"I'm Not Filipino By Blood, But In My Heart, I Am Filipino"—Jessica Yang Represents The Philippines At The Recent Asia Model Festival In Seoul
Top by Piopio, earrings by Forever 21, and sunglass by Shop Nicole Syjuco
“I’m not Filipino by blood, but in my heart, I am Filipino," quips Jessica Yang. This Taiwanese model is still on an all-time high as she recently won the Asia Model Star Award at the 2018 Asia Model Festival in Korea as a representative of the Philippines.
“I was screaming in my heart!” Jessica recalls. “When you do good, and then someone rewards you...it’s like a big, ‘Yes, you did great!’”
“I got a call, and they said I’m gonna represent Philippines to receive the award... so it’s not like I went for a competition. There was one girl and one boy from the Philippines, they joined the competition, but I was there for the award.”
She shares the experience of having to defend receiving the award for the Philippines.
“So the award is for Asia, so there are different countries joining and everything so every country has one representative. This year, it was me, but then they actually rejected me at first. They said, ‘She’s not Filipino! She’s Taiwanese. She cannot receive this award for the Philippines.’’’
Jessica and Art Personas, the company representing her for that competition, emphasized the fact that her career was established here in the Philippines, with numerous gigs for editorials and campaigns.
She says, “I’m not Filipino by blood, but in my heart, I am Filipino. All my career is here so it doesn’t make sense that I will be representing Taiwan."
Jessica recounts her modelling roots back when she was in college in 2007. Her college IT professor, Yako Reyes, who’s now a fashion designer, encouraged her to try modelling and even called her parents to convince them that she should at least try it.
A little over 10 years later, she now has an international mother agency, Clarence Models, which gets her agencies in Cape Town and Germany.
READ: #IndependenceDay2018: Celebrate The Beauty Of Traditional Filipino Clothing With These Modern Filipiniana Looks
Having the heart for art
Jessica shares that she initially wanted to be an artist rather than a model. But as she grew to love modelling, more than what she gets to wear, it's the fact that she gets to be part of a creative initiative that gives her a sense of fulfillment.
“Even if they put me in really weird outfits or weird makeup, I’m still enjoying because it’s art for me. So I’m not like, ‘Oh my god, I look so ugly!’ It’s not about me. Whenever I do things like that, I really enjoy. I enjoy the moment. I enjoy how it turns out because for me, wow, another art piece that I did,” she shares. “When you start to care more about what you’re delivering than about yourself, you can give more.”
Her artistic soul influences the way she dresses and fixes up herself as well. She believes that comfort is key, but at the same time, she likes wearing fun things that show her personality. For her makeup look, she’s now into glow, highlight, and perfect brows.
I was overjoyed when I found out that I will be representing the Philippines to receive this year’s Asia Model Star Award in Korea. Definitely one of the highlights in my modeling career. But funny that I never see myself as a model even till today lol I barely know anything about fashion, I don’t follow the latest trend, I see fashion as ART. Art is beautiful and I love beautiful things. when I “model”, I enjoy being part of or creating every single “art piece” with talented and creative people. So I guess, I see myself more like an artist? Hahaha well, I’d like to call myself that. But yeah I just received an model award, so let’s go back to the topic LOL ?? This modeling journey taught me a lot for sure, it taught me to be more comfortable with my own body, it taught me to be more confident with myself when I face the crowd, knowing that my flaws are my greatest assets. I don’t compare myself with others, I don’t overthink, and all I do is enjoy, give 100% of myself and trust the team to work the magic. Yes, the team! I couldn’t have all these achievements without all the people that I worked with, who gave me chances and opportunities, who believed in me, who loves me and supports me. So thank you y’all ???????? yayyyyy! Super duper grateful for everything! So much luvvvvv! Special thanks to @artpersonas @asiamodelfestival for having me and @markbumgarner for dressing me up!! ????
Staying in shape
Jessica does Lagree at Elev8 Fitness Studio three times a week. Invented by Sebastien Lagree, Lagree is a workout done on a Megaformer machine using pilates-like moves. The machine has springs, straps, and pulleys, which add strength training and resistance to the exercises.
She excitedly tells how now, she can finally feel and touch her abs: “I feel much better now."
Luckily, Sky [her brother] and her boyfriend are also into fitness. “You need to have somebody around you as active, and then have like this good lifestyle around you to inspire you, really. ‘Cause if not, you’re just gonna be like, ‘I’m just gonna chill and eat whatever,’” Jessica shares.
After all these years, I JUST realized the importance of investing on cute #activewear ???? I used to work-out like 2-5 times per month only (5 times is like A LOT already) cuz aside from busy schedule, mainly, I LOVE TO CHILL and just wear boyfriend’s clothes all day when I’m off duty. But man! If you want a hot body, you gotta ??DRESS FOR SUCCESS?? I’m telling you, pretty work out clothes really motivate girls to work-out MORE. Like once I read, “Looking the part is at times the most important piece of living the fit life!” ???????
Fighting for what you want
Jessica is a driven, creative individual. It makes sense that she’s the face of a footwear brand's campaign that promotes being "you" instead of what society wants you to be.
This way of thinking is reflected in her musical direction as well, because guess what? She sings, too! Check out her electronic, indie-pop songs on Spotify!
“I don’t make it to be rich, you know. I make it 'cause I like it,” she points out.
Jessica knows what she wants, and she’s ready to work hard to achieve all of them.
“Never give up on things,” she ponders. “You know, like if you really love it, even though at this moment it’s not good, it doesn’t mean that the next months, it’s still gonna be bad because you never know, like, things will turn around… because nobody can stop you if you’re really into it, if you’re really giving 100% all the time, you know. If it’s yours, it’s yours.”
Discovering things through traveling
A look at Jessica's Instagram feed will take you to so many interesting places. She travels the Philippines and different parts of the world both for work and pleasure. Currently, she is in Brazil.
In Taiwan, she recommends these top tourist spots:
"If you're staying for a short time around Taipei, I got a few recommendations for you guys:"
Huashan 1914. "It’s an artsy place! Every month they have different exhibitions. They have cool coffee shops/bars and an indie film cinema. It's a nice place to hang out with friends and be artsy."
Jiufen. "It’s a mountain town with vintage vibe. If you are a fan of Miyazaki's greatest film, Spirited Away, this is the place to go to! The street and town in the cartoon is inspired by Jiufen. Go in the afternoon till nighttime! Pretty magical!"
Heping Island Park at Keelung city (a city near Taipei): "The third place is not a very popular place, but it’s beautiful there. It's like you are in Mars or the moon!"
In the Philippines, her favorite place is Kalinga-Apayao province in Cordillera. What are her top must-dos there? "Climb up to the top, stay with the tribe for three days, and get a tattoo from the legendary tattoo artist Whang-od."
Jessica at Heping Island Park in Taiwan
Jessica shows her tattoo by legendary tattoo artist Whang-od
Photos from @jesych
Produced and photographed by Rxandy Capinpin
Styling by Keith Angelo
Makeup by Nikki Duque of Make Up Forever
Hairstyling by MJ Rone for Revlon Professional using hair extensions from Lynelle Hair Extensions
Model: Jessica Yang