attached to it,” adds Ronquillo. “Always keep a positive outlook because if you don’t, your negativity will get the better of you.”
Magpantay, Ronquillo and Almarvez have also joined the cause to fight human trafficking. Led by Former Ford Models CEO Katie Ford, who linked up with the Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. headed by Cecilia Flores-Oebanda (one of two recipients of this year’s World Children’s Honorary Award), the campaign aims to raise awareness about this issue.
A video featuring a number of models providing warnings about human trafficking in eight languages, including Tagalog, has been produced, with Magpantay, Ronquillo and Almarvez appearing in it. Through such a video, Ford Models encourages more Filipinos to learn about the dangers of human trafficking and what they can do to help stop it.