Joey Mead King: From model to model mentor
(The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2013 - 12:00am

KUALA LUMPUR — Before the phrase “fierce look” (meaning being eye-catching and displaying chutzpah) was invented, models like Joey Mead King had lived and breathed it.

With her towering height and innate elegance, Joey confidently sashayed on the runway and graced magazine covers and print-TV ads. Like a chameleon, she was ever changing and transforming, depending on what dress that she wore. Joey is definitely a model’s model.

That’s why it is not surprising if that she has been tapped to be Asia’s Next Top Model (AsNTM) model mentor and judge for its season two which will premiere on Jan. 8 over Star World. 

A veteran in the field of quick costume change and strutting in heels, Joey fits the bill as a model’s mentor. She knows what it is like up onstage whether in haute couture (high-fashion) or pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear).

“What we coined on the show, we call it a triple threat,” replies Joey when asked if there’s a specific look the judges are looking for in the next Asia’s “it” girl like someone who can mesmerize readers or captivate onlookers. “For the modeling industry, we look for a triple threat in that she is amazing (in) print and she kills commercial. She annihilates (the) runway. That’s what we’re looking for. And at the end of it, she’s a great role model.” This is true because being a top model should be both aspirational and inspirational, as fellow judge Adam Williams puts it. Joining Adam and Joey on the show are judge-resident photographer Mike Rosenthal and host-head judge Nadya Hutagalang.

To televiewers, Asia’s Next Top Model is a platform that goes beyond the glitz and glamour that comes with the fashion territory, but it is an avenue to change every aspiring model’s life and to chase her dream and make it happen.  

Joey is still based in Manila, which remains her home in spite of having a globe-trotting modeling career. Her body of work puts Joey in a position to give girls insights on how to jumpstart a modeling career and pieces of advice to keep them on the right track.  

“I already worked in so many countries, even in America, New York and Los Angeles and all over Asia,” recalls Joey. “I always encourage the girls, especially in Manila, ‘Guys, you have to leave. You have to understand what it is like. Sometimes, if you stay in your country, you get spoiled and you think this is how it is. So, I really like it when the girls travel to Thailand and Malaysia and Singapore... Being a judge, I feel I can actually say on a bigger platform: ‘Look at my career. Look at what I have done. And look where I am at now. And the industry can cut you short. Like if you’re already 28, you’re over and out, goodbye. When it comes to Nadya and I, we have progressed into our own corporation, saying to the younger models you can also branch out. I’m so happy being in this position because I feel like I can encourage more (girls) on a bigger platform.” From there, passion is what drives a model to make it in the fashion industry. Experience, however, is still the best teacher to sustain a career and make it relevant.

For AsNTM season two, Joey will be mentoring 16 girls representing China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Jodilly Pendre and Katarina Rodriguez are this season’s Philippine bets, while last season saw Stephanie Retuya finishing runner-up.      

“I think I’ve been the same,” says Joey. “I’ve always been being vocal and I’ve always been a very liberated Pinay. I’m very proud to be Pinay.” She thinks that there are other Asian women, “who are the same, grasping for role models.” Many believe that Joey and Nadya can be the role models to girls who wish to tread the modeling path the two have successfully taken. Aside from being a model, Joey was the first Filipina VJ of Channel V, presenting the latest trends in music, instead of sporting what’s hot and what’s in from the fashion world.

Is there an age limit for models?

“There is really,” answers Joey. “But if you push it to different platforms. I don’t think there is. I think you can even be a model even in your fifties. If you’re a wonderful, beautiful looking 50-year-old, you can model but you only get a certain category. But there are countries that have a larger category.”

For some, Asia’s Next Top Model testifies that the fashion world is not just   populated by Caucasians because brown and supple skinned models have graced it. It sends the message that the international modeling community is welcoming Asians. This dismisses some people’s misconception.

“I feel they are,” says Joey. “They always have been. They’ve always involved a lot of Asian beauties into campaigns… I really want an international market to understand how diverse the Asian face is. It’s not (to) stereotype (it) like OK, China bob, OK, chinky eyes. I want them to understand the different mixes that we have and what represents all of Asia.”

Asia’s Next Top Model is the perfect platform to do that.

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