• Derek Tokarzewski

Shiela DeForest

Updated: Sep 15


Model: Shiela DeForest, World Class Models Magazine, Photography & Styling by Eros Goze. Fashions were mostly sourced from Baguio City, Philippines Ukay-Ukay (pre-loved fashions market) in support of Shiela‘s sustainable fashion advocacy. Right Photo: Mariposa minaudière by Rafe New York.

World Class Models Magazine would like to welcome amazing Filipina model Shiela DeForest.


Name: Shiela DeForest Height: 5’10” Eye Color: Dark Brown  Hair Color: Black  Bust (in inches): 36 Waist: 28 Hips: 38 Shoe size: 10 US  Age: 47 by September 7 Zodiac sign: Virgo  Hobbies: Volunteering, Traveling, Singing, Sports, Cooking, Gardening, Baking, Reading Books and Magazines Years modeling: 25+ years  Countries visited: 56 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 and Peru  Likes: Learning about other cultures, trying new cuisines, meeting people, traveling, being able to make a difference no matter how small  Dislikes: Disingenuous, petty and selfish people Status: Married  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 Bachelor's 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. Prior to the Covid19 pandemic, I traveled quite a bit promoting sustainability and environmental awareness but with our current situation, my volunteering has slowed down a bit but I still support eco activities online via Zoom or Facebook live. I was recently trained and certified as a Climate Reality Leader with former US Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps.  I am now a re/make our world and International Climate Action Challenge 2020 Ambassador as well.  I’ve been married for 8 years and call 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 high heels then but I joined anyway.  I knew I wouldn'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 from college.  Afterwards, 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: Who's your mother agency and why did you choose them. Or why do you freelance?  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. The Colorado market is not as big as the other markets so you have to be signed with an agency for you to be able to get into castings so freelancing here is a bit tricky. Plus, having an agent protects you from unscrupulous entities because they screen clients and contracts.  World Class Models Magazine:  Which designers did had a chance to model for?

Majority of the designers I worked with are from the Philippines ( Jojie LlorenEdgar 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.   One cool story was how I was able to collaborate with Kandama Fashion Collective.  I was preparing for the Mrs. ECO International 2019 pageant week and I wanted to showcase Filipino design.  I found them on Instagram and they 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.  I was so proud to be able to help present our heritage in one of the major fashion capitals of the world!  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 fashion show was your favorite and why? That will be NYFW 2020 because I walked there on my birthday showcasing Ifugao, Philippines heritage fashion by Kandama Fashion Collective.  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: What is your secret to scoring runway jobs?  I believe being professional, having a great walk, stage presence, representing the collection and brands well can help you get booked for shows. World Class Models Magazine: Tell us about your upcoming fashion shows.

Covid19 has put a stop in my traveling but I’ve been busy with my environmental advocacy work supporting virtual eco forums and student science learning. I also recently judged the Miss Earth USA virtual pageant via Zoom.   World Class Models Magazine: Tell us about some of your favorite photoshoots.  I was finally booked to be on the cover of Illustrado Magazine, a Dubai-based Filipino fashion and lifestyle magazine.  It was an early morning shoot with a 4 a.m. call time so we can catch the sunrise and avoid the intense summer heat later in the day.  We shot among the sand dunes and flat plains outside Dubai where I wore fabulous designs by Ezra Couture.  I had to pinch myself when I saw my cover photo when the magazine came out! I'll never forget that because that was my first cover girl shoot.  World Class Models Magazine: What is your secret to finding the right photographers to work with and why?  When I was new in Colorado, I asked friends in fashion in the Denver market for recommendations on who to work with for personal shoots.  I also look for photographers when I travel out of state and some of them are highly recommended by my agent.  I also check out their Instagrams and websites to see their body of work. For official portfolio updates, my agency books us with different photographers so our photos will have different aesthetics. I also maintain contact with photographers I've enjoyed working with.  I think in fashion and in life, maintaining professional relationships is important as these are people you will cross paths with in different projects or events.

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: Tell us about your publishing success so far.  I've been on the cover of Illustrado Magazine, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine, World Class Models Magazine, editorial pages and street style pages for Denver Style Magazine and published in several broadsheets in Las Vegas and the Philippines.  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: Any video commercial or film experience? I was in a Chili’s Happy Hour commercial, Colorado Lottery commercial , EcoWaste Coalition Online Campaign against Single Use Plastic, UnitedWay #GivingTuesday, KMGH/ABC Denver PoshMark Interview, Love Radio 99.5 Legazpi City, TV Patrol ABS-CBN Bicol, DZRH TV Beauty and the Best, DZRH Showbiz News, POP TV Philippines and Sunstar Baguio “That’s All You Need To Know”.  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,  EcoWaste Coalition, BGoldn Feeding Program, Golden Backpack Program, Golden, Colorado Farmers Market, JEFFCO Eats Program, EcoCycle, re/make Our World and the International Climate Action Challenge 2020.  I also contribute my time by walking in fashion shows or producing videos/content supporting women empowerment, mental health, environmental awareness and sustainability.  My volunteering has been recognized by my community in the Philippines and I was a finalist for Colorado's Jefferson County 2020 International Women’s Day Unsung Heroine Award.   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. I have also been wearing Philippine indigenous fabric masks not only to support our frontline and essential workers, doing my part in helping lessen the spread of Covid19, lessen my single plastic use by using washable masks and to help support our struggling artisans back home. 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: What would you like to accomplish as a model in 2020.  I would like to keep advocating for more sustainability in the fashion industry and educating the public on the actual environmental and human costs of fast fashion.  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  World Class Models Magazine: How can someone hire you for modeling jobs?  For Colorado bookings, they can contact Cassie@wilhelminadenver.com 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: milehighfashions@gmail.com

World Class Models Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview.

Model: Shiela DeForest, World Class Models Magazine, Photography & Styling by Eros Goze. Fashions were mostly sourced from Baguio City, Philippines Ukay-Ukay (pre-loved fashions market) in support of Shiela‘s sustainable fashion advocacy. Last Photo: Mariposa minaudière by Rafe New York. 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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