This was how Danica Magpantay described how she felt after winning the 2011 Ford Supermodel of the World and besting the representatives of other countries all over the world.
“It was an overwhelming feeling but a humbling experience,” Magpantay told a handful of writers during a pocket interview sponsored by Globe last week at Mario’s Restaurant in Quezon City. Danica is the newest ambassador of Globe’s Tattoo@Home.
“Most people would think na lalaki ang ulo ko, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was just an ordinary girl before all this. I was that girl looking at the other models and admiring them, then all of a sudden, when I won the competition there were these girls telling me that I’m the one they look up to na. So I just put myself back in that position, and its always humbling,” she narrates.
At 17-years-old, Danica became the first Filipina to bag the top prize of the prestigious modeling competition and just the second Asian to win in the prestigious international modeling tilt (the first being Hyoni Kang of South Korea). She is also the third Filipina in the last decade to reach the finals following Charo Ronquillo in 2006 and Charlene Almarvez in 2010.
Just a girl
Danica is the daughter of former Ford Supermodel Philippines winner Milagros “Lala” Flores and Renato “Pogs” Magpantay. Her sister Danielle is also a model and was also a finalist in the 2011 competition together with her.
Surprisingly though, Danica said she never dreamt of pursuing a serious modeling career.
“I grew up with a supermodel mom, so somehow I always knew that I’d do modeling, but not as a
main profession but parang sideling lang. Alam mo ‘yong try-try lang, petiks lang na aral-model, but chill lang,” she relates.
“I wasn’t groomed to be a model. I dreamed of becoming a model but I didn’t grow up trying to be one. When I was a kid I ate everything I wanted, especially chocolates, but when I realized that I could actually reach one of my dreams, I really worked hard to achieve it.”
It was barely a few months before the Philippine competitions that Danica told her mom that she wanted to give modeling a try to which her mom could only say yes as she helped her prepare.
She enrolled at the Masters School for Models for an intensive course on walking, posing and looking like a goddess at all times. On her part, Danica said in an earlier interview that she would watch hours of modeling videos on Youtube and do research on the internet.
“I got into modeling to inspire and empower young women, to show them that not all models are just slim bodies and pretty faces. My story is about a girl who worked hard to achieve her dream. I want to tell all the girls that you don’t have to be a princess or the picture perfect girl to achieve something or to be someone—that they can be me! Just a normal student who worked hard to pursue a dream—its empowering.”
Danica admits she wanted to win but wasn’t really expecting to win the top title.
“I was just praying, Lord, kapag nanalo ako… gusto ko talagang manalo. But if not, ipakita mo sa akin ‘yong gusto mong mangyari.”
“I’m really thankful that God made this happen, because it could have been anyone but He made me win so it was super overwhelming,” she adds.
Since she won the competition Danica has become part of fashion’s biggest events such as the Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011 for Bensoni Presentation, Bibhu Mohaptra, Nanette Lapore, Odd Molly, Organic by John Patrick and Tim Hamilton. Danica was part of the Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 last October 2011 and was chosen by designers Albert Andrada, Michael Cinco, at Cesar Gaupo.
Aside from Globe Tattoo she also endorses local clothing brands Penshoppe, Oxygen, Freego, and SM Ladies Fashion.
Every model always has that exceptional characteristic that make them standout—or what people call as the XFactor.
Asked what she first liked most about her body, Danica shyly replied, “I think it’s my waist, I’m just proud of my 22-inch waistline– every time I see it, I tell myself that all that diet and workout is paying off,” she coyly laughs.
But as for her XFactor, Danica recalls what her mom told her: “Let God be your X factor.”
“The physical aspect changes—your body changes, but you cannot change the expression on your face—that presence that would make people remember you. Yung expression na pinapakita mo ang pinakaimportante—hindi yun maaalter,” she says.
Danica says she believes that it was God who brought her to where she is now, and this gives her the self confidence to hold her head high before an international audience.
“There will always be people who won’t like what you’re doing, and will criticize you, so instead of trying to please people, I just give my best each time I perform.”
Another advice her mom and sister told her was just to enjoy her life. “My mom told me to enjoy the moment, to enjoy everything kase at the end of the day it’s all going to be a memory and if that memory is not good for you then its not worth it.”
Beyond the runway
Her 10-month stint in the models apartment in NY made her discover things she never would have learned in school. “In school, you’re more concerned about grades,” she revealed. “Now I know that it’s not everything. Natutunan ko what life is.”
She is also aware that her modeling career wouldn’t last forever, that’s why she says she wants to finish her studies even through online programs.
“Modeling is a business and we models are like goods, di mo maiiwasan to have shelf life. The important thing is to know where or what you are going to do next. You should always know your next step. Just like Heidi Klum or Tyra Banks–they have found more successful careers after modeling.”
“Tyra is not just a beauty icon, she has also become a successful businesswoman and popular media person too,” she relates.
“Tyra is not just a beauty icon, she has also become a successful businesswoman and popular media personality too,” she relates.
Will she be following Tyra’s footsteps and join the entertainment business as well?
“Yes, I’m open to the idea but I haven’t actually thought about it seriously,” she answered.
If given the chance, Danica says she’d like to try hosting and do light comedy roles.
So far, she hasn’t received any showbiz offers, and says she’d like to focus on her modeling career.
“For now, I’ll focus on my modeling po. Kasi, while you’re here, why not give it your best shot.
“’Tapos afterwards, whatever God wants me to be, kung ano ang destined sa akin ni Lord, I’m going to enjoy it,” she said with a smile.
What about joining Binibining Pilipinas? Danica answers, “They say my sister is much better suited for beauty pageants—ako daw ang pang model.”
Danica will be going to Singapore next month to explore her opportunities there, fully aware of the demand for more Asian models. She goes back to the Philippines in April for the Philippine Fashion Week.
“I always knew naman that after everything I’m coming back to the Philippines. This is where my heart is. This is my home.”