Top 10 of the Most Successful Filipino Models of All Time

Successful Filipino Models

The Philippines has a pool of talented and beautiful models. With their peculiar looks and perfect brown skin along with their unwavering conviction, Filipino models are beating all odds and successfully conquering the global runways and fashion scenes.

There are some Filipino models, however, who have a deeper sense of commitment and are more focused on their goals, aside from being distinctly attractive and unique. These are the ones who excel in the field of modeling, not just locally, but also internationally.

So, here is our list of the 10 most successful Filipino models of all time, who have made every Filipino proud for what they have achieved:

10. Danica Magpantay

Danica Magpantay

The only Filipina and the second Asian to win the title of Ford Supermodel of the World, held in New York on January 22, 2011, Danica Magpantay is known as the youngest winner of this prestigious modeling pageant at the age of 17. Coming from a family of supermodels, Danica is one of the Philippine’s “The Holy Trinity” in the modeling world, along with Charlene Almavarez and Charo Ronquillo.

How She Started

Danica is a daughter of supermodel Lala Flores, who represented Philippines during the 1990 Ford Supermodel of the World Contest in Paris and brought home the award of “Crest Best Smile”.

Having a supermodel mother encouraged Danica and her sister Daniel to pursue a career in modeling and made them enroll in Joey Espino’s Master School of Models. Danica walked for Folded & Hung during the Philippine Fashion Week before she joined the Supermodel Philippines competition with her sister and won the crown, while her sister landed 8th place.

It was not easy for Danica to represent the Philippines as a novice in the modeling industry, but with her interesting mash-up of feminine and masculine features, along with her unusual facial bone structure, she eventually bagged the crown as the grand winner for the 2011 Ford Supermodel of the World pageant.

Accomplishments

Since her win, Danica has graced the runway for numerous fashion designers like Bensoni, Bibhu Mohapatra, Nanette Lepore, Norman Ambrose, Tim Hamilton, and Porter Gray. She was one of the only three Filipina models who qualified to be part of the Levis Fall/Winter collection in New York on the same year. She also walked the runway for Douglas Hannant and the “Teen Vogue Declare Your Denim” in 2012.

 9. Charlene Almarvez

Charlene Almarvez
 Landing on the 9th spot for the most successful Filipino models of all time is Ford Supermodel of the World 2010 first runner up Charlene Almarvez. A native from Laguna, this supermodel was making waves in the international modeling industry while she was in New York for less than a year.

How She Started

 A Business Administration student from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and standing only 5’9”, Charlene Almavrez was discovered by the director of Philippine Fashion Week during a parade for their town festival.

Like Danica Magpantay, Charlene broke into the international world of modeling when she earned her contract with Ford Models after she became 1st runner up in the finals of the 2010 Fords Supermodel of the World held in Brazil.

Accomplishments

Charlene has already walked for the likes of Diane Von Furstenberg, Sophie Theallet and Peter Som in the Fall 2010 New York Fashion Week, for Nanete Lepore, Miguel Adrover, Ruffian and Mara Hoffman in 2012 and Lela Rose and Bibhu Mohapatra in 2013.

She became the face of such international brands as Hush Puppies and Primark. The young Filipina has also been featured in world-famous magazines like Vogue, Elle Russia, New York Times, US Glamour and local magazines like Preview and Mega Magazine.

8. Tutay Maristela

Tutay Maristela
Marjorie Maristela, who prefers to be called “2Tay”, is one of the modeling industry’s best kept secrets. She is known for her expressive walk, which made her one of the best runway models in the Philippines. Tutay is an international couture model as well as the muse and signature model of Oliver Tolentino, a Filipino designer, who is based in Hollywood for eight years now.

How She Started

 Tutay Maristela started out as a student in Joey Espino’s Masters School for Models. She joined the Ford Supermodel of the World Philippines in 1999 but failed to bring home the crown. The executive producers of the pageant, however, signed her under CalCarrie’s International Models Philippines after recognizing her potential to become big in the runway.

Under CalCarrie’s, Tutay was given the chance to walk for international brands not just in the Philippines, but in other countries abroad.

Accomplishments

Tutay was best known as the model, who bagged the “Best In Catwalk” Award during the 2001 Best Model of the World competition held in Istanbul, Turkey. Her walk was known to be so distinct it intimidated other models on the ramp. She was also a finalist in Supermodel of the World Philippines in 1999 and the winner of MTV Fashionista Best Model of the World Philippines.

She has worked for famous designers like Salvatore Ferragamo, Bill Blas and Monique Lhuiller and walked in a several fashion week events in Los Angeles, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, Russia and Hongkong. In 2012, she was seen in Barbados, showcasing the eco- friendly couture pieces of Oliver Tolentino’s Spring/Summer collection.

