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Fashion and Beauty

Jing Monis: On the cutting edge at 20

John Magsaysay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - There have never been more beautiful young Filipino women and men per square meter in any given venue than when Jing Monis celebrated his second decade in the country’s salon and beauty industries recently, with the unveiling of his “Pretty Young Thing” series of new endorsers at the upscale Vue Bar of the Bellevue Hotel. Monis, whose proficiency and precision in grooming and hairstyling has led to countless magazine covers and beauty editorials for the country’s highly-praised fashion rags and encouraged a beeline of society’s “it” ladies in his well-revered salons throughout the metro, commemorated two decades’ worth of beauty by revealing who, he believes, make up the new generation of pretty-faced young Filipinas.

Hosted by supermodels, TV personalities, and fellow Monis disciples Joey Mead-King and Phoemela Baranda, with style-forward cover boy Robbie Beecroft, the night brought to light Monis’ illustrious career as profiled by nine of today’s most celebrated faces and personalities. Opening the event with her sultry musicality was one of Monis’ Pretty Young Things, Mica Javier, with the vertiginously mohawked Philippine All Stars. Abby Asistio, who has lent her face to some of Monis’ most memorable beauty editorials followed suit with an energetic song number, prepping the audience for the exciting reveal of Monis’ new set of endorsers.

Chosen for their beauty as much as for their trendsetting tendencies, Jing Monis’ roster of Pretty Young Things, handpicked from the modeling and showbiz industries, now make up the who’s who list of today’s industry movers.

International model Fil-Canadian Olivia Medina, with her towering figure and angular facial features, has been hailed on the runways of Tokyo, Shanghai, Toronto, and LA, before making the Philippines the springboard for her newfound careers as host and singer. Equal parts beauty and brains, Sam Sadhwani has strongly built her modeling portfolio in the country and recently broke ground as a TV host for ETC, while currently furthering her studies in fashion in the City of Lights. R&B superstar Mica Javier has been credited with churning out danceable hits strongly played on the radio stations across the country, as her smoking features help in furthering her musical career.

Fil-Australian model and pop-jazz singer Catriona Gray could very well launch a thousand magazine covers with her classic look, but her sensual vocals can just as well break the contemporary charts. German-Filipino Valerie Weigmann may fill noontime variety TV with her unnatural beauty, yet she can fulfill the appetites as well with her German-Turkish restaurant Bamm. Showbiz heiress Kylie Padilla quickly made a name of her own by earning recognition as the Action Princess of the Philippines, bringing her kickboxing prowess to the realms of Pinoy primetime TV.

Controversy just add to the crisp character and charm of Andi Eigenmann, who has proven that she can rise above all, from tabloid spats to TV ratings, to genetic talent. New indie superstar Jasmine Curtis-Smith has crafted a career all her own when she debuted in the movie Transit, earning her the recognition as Best Supporting Actress and disproving all notions that she is just someone’s gorgeous younger sister. And perhaps TV’s reigning queen of reinvention, Anne Curtis has gone from teenage princess to noontime muse, concert sweetheart and, pretty soon, primetime’s most favorite sea-maiden, with a fresh, unadulterated look that seems unfazed by all the popularity and attention.

These women, armed with their notoriously good looks and ability to dominate in their own fields, bring a new dimension to being pretty, now that looking good is just not enough anymore, and craft, character, and sometimes even controversial nature can inspire a million magazine sales, hashtags, and TV ratings. And that is exactly what Jing Monis aims to showcase with his “Pretty Young Thing” series — the same attention for beauty and character that the aesthetic-authority had once reserved for the likes of Tweetie de Leon-Gonzales, Myrza Sison, Angel Aquino, Angel Jacob, Wilma Doesnt, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Georgina Wilson and Solenn Heusaff.

“I’ve known Jing for more than a decade, close to 20 years. I call him ‘Dad’ because he’s like a second father to me. He not only takes care of my hair or makeup but of me as well. I’m so proud of him, and I’m happy to be a part of his 20th, and I’m looking forward to more years to come for us together,” shares PMAP alum and TV host Phoemela Baranda.

For Miss Universe 2010 fourth runner-up and morning TV host Venus Raj who sports a new signature Jing Monis sleek bob, her first foray into the realm of short cuts, “Jing is very successful in his field because he’s very hands-on in what he’s doing. His clients love him because he personally cuts the hair in his salon, consults which style is perfect for you, what color fits your personality. This way, you’ll really love him.”

