It's easy to perceive models as living the high life, as all you see on Instagram is them under the spotlight, getting to wear the fanciest designer clothes. People think all these gorgeous women do is pose and look pretty for the camera before prancing off to VIP parties, or retiring to the comfort of their luxury suites. But reality is, this ideal is only true for a few lucky ones. There's so much more to working in fashion than photoshoots or runways. Strip away all the curated glitz and glamour of a full production and you'll realize that Filipino models sacrifice so much of themselves all for an industry that neglects to give them what they're due.
Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 3 runner-up Monika Sta. Maria is no stranger to the daily grind of an unpredictable job. She took to Instagram to voice out her sentiments on the real struggles of trying to make it big in the fashion industry, accompanied by a photo of her sneaking in a much needed nap between rehearsals. "It is a whole lot of sacrifice and hardwork to choose to be part of it. I have seen my dear designers, production teams, models and model bookers sacrifice so much - time with their families, survive on little or no sleep, sometimes even no time or mood to eat, drive/ commute in hours of traffic back and forth and have the pressure of pleasing an audience," Monika's post reads.
She talks of the difficulties of surviving on a project-based profession with a talent fee that barely provides. This, coupled with the fact that they're under constant scrutiny in a society that refuses to take their jobs seriously may seem like all the more reason for them to throw in the towel and seek a dream elsewhere. So why do they continue to do it you may ask? "We do this for that feeling of bringing our Filipino fashion to life for the world to see. We do it because we raise our Philippine flag whenever we bring ideas to life, whether it be big or small." Monika proudly reveals by the end of her post.
Truly, a model's work is admirable and deserves so much more than the credit given to them. Not just because you don't truly realize how easy it is to freeze up in front of a camera or hundreds of people until you're actally in front of them—and these models do it with spectacular grace and finesse. But because their time spent toiling over something they love isn't just for them, but for the fashion designers, enthusiasts, stylists, makeup artists, hairstylists, and productions teams as well, who are all equally deserving of so much more as they labor to showcase Filipino crafted talent worthy of nothing but the whole world.