World Class Models Magazine would like to welcome amazing Filipino Model Shiela DeForest 2019.
Name: Shiela DeForest
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Color: Black
Bust (in inches): 36
Shoe size: 10 US
Zodiac sign: Virgo
Hobbies: Volunteering, Traveling, Singing, Sports, Cooking, Baking, Reading Books and Magazines
Years modeling: 25+ years
Countries visited: Countries visited: 55 so far. USA (visit & now residence), Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Ireland, Malta, Greece, Spain, Russia, Austria, Switzerland, Morocco, Tunisia, UAE, Qatar, Libya, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Uganda, South Africa, Oman, Seychelles, Mauritius, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Macao, Monaco, Portugal
Likes: Learning about other cultures, trying new cuisines, meeting people, traveling, being able to make a difference no matter how small
Dislikes: Disingenuous and selfish people
World Class Models Magazine: Please tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines. My mother is a retired educator and my father is a retired Lieutenant in the Philippine Marines. I have one sister, who lives with her family near Munich, Germany. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree majoring in Tourism from the University of the Philippines' Asian Institute of Tourism. I was able to apply my education in various sectors of the tourism industry, in hotels, sales and marketing, public relations and the airline sector. I also gained experience in Press and Public Affairs when I joined the UK Embassy in Manila as a Press Officer. I travel quite a bit promoting sustainability and environmental awareness. I’ve been married for 7 years now and call Golden, Colorado, USA home.
World Class Models Magazine: Please tell us about your modeling experience.
Oh wow! I wish I can remember all the shows or shoots I did over the years but I can share some highlights:
Escada Sport, Wella Hair Model, L’Oreal Color Trophy, Kenzo Paris, Badgley Mischka, MOD Magazine, Illustrado Magazine Dubai, IWC/Mercedes Benz AMG, Beijing Olympics Dubai Showcase, Emirates Airline, Qatar Telecom (QTel) Prepaid SIM Card Campaign, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore, Smint, Terranova, Kandama Fashion Collective, Chili’s, Colorado Lottery, Marithé François Girbaud, AKSC Shenzhen, Denver Style Magazine, Poshmark PoshMarket Brand Fashion Show, Hugo Boss, BMW Munich, Noodles & Company, Rosetta Stone, BNP Paribas Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, Rogers Cup Toronto, WOW Philippines North America Tour, UnitedWay #GivingTuesday campaign, Dress for Success B.I.G. Fashion Show, Modeled for major Philippine designers, Buffalo Jeans by David Bitton , Marks and Spencer’s UK , Rustan’s Marketing Corporation, HSBC Beijing Open, Shine: No Stigma Fashion Show, Flora Cheung Hong Kong
World Class Models Magazine: How were you discovered?
I was 16 years old and in First Year college, walking in a mall when I noticed a man following me. I started to get creeped out, then he approached me and told me that I have modeling potential. I was skeptical, sure I was tall for my age but I didn't look like the girls I saw in magazines or competed in Supermodel. He sensed my distrust and gave me his card for Runway Productions, the agency he was working for. I eventually went to the agency with my dad since I was a minor so I needed parental consent. He went over the contract and said I was too young to do it. I respected my dad’s decision and continued on my college studies. Two years later, I was contacted again by Runway Productions because a spot opened up in Supermodel Philippines in ‘92. I had no modeling training nor can wear very high heels then but I joined anyway. I knew I won’t win but I had valuable modeling training from my first mentors, Joey and Audie Espino. It was my first foray into modeling and I loved it. I modeled part time alongside my studies until I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree. I continued training, modeling, joined other modeling competitions for exposure but also sought job opportunities in line with my education.
World Class Models Magazine: What made you decide to become a model?
I became a model because it helped me with personality development, gave me confidence in myself and in this process, indirectly prepared me for the corporate world. It also helped me start traveling by getting signed by Diva Models in Singapore and visited my first countries, Thailand and Japan. Now, as an older model I feel that I also have the opportunity to inspire girls who feel insecure because of their skin tone or age. I also support and promote sustainable fashion.
World Class Models Magazine: What is your favorite style of modeling and why?
I love runway shows because I get to see the design process with my designer and the adrenaline rush on the day of the show!
World Class Models Magazine: Which designers did you have a chance to model for?
Majority of the designers I worked with are from the Philippines ( Jojie Lloren, Edgar San Diego, Edgar Madamba, Richard Papa, Renee Salud, Fanny Serrano, Ronaldo Arnaldo, Edwin Tan, Edwin Uy, Dave Ocampo, Oliver Tolentino, Puey Quiñones, Philip Rodriguez, Jor-el Espina, Johnny Abad, Gino Fernando, Patis Tesoro, Ben Farrales, Lito Perez, Arielle Agasang, Raoul Ramirez, Roland Lirio, Roland Mendoza, Len Nepomuceno, PJ Arañador, Dong Omaga-Diaz, Joji Aguilar, Victor Barba, Ivan Dela Cruz, Kenneth Chua, OJ Hofer, Armando Fabia, Patrice Diaz, Sidney Perez-Sio and more to mention). I’m truly grateful for their trust in my talent and I was given the opportunity to walk or do photoshoots for them in different stages of my career. I was able to expand my horizons in Singapore as well and worked with different local designers and global brands there. In Dubai, I was able to do a cover shoot on location in the desert for Illustrado Magazine wearing creations by Ezra Couture, one of the first Dubai-based designers to dress Hollywood stars for the red carpet. Now, World Class Models gave us the opportunity to work together again for another cover shoot 12 years later! Another cool story was how I was able to collaborate with Kandama Fashion Collective. I was preparing for the Mrs. ECO International 2019 world finals last June and I wanted to showcase Filipino design. I found them in Instagram and Victor (the designer) wanted to support me but the timing was off because they were preparing for their show in Paris. Months later, we reconnected and met in Manila in preparation for NYFW. He’s such a creative and passionate person promoting our heritage!