And for Anne Curtis, whose signature looks inspire much collective admiration and imitation among her millions of fans, she entrusts her aesthetic appeal to but one man. “I trust Jing a lot with my hair and my makeup and his salon is the only salon I visit here in Manila. And I’m really happy for his 20th year in the business and I’m pretty sure he’ll be around for 20 more years to come,” Anne says.

With the reputation of making the country’s most celebrated faces prettier, while perfecting each of their distinct crowning glories, Jing Monis’ 20 years in the industry parallels the continuous rise of Filipina beauty, with his direct approach to beauty consultations, his generous skill as witnessed in the premier pages of Filipino glossies, and his tireless fine-tuning of his craft. The Philippine STAR sat down with the beauty propagator for an exclusive interview on just what makes  Jing Monis, two decades on, synonymous to Filipino beauty.

PHILIPPINE STAR: Your new line of endorsers is called “Pretty Young Things.” What made you choose this title, as well as your new set of endorsers, and how do they relate to your present creative direction?

JING MONIS: Choosing the girls of this generation, I had to come up with something that is young and fresh, so these are the girls I chose. They are very young, very fresh, very talented, they are all trendsetters, and they come from different fields, like they are models, singers, and actresses, highly regarded in their own fields. They have the qualities that I’m looking for, and whatever they do, people follow them.

For this 2014, what are the hairstyle and grooming trends for women that you foresee?

The bob is still happening, it’s still big now. You can see it in Joey Mead-King as well as Olivia Medina. It’s very happening now in London, where I just came back from for my master class, and they’re really pushing on and coming back to the bob, the short, and the pixie, and giving it a new twist. We’re done with long hair, we’re going shorter now. For colors, it’s the mocha and the ash brown.

The Jing Monis look has been noted for its picture-perfect quality adored by the fashion industry. How do you develop the cutting-edge creative direction as well as the refined aesthetic quality regarded as your look?

You never stop learning about it. For me, as a stylist, I never stop going to school, up to now, and I’m still two classes short on finishing my master class in London. So as a stylist, one should never stop learning about the skills, getting new ideas, and fresh techniques, and that’s true for every stylist that you go to.

How has the Filipina’s penchant for beauty changed since you started in the industry?

Oh, my gosh, a lot! From going to the senyoras to now, it’s so much different. Fashion just goes around, it’s like a circle. From the '90s to 2014, it’s the same style that you see. Like the punk went back, and now we have the classic looks, but you always give a twist. That’s what I always try to do, create something new with the old style. You have to refresh them, give them a new quality. With all these Filipinas who are very brave to try all the styles, it’s always exciting for me. The Filipina is more accepting of the trends, more open to fashion, which is very important to us.

After being in the industry for over two decades, are there pieces of valuable advice that you can share with the followers of your craft?

For people who would want to get in the industry, my advice is to never stop learning, and keep their feet on the ground. People will love you for who you are, for what you are, given that you treat them right, and you give them the proper service.

In your case, how much of your success is creative foresight and how much of it is technical skill?

I would say half and half. Aesthetically, we give 90 percent, I want to say 100, but nobody is perfect. Giving them the proper service, giving them the quality of the cut, the styling, the look that they want, that’s what we consider to be the top.

What are the other things we can expect from Jing Monis, the man and the salon, on your next decade?

I have big plans, actually. One of our plans is to have different contacts from all over in terms of acquiring the Jing Monis Salon brand in different countries, like the Middle East, Guam and the (mainland) US. So, we’re opening our doors, yet, admittedly, it’s hard work. In Manila, we have bigger plans, which I can’t say yet, otherwise my operations manager might kill me. Basically, watch out for the Jing Monis Salon exclusively for men.

I recently tied-up with TESDA for the Yolanda victims. Instead of giving them money, why can’t I give them knowledge for livelihood which they can use, apply, and earn from for as long as they live?

What made you decide to open a salon exclusively for men?

Men are vainer than women, sometimes people don’t notice this, but it’s true. Actually, they use more hair products than the girls. There was one time, I was listening to a conversation between my stylist and a male client, and our client was getting all these products. And I asked myself, “Does he really need this?“ He was getting a set for his car, his house, his office! I was so pleased, and I realized that this is the time to hit the market of the boys.      

Now that we are on the topic of men’s grooming, what are the hairstyle trends you forecast for the guys this year?

Men now are transitioning from the sleek to the messy, again. The bedhead is back! It’s all about messing up the sleek.

ANNE CURTIS

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