Having worked with transgenders for a long while, Slay Model Management founder and director Cece Asuncion said that launching a model search exclusively for the transgenders is at its most opportune time.
“With the current trend, we’re having a moment. We have been around as much as other people. The same way that trans people have always been around. Trans is not a trend. Trans people have always been around for all of these years. So, don’t erase them. Don’t just respect them. Give them platform that they deserve,” Asuncion said during the preliminary competition of Slay Model Search Asia at Revel at the Palace, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, April 22.
The Slay Model Search final competition aired live on Thursday, April, at 8 p.m. on ABS-CBN’s iWantTFC and ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube channel.
In 2014, Asuncion directed the documentary, “What’s The T?”, which chronicled and explored the day-to-day challenges, successes and lives of five transgender women in the US which allowed him to understand more the aspirations of trans women as well as the challenges that they faced. He kept these lessons to heart when he started Slay Model Management in 2016.
“Of course, I want to do it here. There’s so much beauty in Asia. People have to see that. I love when I read things in media. And you’re using proper pronouns. Yes, I had it in mind. It’s always been a dream of mine,” he said.
To Asuncion, the Slay Model Search Asia “validates that trans is beautiful and that’s what’s really important.”
Trans models are capable, talented and employable. Whether it is in fashion or if you’re a writer or if you’re a hairstylist, don’t forget that trans people exist within the landscape of life,” he said.
“What I’m most proud here is not I don’t only show trans in front of the camera. There’s a trans writer who works with us. We have trans who’s a hair and makeup artist,” he said.
“This increased visibility for Asian talents, including models, is an opportunity that I don’t want to miss. That’s why I’ve decided to partner with Niccolo and Ben to launch Slay Models Asia this year,” Asuncion added.
This year’s candidates are the following:
Vivi Hedendahl – Philippines
Risa Purisa – Thailand
Louell Celis – Philippines
Lily Othman – Malaysia
Meera Singhania-Rehani – India
Tracey de la Cruz – Philippines
B Kanapat – Thailand
Vi Macario – Philippines
Nella Johnson – Philippines
Nana Jantarat – Thailand
Fellini Rose – Vietnam
Abby Ecalnir – Philippines
Neerja Punia – India
Mykee Garcia – Philippines
Mitch Ochosa – Philippines
Elle Carbonilla – Philippines
Sauce Chulalakkul – Thailand
KC Cusi – Philippines
Drian Bautista – Philippines
Vheny Aggreny – Indonesia
Sandra Nandeibam – India
Tangelina Likitwatnannon – Thailand
Lauren Sanz – Philippines
AJ Jaluage – Philippines
Asuncion also announced the appointments of Niccolo Cosme and Ben Bernabe as co-directors of Slay Models Asia, which will hold the license for the Slay Model Management brand for the whole Asian region. EDV