‘SupermodelMe’: Asian models’ newest gateway to the int’l runway

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Irish Ong has been modeling in the Philippines for many years

Irish Ong has been modeling in the Philippines for many years

Over the last decade, the world has witnessed models and model-wannabes battle it out in different reality TV shows. In Asia, Tyra Banks was first to launch a regional competition via the two year-old Asia’s Next Top Model in 2012, while NBC Universal has also joined the bandwagon with an original concept series entitled SupermodelMe.

Now on its fifth season, dubbed “Sirens,” the production has taken the time to make more noise in the Philippines with a grand launch on Thursday at Cav in Bonifacio Global City. Present—and absolutely stunning—at the event were Philippine contestants Iris Ong, 20 and Jasmine Ng, 21, joined by Brazilian-Japanese twins Rafaella and Gabriela Leonardo, 21, representing the Land of the Rising Sun.

A total of 12 Asian moving mannequins will compete in the series and in the end, only one of them will emerge as the winning supermodel.

Irish shared she has been modeling in the Philippines for many years. With a height of 5”8’, she has in fact gained the reputation for towering other models in the local industry during castings. Her fellow Filipina Jasmine, on the other hand, hails from Perth, Australia where she is also practicing as a freelance model.


Scott MacKenzie (center), NBC Universal vice president for channels in Asia Pacific, with Filipinas Jasmine Ng and Irish Ong, and Brazilian-Japanese twins Rafaella and Gabriela Leonardo

Scott MacKenzie (center), NBC Universal vice president for channels in Asia Pacific, with Filipinas Jasmine Ng and Irish Ong, and Brazilian-Japanese twins Rafaella and Gabriela Leonardo

Asked why she joined the competition, Jasmine said it is because she wants to be very focused in pursuing modeling and believes SupermodelMe can a become her gateway towards an international career.

Irish, on the other hand, related that joining the competition was a “breakthrough” for her considering she has very strict parents. That she was allowed to become part of a regional search that will be shown not just in the Philippines, therefore, is already an accomplishment for her and something she will always cherish.

Making the fifth season very interesting indeed are Rafaella and Gabriella who are twins yet rivals—a first for SupermodelMe.

Asked how they feel about going competing against one another, the sisters surprisingly replied that they found being in a single show an advantage because they are able to support one another through the experience. Nevertheless, they aim to show their own unique sides despite being twins.

“This season, we have a strong group of contenders,” noted Scott MacKenzie, NBC Universal vice president for channels in Asia Pacific, who also graced the launch.

He said SupermodelMe: Sirens further offers viewers high value production with renowned judges and mentors. For Filipino viewers, they can watch out for actress Ruffa Gutierrez who will be a guest judge in the series.

The reality show is set against the exotic backdrop of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Among the grueling, fashion-forward challenges faced by the 12 finalists include crazy casting calls, photo shoots with wild animals, and difficult rounds of interviews.

Spicing up the series are catfights atop moving vehicles, the challenge of living together under one roof, and of course, dramatic crying scenes.

Log on to www.supermodelme.tv to get to know the rest of the finalists from all around Asia.

SupermodelMe: Sirens premieres on November 24, 8 p.m., first and exclusively on DIVA, airing on Channel 37 on Sky Cable and Destiny Digital, Channel 65 on Cignal, and Channel 32 on Cable Link.

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