Fashion is United (Preview September 2017)

In celebration of PMAP’s 30th year anniversary, PMAP collaborated with the top three fashion magazines to interpret PMAP’s mission-vision, which is “to uplift, protect and professionalize the modeling industry in the Philippines.”

*The article is directly lifted from Preview Magazine with full credits found below.

At a time when social-media superstars compete for top billing, 140-character messages and 24-hour stories get the word out, and technology disrupts traditions, 30-year-old organization Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP) stays relevant by adapting and doing what it does excellently: uplift, protect, professionalize.

Back in 1987 when the local modeling scene was more a pastime for high society’s debutantes and an informal income source for those already working the ramp, print and commercial circuits, the top models of that time came together to form the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP). Top-billed by such iconic fashion figures as Tina Maristela-Ocampo, Suyen Chi, Izza Agana and Desiree Verdadero, the founding members of the by-invitation-only nonprofit organization lobbied for standardized rates and feasible
work hours from designers, producers and directors in exchange for first-rate professional modeling services. Their goal? Make modeling
an actual profession with rules and guidelines that protect its people.

One of PMAP’s earlier recruits and subsequent president in 1989, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez recalls a time when being part of the association meant belonging to modeling’s upper crust, what with the level of excellence that came with the above-average rates
they fought for. “The biggest advantage was that you belonged to a select group of models. It was an honor to be invited to PMAP,” she reminisces. “Being selected to be part of the association meant that you met the criteria of being a bookable, bankable, credible, professional model.”

And bookable, bankable, credible and professional they were—and still are. Thirty years later at Summit’s Brixton studios and with Tweetie complying to a 7 a.m. call time, Apples Aberin powering through the monsoon and a case of the flu, Grace Molina flying home to Manila just for this shoot and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo managing to squeeze in time in between her cosmetic business and in-progress MBA, it was as if these ’nyoras never said goodbye. Together with Phoemela Baranda, Baba Parma and Angel Agustin, the seven former PMAP
presidents—the female leaders in the prestigious roster, at least—came together for a reunion editorial celebrating the collective’s three decades.

In an email interview, incumbent PMAP president Raphael Kiefer stresses that the objectives of PMAP have not changed in the last 30 years despite shifts in challenges: PMAP still aspires for a professional modeling industry that protects and uplifts the local model. “One would think that in 2017, we shouldn’t even be talking about professionalism anymore, but we are in an industry that keeps on changing and requiring updated guidelines.” He also stresses that PMAP is one of very few organized groups standing its ground against the issue of low talent fees and slow payment processes. “This determination is helping steady the ship, but we cannot deny
that this unwillingness to compromise has tested the members and the association in many ways—including losing work to non-PMAP models who are willing to take a pay cut,” he states.

Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, the longest-serving PMAP president from 2003 to 2008, knows about this issue on compensation very well. “My position required me to address issues on work ethics, professional fees, working contracts,” she says. “I ensured that [our members] maintained professionalism at work and were protected from exploitation, provided with reasonable working hours and were well-compensated by implementing standard rates while fostering a good relationship among models, directors, clients and producers. She crusaded for the welfare of fellow models while she herself did not get paid for her efforts, as did the others before and after her, since PMAP is a nonprofit organization.

Still, she looks back at her five years at the helm with “her head held up high.” “My sense of wealth, pride and honor comes from the fact that I courageously and uncompromisingly stuck to the principles of professionalism and excellence in uplifting the modeling industry.”

Phoemela Baranda validates Rissa’s efforts and acknowledges the impact that Brazilian and other South American models continue to have in both professional fees and our everevolving notion of beauty. “It’s tough to compete with foreign models who are willing to be paid lower. I just wish there was a little more backup from the proper government offices as far as making their employment legal,” she laments—the situation still apparent today as in her term from 2010 to 2013. “As for looks, fashion is an industry more accepting of different skin and body types.”

“Fashion has a hand at changing perceptions and advocating progressive and compassionate concepts of beauty,” Grace Molina shares, harping on Phoemela’s thoughts. As PMAP president from 1998 to 2001, she was witness to the emergence of a new beauty agenda headlined by the likes of Wilma Doesnt, Jo Ann Bitagcol and Lucia Santiago. “I’m proud to say that PMAP has welcomed many models with differing looks, styles and personalities. We train them, instill discipline and professionalism and encourage each one to make a mark and show that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but is within each one.”

Grace also agrees that proper work documentation is a must for foreigners—and so is an open mind in the face of competition. “I prefer to think of the situation as a motivation for every model in the Philippines—Filipino or not—to become more professional and excellent at work. Globalization is a reality that all should accept and embrace. Filipino models should not ‘insulate’ themselves,” she insists.

