World Stage: 7 Filipinos Who Have Been the Face of Luxury Labels - Lifestyle Asia

One of them was Asia’s first supermodel who graced the cover of Marie Claire and was an Oscar de la Renta muse.

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There’s no shortage of Filipino talents in the world of fashion. For the especially talented and hardworking, they achieve success in what has always been a competitive and cutthroat industry by landing magazine covers or fronting campaigns for major fashion houses.

Many of our designers have made a name for themselves on the world stage, from Monique Lhuillier, Amina Aranaz, and Michael Cinco to younger creators like Rosenthal Tee and Carl Jan Cruz.

But for one reason or another, not as many Filipino models have broken through. Here are a few who have fronted international luxury labels whether on fashion spreads or the runway.  

Kelsey Merritt

Not even the pandemic can stop Merritt from bagging major ads. The Filipina-American beauty most recently starred in Bulgari’s Parfum Allegra campaign, where she basked in the Italian brand’s new fragrance.

Merritt started her modeling career doing commercials here for Palmolive, San Miguel Light, and Kashieca.

She first gained international fame in 2018 when she booked what would be her breakthrough stint, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This made her the first Filipina to walk for the said runway. The following year, she became the first Filipina to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Anna Bayle

Considered as Asia’s first supermodel, Anna Bayle was one of the highest paid fashion models in the world from the late 1970s until the early 1990s.

After working as a model here, Bayle moved to Hong Kong. There she gained attention for replacing then supermodel Billie Blair in the HK Trade Fashion Show, and was dubbed by the Hong Kong Standard as “the Filipina who saved the show.”

That became a gateway to working with French designer Thierry Mugler for her first show in Paris where, in just two years, she became one of Europe’s top models. Her professionalism and work ethic, which involved walking nine shows a day compared to just one for most models at the time, led to more opportunities in New York.

In her modeling career spanning 25 years, Anna walked for and worked with Christian Lacroix, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Valentino, Versace, YSL, Dior, Givenchy, Shiseido Cosmetics, among others. She also graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Italy, Marie Claire, and W Magazine.

Pia Wurtzbach

When she’s not busy with acting projects, Wurtzbach busies herself with fashion-related endeavors. Most recently, she headlined the Fall 2022 campaign of Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One’s Amato Couture—the fashion film for which made history as the most watched in Arab Fashion Week ever.

Previously, she was a brand ambassador for Philip Stein watches and even became the first Filipina to have her own wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

Wurtzbach ended a 42-year Miss Universe drought for the Philippines in 2015. The Filipina-German beauty has since used her platform to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. She also represented the country and the Miss Universe Organization back in June 2016 in a United Nations meeting aimed at ending AIDS. She remains a UNAIDS ambassador to this day.

Paolo Roldan

Born in the Philippines, Toronto-raised Roldan was on the last day of his fall 2010 castings when he was sent on a last-minute go-see with then Givenchy creative director Ricardo Tisci.

A month after that encounter, Roldan made his debut, walking exclusively for the fashion house to close its fall 2010 collection. Within the next year, Paolo graced the cover of Arena Homme+, starred in Givenchy’s fall campaign, posed for a Vogue France feature, and closed designer Phillip Lim’s spring 2011 show.

Roldan later walked for other fashion legends like Armani and Michael Cinco. He is still active in modeling to this day, and is represented by six agencies around the world.

Charo Ronquillo

After placing third at the Supermodel World Finals in 2005 where she won $100,000 and a three-year contract with Ford Models, the career of then 18-year-old Ronquillo started to take off.

She modeled in New York and Paris for Tory Burch, Kenneth Cole, Mac Cosmetics, Sisley, United Colors of Benetton, Lacoste, BCBG, among others. She also participated in fashion and beauty editorials for Teen Vogue, Vogue Spain and Vogue India, Marie Claire US and Marie Claire Paris, Elle Vietnam, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan US.

She also appeared in Old Navy, Moncler, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue advertisements.Booked and busy, Ronquillo most recently appeared in lookbooks and campaigns for Fossil and Lululemon.

Hannah Locsin

When Locsin became the first Filipina to walk for a Gucci show back in 2019, it was only a matter of time before she would book another major campaign. True enough, the Filipina model starred in Gucci Beauty’s video for a then new product, the Mascara L’Obscur. 

An obvious Gucci favorite, Locsin participated in the fashion house’s pre-fall 2020 show, spring/summer 2020 ad campaign, GG Psychedelic collection campaign, fall-winter 2020 show, and spring/summer 2020 accessories campaign.

Locsin also walked for MiuMiu, Ralph Russo, and Rokh, and modeled for Moncler, JW Anderson, Maybelline, Levi’s, and Aritzia. She was featured in numerous magazines, too, including Cosmopolitan UK, L’Officiel Lithuania, Harper’s Bazaar Kazakhstan, Elle Mexico, Marie Claire Hong Kong, and L’Officiel Malaysia.

Kylie Versoza

Notwithstanding the pandemic, Kylie Versoza booked what perhaps was a career highlight—being the face of a lVersace social media campaign. In the ad for the Fall/Winter ‘20 collection, she wore and modeled the Milan-born brand from head to toe.

Versoza, who is currently busy with acting projects, first rose to fame when she won the Miss International crown back in 2016, making her the sixth Filipina to do so. She has since used her platform to raise awareness about mental health.

She also created Mental Health Matters, an online support group for people with depression, anxiety disorder, and other mental health illnesses.

Banner Photos from @Hannahvlocsin and @juanpaoloroldan78

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