About face!
- Yvette Tan () - July 18, 2008 - 12:00am

Appearing on the cover of a magazine is a dream for many young women, and for one lucky girl, that dream will soon become a reality.

Meg recently magazine unveiled the top 10 finalists of the Meg Face 2008 at Alchemy Bar. “Our purpose is to find the next talent, a fresh new face with preferably no modeling experience,” says Meg editor in chief Peewee Reyes-Isidro.

Now on its sixth year, the teen magazine’s annual competition is credited with discovering celebs such as Ehra Madrigal and the uber-famous Marian Rivera.

In line with the magazine’s 10th anniversary, the magazine has chosen 10 finalists instead of the usual five.  The hunt kicked off, as all model castings do, with the grand go-see held at Alabang Town Center, Glorietta and TriNoma. Over 1,000 cover girl hopefuls ages 15-20 struck poses and flashed smiles in the hopes of becoming Meg’s new “it” girl.

Not everyone may have made it to the top 10, but everyone who participated had a grand time, as each girl received a fabulous makeover and got to wear their dream outfits for their picture. Plus, everyone who tried out got to have their picture featured in the magazine’s July issue.  In short, it was every girl’s dream come true. It was a tough choice but the judges, composed of Sari Yap, president and CEO of Mega Publishing Group; Lorraine Belmonte, VP for editorial and production, and the Meg editorial team finally whittled it down to the 10 lovely ladies who faced the press on that day.

No wallflowers here

“This is a very good batch,” Peewee says. “Some are younger, some are older, but they all have different personalities and I’m very happy that they’re go-getters.  They take initiative, and at the same time, they don’t complain. They’re just having fun with the experience.”

This year’s batch of Meg Face contestants includes Meryl Cerise “Barbie” Perey, an aspiring doctor, who is a “vintage belle,” while Maria Beatriz “Bea” Hernandez is an “artsy” individual who dreams of owning a salon someday. There’s “polished preppy” Ines Garcia, a cheerleader and gymnast whose future plans include a successful writing career, and Gandahari “Simone” Carpio, “the performer” who has helped raise money for the less fortunate. Katrina Margaret “Kat” Espe is a “free spirit” whose love of nature led her to study tourism, while Jonah “OJ” Hernandez is a “global girl” who aspires to be a source of inspiration for teens. “Rock princess” Carmina Isabelle “Carms” Bautista Topacio not only rocks the mic but the guitar and piano as well, while nursing student Jocelyn Ann “Joann” D. Santiago is the “glamourosa.” Last but certainly not least are “geek chic” Justine Ashley Steier, who manages to balance academics, extracurricular activities and a thriving personal life; and Mary Anne “Me-Ann” Dimalanta, a “sporty” beauty who loves to play badminton and volleyball.

Each of these girls have, with Meg’s help, grown from shy gals into confident young ladies in just a few months.  “I’ve learned to be more conscious about what I’m wearing, how I look, to be more poised in how I express myself, in how I walk and talk,” Simone Carpio says.

“I’m still a bit shy but you have to understand that, in this business, you cannot be a shy person. You have to be able to go with the flow and to relate to other people,” Ashley Steier shares, before spilling her secret to overcoming shyness: “I prep myself for the day’s events. Like this morning, I said to myself, ‘Today you have a shoot, you have a press con and you should be able to talk to people.’  Also the encouragement I get from my family and friends really helps.”

Meanwhile, Bea Hernandez keeps her cool by concentrating on projecting into the camera.  “Meg helped me bring out my true self,” she says.

Beauty and brains

These girls are more than just pretty faces. A lot of them place education as their first priority, and most of them would consider modeling as more of a hobby than a full-time job — at least for now.  “I think I will be able to balance modeling with my studies,” says Ashley, who plans to pursue her master’s degree in business. “I see a lot of celebrities who are still studying, like for example Iya (Villania). She’s really exposed but I see her in school and she’s doing well.”

“Aside from beauty, it’s really their personality, their character that makes them stand out,” Peewee reveals. “It’s how they deal with the other girls, as well as how well they handle the different pressures that they have to face.”

For these 10 beauties, the competition is just beginning.  Their fate will be decided by the Meg editorial team, plus Meg readers who can vote online at www.meggurl.com until August 15. The winner, who will be declared the Meg Face of the Year and who will grace the cover of Meg’s October issue, will be crowned during the Meg grand anniversary party.

And for those who don’t win the coveted title? Take heart, and look to Marian Rivera for inspiration. “Marian was a finalist, she didn’t win, although when we met her, we saw instantly that she had the beauty and the personality and she really stood out,” Peewee reveals. “We’re really happy for her, she’s a big actress now.”

Now this is one competition where everyone is a winner!

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