The 21-year-old model became the first Filipino to walk on the most watched fashion show in the world, the Victoria Fashion Exhibition & Secret in New York on November 8.
Kelsey Merritt, a graduate of AB Communications from Ateneo de Manila University, became a Victoria model & Secret that will be watched by hundreds of millions of people worldwide when the program aired on December 2.
"It feels like a dream," he told Teen Vogue in an interview published online. And a country obsessed with beauty contests cannot agree further.
Currently, Victoria's fashion show Secret is arguably more popular than beauty pageants, which are aired in more than 100 countries, especially among young people around the world who want to model a thin part of the brand's clothing icon.
Merritt will join celebrity ranks Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid.
ToBeYou Model Inquirer
Merritt, who was born in Pampanga province and grew up in Manila, is also a model of the ToBeYou Inquirer section. He did a photo shoot for ToBeYou in Boracay, when he became a local Bench brand model, Kashieca.
From the beginning, he worked to become a model. In addition to ToBeYou, he did photos for local glossos and billboards, and walked on the runway from the Bench brand.
He told Teen Vogue before the show: "Getting a show was a dream come true but being the first Filipino woman to walk on the show meant I made history. The program was broadcast in more than 190 countries with models from 20 countries, and I was chosen to represent my region. Blessed! "
His friend at Ateneo, Nicole Thorp, also ToBeYou contributor, described Merritt: "He is kind and hard-working, and he can juggle his modeling work in New York and London."
& # 39; I'm just me & # 39;
Merritt's runway task is heating up the internet, with some netizens commenting that she is not a "pure Filipino" —a mother is a Filipino, her father is American — and as such she cannot claim her achievements as an Asian victory, because she is "white. "
Merritt, however, has a reasonable and straightforward answer to that in Teen Vogue: "I want to tell them that I'm just me."
He posted on his Twitter account: "Pinanganak ako sa Pilipinas in lumaka aka Pampanga. Tinapos, North Sumatra, is in Manila for the US dollar last year. Bro, pinoy pa dugo, how come you & # 39; pure & # 39; na hindi pa nakatapak sa [Pilipinas]. (I was born in the Philippines and grew up in Pampanga. I finished my studies in Manila before moving to the US last year. My blood is more Filipino than "pure" people who have never stepped on Philippine soil). I love my country and I am proud of where I come from. "
Apparently, he has defenders, most of them students.
In a ToBeYou poll, Ira Patricia Pelayo from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) said: "But what is the beauty of the real Philippines? Even though Kelsey Merritt has eurosentric features, it still has strong and fierce Filipino features. The fact that he is a Filipino with blood is something we should be proud of because he represents us in the international modeling industry. "
Another UST student, Hasmin Sevilla, added: "His unfamiliar appearance did not make him less Filipino. Apart from our blood, the size of one's nationality is the content of our hearts. Her beauty and courage should make us all proud! "
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