Perhaps no one felt the birthing pains of globalization more than Baba Parma, who succeeded Grace in 2001. Her goals of wider reach and more visibility to designers, brands and producers were both challenged by tradition and technology. “That time, our members’ physical set cards either suffered from poor quality or did not give justice to their body of work; they did not address our need for reach. It was also then that we created the very first PMAP website where each member’s profile also worked as a far-reaching set card. We have our friends and supporters from the IT industry to thank for what was then a big achievement.”

Technology is one of professional modeling’s biggest disruptors, says Raphael. “Instagram and Facebook are blurring the lines—and that’s both a good and bad thing. It’s good because models have a platform to share their work and gain a following, and bad because most anyone can be a model on social media. Needless to say, technology is something we continue to navigate.”

Angel Agustin, head from 2013 to 2015, welcomed social media with open arms by initiating the PMAP brand ID and social-media campaign #ModelsWithSubstance. The campaign showed its stakeholders and the internet that PMAP members are professional models and even more. “That campaign holds a lot of meaning,” Angel, also a finance professional, admits. “To show that PMAP models can pursue their passions, finish their education or grab other career opportunities meant a lot to me as president.”

It was also during Angel’s term that PMAP adapted to the times and changed their recruitment process. Raphael shares, “PMAP is becoming younger, with more models retiring earlier in recent years and giving way to a new generation.” Since then, PMAP’s focus has been to develop a new breed of models while at the same time continuing to hold their position in the industry as the association with the most top models.

This new breed, lovingly referred to by Raphael as “PMAP Babies,” are being taught to play the modeling game well—to be great in every capacity, be it on the runway, shoots and social media.

Raphael shares that the focus of PMAP’s new board is to develop these young, aspiring models and mold them into professionals who can compete in the international scene. “This may be the long and painful road,” he admits, “but we feel this is the best way to achieve our long-term goals. At the end of the day, we have to be able to offer the best so that we can ask for the best. And once our models become the best, they will be the ones setting the bar anew.”

The results have been favorable to the organization, beneficial to the model, and visible from where this writer stands: On the same day PMAP’s ’nyoras were asked to pose for posterity, the aforementioned babies—newbies, relatively—were given the opportunity to star on their own pages. It was history in the making: a proverbial passing of the torch, a friendly fashion face-off for the ages.

PMAP’s recent recruits were well-spoken and demonstrated both potential and professionalism in the presence of their predecessors. Hannah Locsin took time to credit the association for teaching her how to manage her career independently and demonstrate excellence—even when no one is watching. Lou Yanong, on the other hand, shares that her PMAP training has taught her to value the time of others and to “demonstrate respect to the people around me.” “Everyone—from the directors, photographers and creatives you work with, to the backstage assistants and the production team,” continues Lexa Aguirre.

Jeanine Tsoi shares, “Competition can get tough, but I’ve been taught [that putting] lots of love in what I do will make me stand out.” Gabbie Abesamis claims that curiosity and discipline will take her places. Alexis Sale agrees and adds, “And to finish my studies, of course.”

Earlier that day, when she was the first to come out of makeup, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez shared wisdom that these PMAP babies would have written in the tablet of their hearts. “Any delay [at a shoot] was never on the account of the PMAP model,” she said, recalling the strict work ethic that the organization ingrained in her as a new model. “Personally, because I was part of [PMAP], my standards are quite high—and rightly or wrongly, I expect the same level of professionalism from everyone else I work with.”

STYLED BY Andre Chang
WORDS BY Owen C. Maddela
EDITED BY Jae De Veyra Pickrell
MAKEUP BY Anthea Bueno, Anton Patdu and Gery Penaso for Laura Mercier
HAIR BY Mong Amado, Mark Rosales and Francis Guintu
Stylists Asssistants: Teresita Gabat and April Lozada
MODELS: Baba Parma, Tweetie De Leon, Phoemela Baranda, Apples Aberin, Grace Molina, Rissa Mananquil, Angel Agustin, Lou Yanong, Hannah Locsin, Jeanine Tsoi, Lexa Aguirre, Alexis Sale and Gabbie Abesamis

The Model Standard (Metro September 2017)

In celebration of PMAP’s 30th year anniversary, PMAP collaborated with the top three fashion magazines to interpret PMAP’s mission-vision, which is “to uplift, protect and professionalize the modeling industry in the Philippines.”  

*The article is directly lifted from Metro Magazine with full credits found below. 

