With their grit and talent, Filipinos based abroad almost always make a name for themselves no matter what they do. But whenever an individual strikes gold, that becomes an especially proudly Pinoy moment for all of us.
Enter Dominique Castelano, the Filipina who is making waves in the international modeling scene. As an openly trans Pinay, Dominique has been modeling full-time since she signed with NY-based agency Q Management in 2017. However, the future looks even brighter for the 24-year-old as she is now one of the faces of Marc Jacobs’ latest clothing line, Heaven, a youthful collection that aims to celebrate polysexuality.
Preview was able to catch up with Dominique to talk about how she landed the part and what else she’s got up her sleeve:
Dominique started with magazine editorials before getting to where she is now.
When asked about how she got the Heaven gig, Dominique credits it to one of her close photographer friends, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in New York.
“The photographer, Ryan McGinley, is who I have to thank for making this campaign happen. Ryan is an icon in the Queer community and I constantly enjoy working with him. Along with Marc Jacobs, I’ve appeared in campaigns for Thom Browne, Milly, and NY-based designers that are really rooted in the queer and POC (persons of color) community, like Patrick Church, Mi Leggett, and Tia Adeola,” she says.
Although Dominique “worked from the ground up” by starting with magazine editorials, she was eventually able to nab major campaigns, like one with Maybelline.
“Modeling has been a rollercoaster for me. I started by booking a few editorials for magazines and really have had to work from the ground up. Recently I became the first openly trans Pinay person to appear in an advertisement for Maybelline, a major makeup brand sold worldwide. It has been an incredible honor and a major step in the right direction for the LGBTQIA+ youth that, like me, have been able to explore their gender identity through the medium of makeup,” she shares.
She’s done work for other major brands.
Aside from the Maybelline pride campaign she worked on last year, Dominique added another feather to her cap earlier this year when she was tapped to be one of the faces for the brand’s New York Nudes palette. She even did a live-streamed video with fellow model Josephine Skriver who is also the face of the brand!
Dominique has done commercial work for beauty companies like Bare Minerals, Nars, Clairol, Glossier, R+Co, and Oribe, as well as sportswear brands like Girlfriend and Nike.
Dominique actively participates in efforts that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Dominique reveals that she was able to meet Marc Jacobs and has rubbed elbows with other notable figures in the fashion industry, but it was all thanks to her active work for campaigns that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
“[I had the chance to meet Marc Jacobs] at L’Hommage, a fundraiser that I was hosting last year together with some of the most talented LGBTQ+ folks of color, as we paid homage to the ICONS of our community. We raised over $95,000 for nonprofit organization FIERCE NYC @fiercenyc. It was hosted by André Leon Talley and Naomi Campbell closed the show,” she says.
She also reveals that she has plans of partnering with Marc Jacobs next year for an event benefitting Streetworks, a nonprofit that serves to help homeless youth since 1984.
Dominique shares that it’s been tough living alone in NYC but it’s her sense of purpose that inspires her to press on.
“It’s been up and down,” Dominique says about being on her own in the Big Apple.
“There are some really high highs and really low lows. Especially now during a pandemic. I’ve been planning to visit home for the holidays but I might have to postpone it. I wish I could celebrate this time with my family back home.”
When asked about what else she’s got in store, Dominique says that she’s secured work with other brands that she’s not allowed to reveal just yet. However, she does tease that “there may or may not be a billboard coming up” for Marc Jacobs!
Whatever the future may bring, Dominique knows that she’ll continue to use her platform as a way to promote advocacies that are close to her heart.
“The Marc Jacobs campaign just launched yesterday and I have a few more campaigns dropping in the next few days, so I’m still just letting it all sink in. But what I do know is that I will continue my work in being a voice for all the underrepresented Asian, Filipino, Queer, and Trans people of the world.”
Her tips for aspiring models? “Live your truth and center your work around your passion and advocacy.”
Watch Dominique’s reaction upon seeing herself in the Heaven campaign: