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