Pinoy named WCOPA top model

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star

At 6’4”, Reygor Pineda Gorospe, 26, proved a standout among the more than equally towering model-contestants from 52 countries in the just-concluded 2013 WCOPA (World Championship Of Performing Arts), held in L.A., and easily brought home the top prize. In the souvenir program, he was identified as “The first Asian model winner.”

“Some countries sent more than two models and I was the only one from the Philippines,” said Reygor who, aside from the championship trophy, won six more medals in each preliminary category (Casual Wear, Formal Wear, Swimwear and Photo Model) leading to the grand finals. “In another category, us contestants were tested on endorsing a product and I won that, too.”

WCOPA has been going on annually for several years now and the Filipino artists have been bringing home “golds” (won in the prelims), with Jed Madela as the first Filipino grand winner in the singing category and who has just been elevated to the Hall Of Fame. Every year, it’s the Philippines that sends the most number of contestants (mostly singers, this year a total of 32), according to Carlo Orosa (who was once a member of the WCOPA executive committee), and that could be a factor in the country’s winning most medals.

Part of the champions’ prizes like Reygor is a scholarship and the possibility of getting offers from “agencies” (as Reygor called them). Each WCOPA participant is required to shell out an entrance fee.

“I paid $1,500 which I saved up while working in Japan, as a waiter during the day and as model at night,” said Reygor. “I’ve been working there for more than six months. It’s my first time to join an international competition like WCOPA but I have competed in ramp-modeling contests in Japan. That was where I was discovered by an American-Japanese who produces fashion shows during a fund-raising event in the Filipino community, and it was him who encouraged me to join WCOPA. It was the owner of the restaurant in Tokyo where I worked who invited me to join the fund-raising event.”

A native of Mexico, Pampanga, Reygor reached only up to third year high school in the province because he had to move to Manila after he was discovered by a basketball talent scout. He finished fourth-year at UE. Then in college, he quit his HRM (Hotel & Restaurant Management) studies when he was in third year at San Sebastian College where he was a member of the Stags team (playing forward). He transferred from Adamson University (where he also played for the school’s Falcons team).

For this Funfare interview at Romulo’s Café (Scout Lazcano corner Scout Tuason Streets, Quezon City), Reygor was accompanied by former ’70s top model Jose Mari Lacson and his good friend Jun Lalin. It was immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles who brought Reygor to Funfare’s attention.

“I met Reygor during the WCOPA finals,” Jemela told me during a phone chat. “I believe that he has a future as a model in the Philippines and maybe in showbiz.”

Well, why not? Showbiz boasts of campus and professional players and models who have proven to be good actors, like comedians Joey Marquez and Jimmy Santos, action star/producer Ronnie Ricketts, Marco Alcaraz and others.

When Reygor walked into Romulo’s Café, all eyes turned to him, some spoonfuls suspended in midair. He towered over the café’s good-looking waiters (some of them HRM graduates like Reygor) who wondered if he’s an actor (not yet, anyway!).

Asked what modeling tips he could give Reygor, Jose Mari said, “Sure, he has the height and the stage presence. It’s easy to see in the way he walks and attracts people around him. If he gets a good manager and good breaks, I think he’ll make it here.”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected] You may also send your questions to [email protected] For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)









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