Rooting for Stephanie
Tim Yap (The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Described by the show’s host as “the girl who everybody has high expectations of,” Philippine bet to Asia’s Next Top Model (AsNTM) Stephanie Retuya has that IT factor — blank face perfect as canvas for diverse looks, a lithe body that looks great in designer clothes, and a can do attitude that spells W-I-N-N-E-R. Could she be the one?

Last Sunday’s episode had a very dramatic turn as she was down in the bottom two. Luckily enough for both of them, there were no eliminations since a girl had just been sent home due to domestic issues. The AsNTM episode ended with a tearful but grateful Stephanie. “You have to work harder,” said AsNTM host Nadya, one of the more lasting Pan-Asian model-turned host-slash-everything in the region. One look and you could see that Stephanie, in her teary state, was a quiet fighter. You knew she was gonna give her best.

It’s either that or because we are used to heroines who have that quiet confidence, and who will fight to the finish. I think it is safe to assume we can place our bets on this new carrier of Filipino pride in a modeling reality show contest.

Supreme is the first to talk to her. We sat her down for a shoot, we really wanted to get to know her when we first saw her on TV. Expect her star to soar, even after this modeling reality series is done. Ladies and gentlemen, Supreme presents Stephanie Retuya.

What’s it like to represent The Philippines in AsNTM?

Joining AsNTM, I did not realize that I would have the privilege to represent the country. I sent my application without thinking because I knew if I let this opportunity pass without me even trying, I would regret it for the rest of my life. But being chosen as the representative, it is such an honor. Most of the time, it’s overwhelming.

When did you start modeling?

I started in January 2011. That was the time I went to Steps studio to meet. Mr. Inno Sotto, who trained me on the runway for Fashion Watch.

What are the characteristics of a top model?

For me a top model has a great work ethic, and a personality that shines even at castings.

Did anyone discover you?

My brother’s friend, Ken Batino, who is an assistant to celebrity stylist John Lozano, asked me, with my height, if I’d model. I told him I wanted to, but I didn’t know how. Next thing I knew, Ken and John booked me for a runway mall show, then they introduced me to Julius Uy, and Julius introduced me to Inno Sotto. One thing leading to another.

Who are your favorite models?

Lily Donaldson. I like Lily because she looks so flawless on the runway and at photoshoots, she makes everything look expensive. On the local scene, I always look up to Ria Bolivar and Jessica Yang.

What’s the best thing about being a model?

Conceptual shoots are always fun, meeting new people and learning new things are, too. It basically feels like being a real-life Barbie, you get to be anyone, and wear anything. Everyone is taking care of your hair, makeup and clothes, plus you are given freedom to translate your look in a way you feel.

Why should people watch out for you on Asia’s Next Top Model?

People should watch out for me on Asia’s Next Top Model because despite being one of the newbie models in the competition, I always give everyone a good fight. I never give up and there are times that I surprise people — even myself — as to how far I can go. 

What’s your best asset?

My best asset would be staying positive even when things are hard, therefore continuing the fight. I must also say that I am confident with my runway walk.

What’s your worst flaw?

My nerves. They always get the best of me, and I think too much.

If you weren’t a model, what would you be doing?

If I were not a model, I would probably be on TV behind-the-scenes, working my way up as a director or a writer. I studied Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media studies at San Beda College Alabang.

What’s your song of choice for walking the runway?

This one is hard. Usually, upbeat-heavy songs are very nice, but memorable songs on the runway for me are Rolling in the Deep, Skinny Love and some of Lana Del Rey’s songs.

Any advice for aspiring models?

Have a really good work ethic so that people will want to book you again. 

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