She was bullied and bashed, labeled as “pretty face with no skills,” but in the end, the last Filipina standing in the modeling contest emerged victorious.
In the Wednesday episode of Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 5, 19-year-old Filipina model Maureen Wroblewitz was declared winner of the popular modeling reality search.
Maureen, who stands 5-foot-6 and the shortest among this year’s contestants, won against Malaysia’s Shikin Gomez and Vietnam’s Minh Tu Nguyen in the finale challenge, where they had to walk at a fashion show in Singapore wearing the designs of Xiaoqing Zhang, the model-turned-designer behind Shanghai-based fashion label X.Q.Zhang
In the model contestants’ penultimate challenge, they had a photo shoot titled “Motherland,” where they modeled traditional outfits from their countries. Maureen stunned in a sparkling white mestiza gown she accentuated with pearls.
“Maureen, your gorgeous face has been a great advantage to you, but you also worked hard to prove that you were worth more than just a pretty face as you finally broke free of that mold throughout the weeks,” host Cindy Bishop, a professional model who is one of the judges for this season, told the teen model before she was announced the winner. “You’re not only the youngest, you’re also the smallest of the competition. But you have stood tall, and silenced anyone who ever doubted you.”
Referring to Maureen’s performance during the final shoot, the host added, “That image is exactly what I wanted to see from you at the end of this competition. You delivered that quiet confidence, which showed that you have been soaking up everything we’ve been telling you, that you’ve been taking everything in and just completely laid it all out for us. And I am so, so happy to see that.”
Discovered on Instagram by a modeling agent when she was only 15 years old, according to her profile on Asia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) website, Maureen completed her studies and took a leap of faith, moving from Germany to the Philippines to pursue a bona fide modeling career. And like any teenager, she’s full of dreams and believes that all of them are possible if you just go for them.
Maureen’s ANTM journey was not an easy one. In one of the earlier episodes of the modeling search, Maureen was confronted by challenges including what many thought of as a form of bullying when her fellow contestants, led by Indonesia’s Clara Tan, labeled her as just a “pretty face with no skills.”
“They were bullying me and tried to bring me down but that just motivated me. It’s so nice to show them that I’m not just a pretty face,” Maureen said in a recent interview.
In the early part of the show, the Filipina model opened up about her insecurities for having little modeling experience compared to the other contestants. She also said that she tends to overthink every time she does photo shoots.
On Thursday, fashion magazine Nylon Singapore released its official July cover with Maureen. The cover is part of her prize for winning the show. Aside from the magazine spread, she also won a car from Subaru and will be represented by Storm Models Management in her modeling engagements moving forward.
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