IN THIS CRAZY-COMPETITIVE, ever-changing world of fashion, the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP) is a much-needed bastion. Gone are the days when brands were beholden to fashion models for the right image; today Instagram stars and young influencers abound, offering a new proposition. Digital media and fast fashion are at their peak, and new models can only overcome these
challenges with mentors, teammates, and guides they can trust.

Contrary to first impressions, PMAP is not a modeling agency. Instead, it occupies a unique place in the fashion and modeling world: It’s both a union and an association, founded in 1987, a pioneer in the global modeling industry. As PMAP celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it remains the sole non-profit organization run by models, for models. Since its establishment, PMAP has come far in empowering its roster to plan and manage their careers through in-depth workshops and training.

With household names such as Kelsey Merritt, Phoemela Baranda, Tweetie De Leon, Rissa Mananquil, Hye Won Jang, Hannah Locsin, and Jach Manere in the PMAP roster, the association has a stellar track record of guiding its models to success, most critically now, as aspiring models often start young.

Twelve years old. That’s how young Kira Manansala was when she was introduced into the modeling business. On the other hand, Mauro Lumba was a freshman student when he submitted his first model’s portfolio. Jach Manere, too, was in college when she went to her first go-see. Fresh, new faces barely in their twenties are plucked from different walks of life; but in order to thrive, they need to put up with the demands of fashion, now both online and offline.

Aside from putting models on the ladder to success, PMAP leads through its ideals and aspirations for the modeling industry. Through the years, PMAP models have consistently been outspoken in claiming their rights and advancing the PMAP vision of reasonable working hours and standardized compensation in the industry.

“Kaya nabuo ang PMAP,” says PMAP treasurer Ana Sideco. “Because [most people] saw modeling not as a profession, but as a sideline. Our vision is to protect, uplift, and professionalize the modeling industry.” She cites the need for standards in terms of compensation, reasonable working hours, and contracts, demanding that models be treated just like any working professional.

Another advocacy where PMAP succeeded was in the push for more diversity in modeling. Ana relates that prior to PMAP, only fair-skinned models got jobs, but after the organization’s advocacy to “love your own,” morena models were more appreciated and soon became in demand.

Members are unanimous in saying that PMAP is very different from modeling agencies because of the strong mentorship found exclusively in their organization. In addition, the strong relationships in PMAP are based on trust.

“PMAP is a family built on trust,” says Raph Kiefer, the current president of the association. The organization emphasizes teamwork and unity, as models guide each other throughout the stages of their careers. “It’s a really nice system because it’s always the seniors, the ones with the most experience, who teach the [younger models].”

Raph continues, “When you’re on the board of PMAP, you don’t get paid. It’s all voluntary. I think that is our strength. [Trust] is something you can’t break. And I think this is very good for the Philippine modeling industry because it can be quite chaotic.”

Angela Lehman shared these sentiments, stating that PMAP truly cares for its models and never takes a cut from talent fees. “Aside from sending me to go-sees and sending my cards to all these clients, [PMAP] also makes sure that I get paid properly. It also makes an effort for me to meet important people in the industry. I would never have been able to network well without PMAP.”

Angela also shares how PMAP involves itself in elevating the standards of the modeling industry, especially since professionalism and its related qualities are given for any PMAP member. “PMAP makes sure that its models are more than perfect. [Models] get there on time—not just on time, but even before the call time! PMAP makes us come in the most presentable attire from head to toe, even if it’s just for a fitting.”

Opportunities to learn in PMAP abound, and though it encourages models to treat modeling as a career, not a side job, mastering the art of modeling is definitely not the end-all. As Wilma Doesnt shares, members become versatile and confident in their social skills through lessons on fine dining, walking, and grooming. There are also workshops for more obscure matters, such as paying taxes.

Through training and teamwork, PMAP has catapulted countless models to great heights. The hundreds of determined members who have undergone a rigorous entry process can attest to that. The pride and fulfillment that comes from becoming a member is priceless, explained Brent Javier. “Being associated with PMAP is a great thing. It speaks volumes of the Philippine fashion industry.”

The influence PMAP has on the fashion and modeling industry is undeniable—from empowering morenas and professionalizing the art, to advancing calls for unity in compensation and job security. What more the influence it has on the lives of its members, who are now more empowered than ever?

In a saturated industry, where things can change in the blink of an eye and competition can be cutthroat, fashion models can be sure of success with one thing: A time-tested, consistent support system that trains, mentors, and adapts to changing trends. A family they can trust.


