We’re calling it: Justine Llarena is the next top model to watch. In an industry often described as cutthroat, the 24-year-old is steadily making a name for herself, one runway and editorial shoot at a time.
Having walked for the likes of Thian Rodriguez and Cheetah Rivera during the recently concluded BYS Fashion Week, she instantly caught the eye of audiences with her statuesque frame and striking features. Not only that, but Justine has also had experience in fronting campaigns for international brands such as Havaianas and Revlon.
In an exclusive interview with Preview, she opens up about her modeling journey and how she got to where she is today, and where she hopes it takes her in the future. Read up on her story below:
Preview Go-See: Justine Llarena on Her Modelling Career
How did you get your start in the modeling industry? Tell us the story of how you got "discovered.""I started on social media. I [loved] taking outfit photos until I got discovered by creatives who wanted to have test [shoots] with me. After that, I joined SM Youth and [that was] the kickstart of my modeling journey."
How long have you been a model and what do you love the most about it?
"I’ve been modeling for four years already and what I like [the] most about it is working with creatives. I'm an artist myself and I love being surrounded by people that inspire me. It's crazy to think because when [you're] young, browsing fashion magazines and [looking at] editorial [photos], you [would] only see the big picture. You don't know what’s happening behind the scenes, so kudos to all the talented creatives because a lot [of] them don't get to have a spotlight."
Would you say being a model is your dream job? Why or why not?
"No, it's something I thought [would be] unattainable for me 'cause growing up, I had a lot of insecurities. Little did I know [that] those flaws are actually celebrated in the industry, and for that l’m thankful because I felt like for once, I belonged."
What would you say is the most memorable project you’ve done as a model so far?
"[The] TRESemmé 2019 fashion show because [that was] the first time they dyed my hair red. My inner child was happy cause I grew up wanting to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Sadly, I had to dye it back to black again because red is too high maintenance for me."
How do you see your career progressing in the future? Do you have a dream modeling gig?
"I know modeling is not a lifetime job, so as long as I'm young, I’m trying to milk it. I want to try modeling abroad and hopefully [I'll be booked by] top fashion houses."
What’s something unique about you that sets you apart from all other models?
"There was this dude that approached me at a party [the other night]. He told me that I [had] this distinct look and that he recognized me from the Bench and BYS Fashion Shows. I got so flattered because I didn't know [I was that] memorable, so I guess that sets me apart."
What’s your go-to model-off-duty look?
"Crop top and mini skirt paired with thigh-high boots."
In your own opinion, what are the characteristics of a great model?
"A great model for me is a chameleon. It’s someone who stands for what's right and can able to portray the brand's or creative's vision. There's a lot of misconceptions about modeling… You're not modeling for yourself but for the brand you're working with."
What’s your advice to aspiring models?
"Be clear with your intentions and, in order for you to survive in this industry, you have to toughen up."