Kelsey Merritt, the First Filipina to Walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

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The Philippines was overjoyed last year upon hearing that a Filipina finally graced the catwalk of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. A 22-year-old Kelsey Merritt made history as she debuted on the lingerie brand’s runway, wearing a metallic silver ensemble by Pink. Later in the same year, she moved into an awesome new apartment in Tribeca, a neighborhood where stars such as Taylor Swift and Harry Styles also live. Read on to learn more about this Filipino American stunner.

Meet Kelsey Merritt, the First Filipina Victoria’s Secret Angel

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Early beginnings

Before Kelsey Merritt was booking modeling jobs, she used to work at a local coffee shop when she was only 15. She then graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines, in May 2017  with a degree in communications. She began modeling while studying, and it was tempting to put school on hold. However, this Filipina managed to get the best of both worlds while in college, accepting a few modeling gigs in New York while studying for her tests in Manila, even if it means having to fight back sleep on a seventeen-hour long plane ride. Fresh into her sophomore year in Ateneo De Manila University, the young achiever caught the attention of model agency director Roman Young through Instagram. Apparently, Young was also the agent behind the success of the iconic Queen of Posing, Coco Rocha. While studying, she modeled for brands such as Vera Wang and Maybelline and did commercials with Palmolive, San Miguel Light, Kashieca, and numerous magazine covers in the Philippines as well. The Vera Wang Spring 2016 campaign she was a part of was shot by legendary French photographer Patrick Demarchelier.

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“Right after completing my second year in university, I moved to live in New York for a few months to model,” Kelsey Merritt said on Instagram. “My agency at that time asked me if I wanted to consider online schooling so I dont have to go back to the Philippines, and I have to say it was tempting.. But I chose not to. I stuck with going back to school, knowing I won’t be able to be in NY for the most part of the year to do what I love. At the same time, I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for the choices that I have made. The choice was not easy, but no one ever said it was going to be. It was not easy always flying more than 15 hours and then fighting jetlag, going to work the next day, and having to go home after work to finish papers or study for a test. It wasn’t easy trying to fight back sleep on the plane because I had so many readings to catch up on. God knows how hard it was to constantly fly back and forth New York and London while still in school. I had to miss classes, but still make sure that I was on top of everything. At the same time, I had no right to complain I was having a hard time because I was blessed with work. I was living my dream!”

If you don’t call that inspiration, we don’t know what it is.

Modeling agencies

“Now that I’m done with school, I can finally do what I want to do and live in the city I love most.”

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Kelsey moved to New York City after graduating and is currently signed with several major modeling agencies in Paris, London, and Milan, namely Supreme, Women Management, Wilhelmina, and Nomad. Some of these agencies represent major names like Cara Delevingne, Fei Fei Sun, and VS Angels Behati Prinsloo and Lais Ribeiro. 

And just last month, the model announced that she is now being represented by the Society Management New York, the same model management that houses iconic models namely Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner, Winnie Harlow, and Olivia Culpo. 

“So excited to announce that I’m now represented by @TheSocietyNYC!” Kelsey wrote in the caption.

Manila’s fashionable set, including BJ Pascual, Georgina Wilson, and Iza Calzado, left congratulatory messages for her newest milestone.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

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“We did it Philippines!” Kelsey wrote in the caption of one of her Instagram posts. “What an honor it is to be the first Filipino to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018!”

Kelsey Merritt made history on December 2018 as the first Filipino woman to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The 22-year-old Filipino-American model debuted on the lingerie brand’s runway wearing metallic silver shorts, a matching cropped T-shirt, and a sporty pale blue bra by Pink. Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line, which was introduced in 2002, features lingerie targeted toward young adults and older teenagers.

“It feels like a dream,” she told Teen Vogue. “Getting the show is the dream come true but being the first Filipino woman to walk in the show means I’m making history. The show is broadcast on more than 190 countries with models from 20 countries and I got chosen to represent my region. Blessed!”

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

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Early this year, on February 2019, the freckled beauty appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue as a new addition to their 2019 rookie class and as the first Filipina to ever be featured in the magazine. The photographs were also coincidentally shot by a fellow Filipina, LA-based fashion photographer Laretta Houston, who was also born and raised in the Philippines.

“Representing the #Philippines where I was born and raised,” Houston posted on Instagram of her shots of Kelsey.

At the recent Sports Illustrated Swimsuit party in Miami, Kelsey Merritt got to meet Tyra Banks, one of the cover girls of the magazine edition. 

Kelsey is up for the vote-based Rookie of the Year. She hardly looks like a rookie model, though.

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