updated 26 Oct 2011, 21:51
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Fri, Jan 28, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
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Pinay Supermodel - 'the new definition of beauty' - knows what she's getting into
by Cheche V. Moral

THE PROBLEM with past winners of Ford Models' Supermodel of the World contest was that homesickness overcame them, and they returned home before ever making a name in New York City.

Joey Espino, executive producer of Supermodel Philippines and president of CalCarrie's modeling agency, doesn't see that happening with Danica Magpantay, winner of the Supermodel of the World 2010 tilt. (It's 2010 as reported by the Inquirer on Sunday, clarified Espino, not 2011 as widely written in blogs, social networking sites and other media.)

Magpantay, who turned 18 this week, is the first Filipina to bag the title.

"You know, these models, they're young, 14, 16, and they go back home shortly after winning. What Ford wants is they should be available to work here," Espino said via Skype on Tuesday morning (Monday night in New York).

"I laid it all out to Danica. I also reminded Lala (Flores, Magpantay's mother). I asked if they're prepared, and they agreed."

Espino pointed out that another Filipina, Charlene Almarvez, last year's runner-up, had already made as much as the grand prize winner "because she stayed on to work."


The coveted Supermodel title comes with a US$250,000 (S$320,175) modeling contract with Ford Models, which has represented the likes of Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson and Alek Wek. As runner-up, Almarvez won a US$100,000 contract.

Magpantay, a visual communications major at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, wrapped up her first official work day at Ford on Monday.

She said school would have to wait. "I knew what I was getting into," she said, sounding shy. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But I also know that you can get an education not only from the classroom. I'm prepared."

On her first day, they did a shoot to build her book. She and the runners-up are also being prepped for New York Fashion Week, which begins in a few days.

The young woman is a greenhorn in modeling. She had not done modeling before last year's Philippine Fashion Week, also produced by Espino's outfit.


Lala Flores had brought him her daughters Danielle and Danica last year, expressing their desire to follow in their mom's footsteps. Flores, an Espino discovery herself, won the local Supermodel title in 1990. (She's now a leading makeup artist.)

The two girls had to undergo training at Espino's Masters School for Models.

"I instantly saw something in Danica that's quite unique. She fits the bill of what Ford has been calling the 'new definition of beauty,' which is a 'mixed' look that represents the whole world," Espino said.

"Half of her face looks feminine, and the other half is masculine. Mala-tarsier," he added affectionately, referring to the tiny primate.

Danica bagged the local title in October; her older sister was a finalist.

Rowland's interest

At the final judging in NY last week-unlike in previous years where each country sends its representative to the global contest, Ford Models brought in only five finalists-Espino noted Paul Rowland's keen interest in Magpantay.

Rowland, the new head of Ford Models, kept saying, "She's beautiful," according to Espino.

After the screening, Rowland invited Espino and Magpantay to his office, where he took more photos of the young woman, even using his phone. This boosted Espino's confidence in his charge's chances. Rowland is credited for building the careers of Kate Moss and Carolyn Murphy, Espino added.

While she was not the tallest girl at 5'8¾", the Ford execs noted that Magpantay is well-proportioned. They were impressed with her book, the one that was hastily put together shortly after her October win. (She was immediately booked for 19 photo shoots.) They, however, cited her need to develop a strong walk, which Almarvez notably had.

"It felt like a normal day," the soft-spoken Magpantay said of her first day at Ford. "But I'm excited!" Like Almarvez and Charo Ronquillo before her, she's now housed in Ford's model dormitory.

"I've always wanted to try modeling. My dad said yes right away. But it was my mom who reminded us that the job entails giving up a lot of things. She warned us about rejection. But we also learned from modeling school that rejection doesn't mean you're not beautiful. It only means your look doesn't fit their requirement for that project."

Danielle, her older sister, is "extremely happy for me," she added. "There's no sibling rivalry between us. We're very close."

Espino has other plans for Danielle, including possibly working the Asian modeling circuit. CalCarrie's has sister agencies in other Asian cities.

Magpantay's win is a major validation for model-maker Espino's longtime efforts. "I've always believed that a Filipina would win," he said.

As long as Filipinas have an open mind, are responsible, and willing to take the chance, "if you have what it takes," the world will open its arms, he noted. "The Philippines is part of the global map. There should be no inferiority complex. We should change our perspective."

As for Magpantay making good on her commitment to her contract, Espino said, "Ford has always found the Filipina dependable."

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