 7. Charo Ronquillo

Charo Ronquillo
 Charo Ronquillo was dubbed to be the next Anna Bayle, who made a name for herself in the international runway and possessed the “unique look from the Philippines”, according to Bill Ford. This once boyish student, who dreamed of being a supermodel when she was still 12 years old, is now called the Kate Moss of Asia.

How She Started

 Charo was first discovered by a local agent, while she was playing basketball at an arcade in one of the local malls in Laguna. This led her to win the crown for Ford Supermodel of the World Philippines in 2005 at the age of 17. Her ticket to the international runway came after she won the third spot of Supermodel World Finals in 2006 held in New York.

Accomplishments

Charo was the first Ford Supermodel of the World Search contestant selected from the Far East, since this prestigious competition was started in 1980 by Eileen Ford. After bagging the 3rd place in the Supermodel World competition, she started walking for such famous names in the industry like Lacoste, BCBG, Tory Burch, Antonio Berardi and Kenneth Cole.

She was also featured in such magazines as Marie Claire Paris and Glamour and was on the list of Vogue UK’s “10 Ford Supermodels of the World Competition who are making it big”.

 6. Tweetie de Leon

Tweetie de Leon
Supermodel, actress, entrepreneur and TV host Tweetie de Leon is a fashion legend in the Philippine modeling industry and is considered as one of the Philippine’s most beautiful faces. This model turned actress was a big name in the modeling world during her time and was featured in various magazine covers, TV commercials and advertisements. She was also the leading lady of the famous TV series Okay Ka Fairy Ko for four years.

How She Started

 Tweetie first appeared on TV for a Royal Tru Orange commercial when she was 19, after a talent agent took photos of her. While studying, she was also doing a few commercials. But, it was only after she graduated that she took her modeling career into the next level.

Accomplishments

Tweetie started out walking for local fashion designers like Louie Mameno, Larry Silva, and Christian Espiritu. From 1984 to 1986 she was the image model for Anne Klein and she was a contestant in the 1987 Ford Supermodel of the World search in Orlando, Florida representing the Philippines.

During the early nineties, she entered the show business as Faye, the leading lady of Vic Sotto in the TV series, Okay Ka Fairy Ko, which gave her more commercial projects along the way. She soon became a commercial model for Heno de Pravia soap, Palmolive shampoo, Creamsilk conditioner, Selsun Blue Shampoo, Century Tuna, Anchor Shape Up Milk, Avon Cosmetics and other local brands. Just a few years ago, she also became the face of Pond’s.

Over 30 years of modeling, Tweetie has graced over 100 magazine covers. Today, Tweetie is a magazine editor, jewelry designer and host of Runway Philippines.

5. Ping Federis

Ping Federis

Known for her ability to consummately transform into a character in front of the camera or on the runway, Ping Federis captured the eyes of renowned photographers and became one of the most sought after models in the seventies, not just in the Philippines, but also in some neighboring countries.

How She Started

 Ping is a model from Naga City who started out as a beauty pageant candidate. She won the title of Miss Bicolandia in Legazpi City and became a semi- finalist in Binibining Pilipinas, representing Bicol Region during the ‘70s. Her stint with Hyatt La Concha ultimately opened more doors for her in modeling industry and made her a very successful ramp model here and abroad.

Accomplishments

Ping is considered the epitome of a brown chic as she worked for a Singapore-based international modeling agency and worked as a ramp model in the Philippines and other nearby Asian countries. She was voted as the ”Model of the Year” in the Philippines during the 1970s and graced numerous local and international fashion magazines for her perfect brown skin and her distinct Chinese-Spanish features.

Today, Ping is managing a 40-hectare family estate in Camarines Sur, advocating and practicing organic farming.

4. Melanie Marquez

Melanie Marquez
Mimilanie Laurel Marquez-Lawyer, or Melanie Marquez, is known for having a bubbly character on screen and as a beauty queen who won many titles locally and internationally. But, do you know that Ms. Melanie Marquez is also a successful commercial and ramp model?

How She Started

 Known to be the most admired beauty queen in the Philippines, Melanie Marquez was first discovered when she won a local pageant at the young age of 15 years old. But, before she became a globally known beauty queen, she was a ramp model who was trained by Renee Salud, a famous local fashion designer.

From then on, she took her passion to a higher level, started a career in the fashion and modeling industry, and graced local and international fashion magazines.

Accomplishments

Here are the series of awards Melanie Marquez scored over years:

Grand Winner of 1979 “Miss International” beauty pageant held in Tokyo, Japan

“Face of the ‘80s” winner in New York in 1985

“Most Glamorous Woman” in Italy in 1986

1st Runner Up, “Fords Supermodel of the World” on the same year, 1986

Voted as the “Most Beautiful Miss International Winner” in 2000

Finalist during the 2005 “Mrs. World” in India

She became a distinguished actress, an expert in fashion, a ramp model, and a commercial model featured in many fashion magazines through the years. Until now, her name still rings a bell in the showbiz and fashion industry.