World Class Models Magazine: Which designer was your favorite and why?
I love working with all the designers I was fortunate to work with over the years so I can’t choose just one. Despite being away from the Philippines for several years now, I am blessed to have friends in the industry who supported me when I finally joined pageantry. They collaborated with me for my gowns, regional costume, accessories and beautiful bags. I’m truly grateful for Edwin Uy for designing my bespoke Mrs. Southeast Asia costume, Joel Bautista and Delby Bragais for the gowns I wore when I competed in Shenzhen, China, Oz Go for gowns I wore during photoshoots, Jor-el Espina for styling me in my press conferences, Adante Leyesa for his fabulous bags and statement jewelry, Rafe New York for his beautiful minaudières, Beatriz Accessories for her thread bangles and clutches, Kara & Juan for their sustainable carabao horn jewelry, Jewelynne Bohol Jewelry, Island Girl bags and jewelry, Crissander TRASHformation jewelry, KILUS environmental organization upcycled bags and jewelry, Otsirav’e by Carlo Evaristo, Mele & Marie bags, Inabal Weave of Davao City, Jelvin Mujar and Kayamanan ni Juan community artisans.
World Class Models Magazine: Which major fashion shows have you modeled in?
My most recent ones are NYFW SS2020 and Curated Memories Bridal Show
World Class Models Magazine: Which fashion show was your favorite and why?
That will be NYFW because I walked there on my birthday, how cool was that?
World Class Models Magazine: What is your biggest success as a model so far?
I think that will be finally being able to walk in NYFW at 46 years old!
World Class Models Magazine: Who's your mother agency and why did you choose them?
I’m with Wilhelmina Denver in their Commercial Women Division exclusively in Colorado. I chose them because they’ve been in the industry for a long time so they have valuable insight and a wide client base.
World Class Models Magazine: Tell us about your upcoming fashion shows.
I’ve been busy traveling for my environmental advocacy that I’m focused on that at the moment but I have shows in the works for next year.
World Class Models Magazine: Any video commercial or film experience?
I was in a Chili’s Happy Hour commercial and Colorado Lottery commercial
World Class Models Magazine: Do you volunteer for any cause?
I do volunteer work for various non-profits like Bella Boutique Denver, Dress For Success Denver, Soles4Souls, United Way, Colorado Uplift, Bantay Bata 163, World Missions Outreach, Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, Haribon Foundation and EcoWaste Coalition. I also contribute my talent by walking in fashion shows supporting women empowerment, mental health, environmental awareness and sustainability.
World Class Models Magazine: What is your personal fashion style?
I have an eclectic fashion style and dress however I feel like for the day, season or location. In the last few years, I have been more supportive of upcycled, indigenous and artisan fashion made with heritage fabrics.
World Class Models Magazine: What is your secret to success.
I believe having a positive attitude helped me in my career over the years.
World Class Models Magazine: How do you prepare for a photoshoot?
I prepare my model bag with essentials I’ll need for the shoot (e.g. shoes, underwear, makeup kit, etc.), outfits (if we’re bringing our own clothes for commercial/test shoots), styling/grooming (e.g. some shoots require specific nail polish colors), workout, eat healthy, stay hydrated and try to get a good night’s sleep. I also study the brand and look we’re shooting for.
World Class Models Magazine: Any modeling tips for up and coming models?
Patience, perseverance, humility and positivity will help you in your career. Rejection may be difficult to handle in the beginning, but in time, you’ll understand that clients look for talent that best represent their brands. Keep up with fashion trends, stay fit and healthy because you have to be ready for castings or bookings anytime. Get signed by an established agency because they have talent development programs and workshops that can help you hone your craft. Prepare for castings and read your agents’ casting sheet on what you need to wear or the role/show you’re being considered for. Keep your portfolio, headshots/comp cards and resume updated so you’ll have them ready for castings. I started modeling pre-social media but these days, I think social media is a powerful tool where models can share their work, personality and interests outside fashion. But, it is also something they have to be mindful of because clients can see the kind of content they post and how much social media presence they have.
World Class Models Magazine: What would you like to accomplish as a model in 2019.
I would like to be able to help advocate for more sustainability in the fashion industry.
World Class Models Magazine: What would be your ultimate modeling dream job?
To walk in all the major fashion weeks!
World Class Models Magazine: What is your overall modeling goal?
To be able to support more sustainable fashion brands and designers in their advocacy.
World Class Models Magazine: What legacy as a model would you like to leave behind?
I would like to be able to inspire others that age is not an issue in this industry and we can have longevity for as long as we want to be part of it.
World Class Models Magazine: Where can we learn more about your work?
You can go to my FB page @ShielaDeForest or Instagram: @shiela_deforest @mrsecointernational @mrsecointernational2019
World Class Models Magazine: How can someone hire you for modeling jobs?
For Colorado bookings, they can contact Cassie at Wilhelmina Denver
https://www.wilhelminadenver.com/models-women-commercial/1431142/shiela-deforest . For bookings outside Colorado/International, I can be reached through Instagram: @shiela_deforest or email: email@example.com
World Class Models Magazine would like to say thank you for this amazing interview.
Shiela DeForest, World Class Models Magazine, Photo by Ace Reyes, Designer: Ezra Couture, MUA: Brian Ong Acallar
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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