Will a Filipino ever be Asia’s Next Top Model?

“I really want Filipina to bring home the title and I really hope it’s soon,” remarks Monika Sta. Maria. FOR THE THIRD time since the show debuted in 2012, Filipino contestants in the reality show Asia’s Next Top Model (AsNTM) fell short of getting the title.

Stephanie Retuya, Jodilly Pendre, and Monika Sta. Maria, Filipino fashion models who competed in the show, all finished as runners up in seasons one, two, and three respectively.

What could be missing? Is there anything kulang?

“No, I don’t think there’s anything kulang,” Georgina Wilson, host of the third season of AsNTM said in a quick interview in Davao. Wilson was in the city during the Kadayawan weekend for a book signing event in SM Lanang Premier. “That’s just how the competition works.”

Wilson added that if there’s anything worth noting, it’s that Filipino models are ahead of everyone—even in the show.

Franchesca Lagua, who’s from Davao, was eliminated in the fifth episode of season 3. On episode 11, Amanda Chan, another Filipino contender, was eliminated. Ayu Gani of Indonesia won the title.

Monika Sta. Maria, who was also in Davao earlier last July for the Abreeza Fashion Forum, said in an interview that she hopes that a Filipino brings home the title soon.

“I really want Filipina to bring home the title and I really hope it’s soon,” she said, adding that Filipino contestants in AsNTM have consistently proven that they can get to the top.

“I don’t know what’s kulang,” she said when asked what else could be missing that’s causing the title to elude Filipino models. “Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s not our time.”

Nevertheless, she said that Filipinos have this as their edge in the show (and in life): we can find good things in uncomfortable situations. “Filipinos can always find happiness in everything, and that’s how we go far and keep going,” she said.

Asked whether she have any plans on becoming a beauty queen, she said, “It’s not my thing. I’m satisfied with where I am. I’m not beauty queen as of now.”

During the AsNTM 3 auditions in Resorts World Manila last year, casting director Marc Checkley of Beach House Pictures said that Filipino models have a wonderful balance of Asian values and confident Western character. “They have an amazing range of backgrounds and lifestyle that not all other Asians can say they have,” he said. “I think that becomes their strength to push forward as a model.”

Jude Turcuato, territory head of Fox International Channels, believes in the same. “Part of the success of a model lies in the way they work with people,” he said. “When you have good relationships with photographers, producers, and editors, your career takes your far. The look of a model is not just the whole thing.” (photos by JPosadas/Abreeza PR)

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