Melanie Marquez also opened a modeling school for actors, beauty pageant contestants and models alike and was also known to be the person behind the success of beauty queens’ Ruffa Gutierrez, Charlene Gonzales, and Miriam Quiambao.

3. Bessie Badilla

Bessie Badilla
Known as the Queen “B” of the East Coast, Bessie Badilla was the first Filipina to be crowned as a Carnival Queen in Sao Paolo, Brazil during her fight against thyroid cancer and was one of the most beloved mannequin de cabine for the internationally notable House of Balenciaga in Paris.

How She Started

Bessie became one of the most locally sought after models in the Philippines when she was modeling for Pitoy Moreno, Aureo Alonzo, Ben Farrales and other top Philippine designers during the seventies, after she won a beauty contest in the Visayas. Her journey to the modeling world soon brought her to international runways, earning exclusive contracts with high fashion designers during the same period.

Accomplishments

From the district of Tondo, Manila, Bessie advanced to Paris when she became one of the admired house models of the House of Balenciaga from 1977 to 1985. She also worked for high-end fashion designers like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace.

She also became a well-known actress during the 1980s when her hit show, Eh, Kasi Babae, earned her a nomination for Most Promising TV Star and Best Actress in a Comedy Show. She was also crowned twice as the Carnival Queen in Sao Paolo, Brazil in 2008 making her the first Filipina to snag the title.

Presently, Bessie Padilla is co-producing local indie films and documentaries as well as creating a new genre of Filipino music called Brinoy, which is Brazilian music instilled with Filipino lyrics.

2. Tetta Agustin

Tetta Agustin
Standing 5 feet and 7 inches tall with a 21-inch waistline, Tetta Agustin is number two in the list as she was the first Filipina to walk the runways of Paris, where she is known for being a size zero. Named as Givenchy’s favorite Asian model and Yves Saint Laurent’s favorite Filipino model in the seventies, Tetta was also considered as the perfect model for Parisian modeling houses during her time.

How She Started

 Tetta produced and modeled series of fashion shows for Dante Ramirez around the Philippines and during one of her shows in Hyatt Regency, a friend offered to help her find modeling jobs in Rome.

While in Rome, she tried her luck with Emilio Pucci, but she was told to be too petite for Rome’s standards of fashion and was instructed to go to France instead. She also went to Madame Grés and Nina Ricci, but she was dismissed for the same reason.

Her determination to become an international model led her to Hubert de Givenchy, who gave her the break that launched her modeling career. Mr. Givenchy was said have been blown away by her ethnicity and described her smile as something that could sell very expensive clothes in his collection.

Accomplishments

 Tetta was associated with the House of Givenchy for years, before Yves Saint Laurent took her to become YSL’s model in the mid ‘70s. She also worked as a live mannequin for Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin, Renato Balestra and other fashion haute couture houses in Europe.

Tetta was also the first Filipina, who came up with OFW remittances during the seventies, starting with the Filipino housekeepers in Europe. She is now involved in the real estate business in London and Paris.

1. Anna Bayle

Anna Bayle
 The most successful Filipino Model of All Time goes to model, producer and writer Anna Bayle. Named as the model of the 1980s and the first Asian supermodel, Anna Bayle was sharing the supermodel status with internationally renowned supermodels Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista during the eighties.

How She Started

Before becoming one of the top ten models of the world in the ‘80s and one of the highest paid models during her time, Anna Bayle joined the Miss World Beauty pageant, but failed to bag the crown. Her failure, however, opened doors for her modeling career, when a local fashion designer based in London became her stepping stone to the industry.

She had a tough start breaking into the world of high fashion though. She went through eating only spring rolls a day in Paris and sleeping in the parks of London just to make it to her go-sees. Her defining moment came when she was in New York after losing her job as house model at Maximilian Furs in Europe. But, when she arrived, she was told by a friend to go to Paris and to only return to New York when she is already a star.

Accomplishments

The seventies and eighties were the prime years of Anna Bayle’s career, as this was when she began walking for Issey Miyake, Chanel, Valentino, Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent, and Givenchy. She did calendars for Shiseido and Elite Models and made advertisements for Bloomingdale’s, British Airways, Givenchy, Jacqueline de Ribes, Liberty House, and Sonia Rykiel.

She was featured on the covers of some of fashion’s finest magazines like Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar in Italy, Women’s Wear Daily in US and Vogue. While most of the models stay in the industry for an average of three years, Anna Bayle was modeling for twenty-five years. In fact, she was still modeling at the age of 34.

Bayle was known for her unique walk, which had her walking on tiptoes down the runway.  It was a bit of a sashay, glide, and pose and it was commonly called as the “Anna Bayle Walk”. Her walk was copied and highly adored over the years.

Filipina beauties have never failed to amaze the world of modeling. But, these top Filipino models have also proven that there is more to modeling than just a pretty face. It is also about knowing how to use your individuality to your advantage and focusing on your talents along with having the determination to reach new heights.

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