PHOTOGRAPHS: Rxandy capinpin
TEXT: Hershey Neri
STYLING: Keith Angelo
MAKEUP: Nikki Duque, Niki Medina and Sari Campos for Make Up Forever
HAIR: Emman Sevillana and Hazel Alonsabe FOR F&H Famous Salon
MODELS: Ana Sideco, Raphael Kiefer, Wilma Doesnt, Brent Javier, Jach Manere, Mauro Lumba, Angela Lehmann, and Kira Manansala

PMAP GO SEE on MAY 28, 2017

May28 Gosee 6


To all PMAP hopefuls, we are having our first and only go-see for the year on May 28, 2017.  Be part of the Philippines’ first and only modeling association consisting of top models, fashion icons and beauty queens.   See you!

Male models:
13 to 28 years old
6′ feet and above
wear white shirt and black pants

Female models:
13 to 25 years old
5’8 and above
wear white tank top, black pants and heels

Please bring photos.

PMAP x Kenzo

YStyle collaborates with the Professional Models Association of the Philippines in this special The Kenzo x H&M collection. Published on October 21, 2016 as seen in Philippine Star.


Creative Director: David Milan
Photographer: Koji Arboleda
Hair: Mycke Arcano and Rudolf Davalos

2016 Miss World Philippines is Catriona Gray

The year 2016 is the year of beauty queens in PMAP.  Another beauty queen has been added to our list of queens after the legendary finish of our three Binibining Pilipinas beauties, claiming the top three coveted titles.  2016 Miss World Philippines is none other than Catriona Gray.  Who says the number 13 is unlucky?  Congratulations Catriona and best of luck.

Photos by Bruce Cassanova.

catriona-gray-miss-world catriona-gray-miss-world-philippines-2016


PMAP Girls for Cosmopolitan’s 8 Sexiest Models November 2015

Cosmopolitan Philippines listed their chosen 8 sexiest models for 2015 and PMAP proudly has Kelsey Merritt on the cover plus four other PMAP girls featured inside.

Kelsey Merritt
Emerald Alshammari
Patch Magtanong
Jach Manere
Shermaine De Ramos

I AM PMAP Campaign

For 28 years, PMAP has been the only non-profit organization established by models and has always been run by models themselves. The organization has continued to aspire in protecting, uplifting, and professionalizing the modeling industry in the Philippines, as well as highlighting the best that the country has to offer. Our aim has always been to develop and stabilize national and international awareness for aggregate participation and involvement in the competitive field of modeling. Our organization, for the last two decades, has been a key force in the development and success of the local fashion industry.

The newly elected PMAP board will build on the PMAP legacy with its two-year campaign:


The campaign highlights the new generation of models who are smart, multi-tasking people, involved with various projects and advocacy.  PMAP aims to improve the overall image of models as more than just a pretty face.  Below are the photos of some of our active models and their chosen description about themselves.

To find out more about the I AM PMAP campaign, please watch this video.

Photo: Chris Gallegos
Video: Foldeography
Makeup: MAC Cosmetics
Hair: TIGI Bedhead
Shot at The Right Frame Studios


PMAP Induction 2015 and Launching of I AM PMAP Campaign

The Professional Models Association of the Philippines held it’s elections last August 1, 2015 in Laguna. The new PMAP board for 2015-2017 is headed by President Raphael Kiefer, who takes over the position from outgoing President, Angelita Agustin-Co.  On October 21, 2015, PMAP held the induction of the new board members at Sarika in Dusit Thani Hotel.  Together with the induction, the new PMAP board launched the I AM PMAP campaign.  For more information regarding the I AM PMAP campaign, please click here.

The event was attended by current and senior PMAP models, as well as, directors, designers, and PMAP clients among others.  The event was a success as it opened doors for future projects for the whole association.

PMAP would like to thank our following sponsors to make this event possible:

Sarika, Dusit Thani
The Zen Institute
MAC Cosmetics
TIGI Bedhead
Chris Gallegos Photography
Right Frame Studios


PMAP Models Featured in Metro February 2014

Ten of our girls are featured in Metro Magazine’s February 2014 issue.


Photographed by Doc Marlon Pecjo


Nikita Mc Elroy
Maxine Medina
Aya Abesamis
Ana Sideco
Emerald Alshammari
Maan Marquez
Samantha Lewis
Natasha Bautista
Tola Orendain
Shermaine De Ramos
Metro Feb 2014

PMAP Models AVP for Philippine Retailers Association

The Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) held its annual conference last August 7 – 8 at SMX Convention Center. Select PMAP models walked the runway showcasing different designs from various brands.  PRA has been very generous giving PMAP a spot in their presentation.  Below is the video presentation of PMAP which was shown for two days during their event showcasing the current active models of PMAP.