It’s 2008 and you just got home from school, you turn on the TV and switch to ETC to catch America’s Next Top Model Cycle 11 and you sit back and daydream on when you’ll be able to come on the show as a contender. Life was good.
It’s shows like ANTM that gives us a glimpse of what life is like for a model. Here, we delve in a little deeper and get to know the talk behind the ones walking on runways, the stories of the faces we see in Instagram posts that command thousands of likes and comments from fashion fans.
Welcome to Models Off Duty, /ESCAPE’s newest addition to the many conversations with the people who matter. Here we get up close and personal with models and what life is like for them on—you guessed it—their off days.
And in our very first edition of Models Off Duty, we meet Alexa Aguirre, a tall and striking beauty who is the epitome of what a millennial model is like. This 21 year old who stands at 6” is very hard to miss. Currently an International Relations student in De La Salle University-Manila, she juggles her modeling career with her academics, social life and sometimes even her insecurities.
/ESCAPE: What do you do outside of modeling?
Alexa Aguirre: I’m into sports, I used to be a swimmer for San Beda Alabang back in high school and then I tried out for volleyball in La Salle. I was doing that for two years and focused on modeling.
International Relations, why that course?
Alexa: I grew up wanting to work for the UN. Remember when Angelina Jolie was working in the UN in Africa? That was really like a big thing for me, like I wanted to be her, I was like idolizing her and that’s kind of why I took it.
How do you juggle your modeling career with studying?
Alexa: Well modeling just comes. I don’t model full time so my studies always come first.
What is a normal day like for you when you’re not modeling?
Alexa: Well, I’m trying to work out. So, I’m kinda active now working on my body, but I just usually spend my day at home ‘cause I’m usually away from my house.
What was growing up for you like?
Alexa: Well, I was raised in the province I’m from Pangasinan. So obviously like there’s no cable there, you really have to go outside and you know, enjoy nature. I was tomboy growing up, so I always loved playing with the boys and climbing trees and getting dirty.
Are you pure Filipino?
Alexa: I am.
Where does the height come from?
Alexa: It’s my dad. He’s 6’5. Well I mean we’re Filipino so we don’t know our mixes but I’m not like half Spanish or half American.
Do you get asked about that a lot?
Alexa: Yeah, they usually think I’m half black or Latina.
What places do you really like to travel to?
Alexa: I’m a water baby obviously so I love going to the beach, getting tan, the ocean, surfing. I’ve gotten into surfing recently.
How can you describe your personal style?
Alexa: It changes with my mood, so I can go street, and then sometimes I feel girly and then sometimes more Bohemian. It’s a mixture of everything actually.
How do you dress for a night out?
Alexa: I would wear dresses like glam up dresses and do my makeup really well. Heels, I love wearing heels even though I’m six feet tall and people usually complain about that but I mean you know you feel sexy in a pair of heels.
Who is your style inspiration?
Alexa: Alexa Chung.
Who are you listening to right now?
Alexa: Jorja Smith.
What is your current LSS?
Alexa: On My Mind by Jorja Smith.
What is your favorite holiday?
Alexa: Halloween, because you get to dress up.
Swimming pool or the beach?
Alexa: Beach, definitely.
Hiking or diving?
What were the challenges of growing up with your height?
Alexa: From childhood ‘til like high school I was getting teased about it, even now people would walk up and think that I don’t speak Filipino, so they would talk Filipino and I eavesdrop sometimes and they’d be like “Oh, ‘di ko nga alam e lalaki ba ‘yan?”.
How does it feel now that your height and the way that you look is now being celebrated and glorified in your profession?
Alexa: Really good actually. It’s like a revenge plot. Most of them are like really proud like “Yo! Like, you, you got to be model now.” Yeah.
What is something you can impart to girls who are not happy with their bodies?
Alexa: You just have to focus on the thing that makes you different from everybody else. You don’t have to be insecure about it because what sets you apart is usually the thing that people will remember for you for.
Photography by Erwin Canlas (@erwincanlas)
Interview by Vani Altomonte (@valtomonte)
Art Direction by Kinskie Oriña (@kin.orina)
Styling by Kaye Pernia (@kayepernia)
Makeup by Celina Fernandez of Benefit Cosmetics (@benefitph)
Produced and edited by Dan Buenaventura (@dnbnv)
Videography by Sara Paredes (@saraparedes_)
Video edited by Kinskie Oriña (@kin.orina)
Assisted by Rosy Felizardo (@rosyfuckingfelizardo)
Eyewear by Stêphane + Christian (@stephane_christian_ph)