After finishing strong as one of the top contenders in the biggest reality show on Philippine television, model-turned-TV-personality Cora Waddell has become an overnight celebrity. With numerous interviews, guestings and a full length movie underway, it comes as no surprise that the 27-year-old Filipino-American beauty is a natural behind the camera.

For someone who got their claim to fame from a reality show, Cora is as real as it gets. She’s laid back, witty and carries herself with a confidence that make heads turn wherever she goes. But apart from her charisma, it is perhaps Cora’s willingness to take chances and push herself beyond her comfort zone that make her worthy of the love shown by her countless fans.

/ESCAPE finds that when the whole world is watching your every move, you might as well have a little fun.

Pinoy Big Brother is one of the biggest, most-watched shows in the country. What made you decide to join?

Cora Waddell: I was at a point in my life where I was gonna quit modeling. I was here in the Philippines for almost 7 years to do modeling and to be an artista and I couldn’t quit before trying everything. So if PBB is the one show that everyone does to do that, might as well just audition before I leave just to see what happens. Eh natanggap ako.

What were your expectations before entering the Pinoy Big Brother house?

CW: Everyone said, “Mababaliw ka sa bahay na ‘yan!” and I was like “Oh okay. Well I’m already crazy, so let’s see what happens. Maybe it’ll turn me sane.”

Did you think you would make it as far as you did in the competition?

CW: Of course you enter and think, “Oh I’m gonna win!” but once I got inside, it was tough. Everybody wants to win, and everybody deserves to win, so it became more about survival. I didn’t expect to get as far as I did. I didn’t think I was strong enough, but you learn while you’re inside and you respect yourself more. Kaya ko pala.

What do you think helped you get along with so many different personalities in the house?

CW: I was not very social when I went in. I struggled more than I expected to trying to get along with everyone. But once I took the time to get to know them and find out who they are as people, then you start to appreciate them and respect them.

Out of all the housemates you were with, who did you get along with the best?

CW: Tanner, Edward and Kisses!

Are the housemates the same IRL as they are on TV?

CW: Yes, we’re all like that! Of course things are edited so you see the best and worst in people, but it’s all genuine. That’s who we are.

What was the most memorable part of your stay?

CW: The cheerdance! My mother always wanted me to be a cheerleader, I never did it. It just wasn’t for me. I don’t have much spirit (laughs). I’m more of a sarcastic person. But to do a cheerdance and throw people in the air, I was really impressed with myself for accomplishing that.

What was the biggest change you saw in yourself after the show ended?

CW: A few things. I used to be very impatient, now I’m more understanding. And I’m much more social! I can keep conversations with people now! Before I was shy and I’d just leave people alone and it makes people think you’re stuck up. I didn’t realize that was how I was coming off before, so now I’m nicer.

You traveled a lot growing up. What was that like?

CW: It was an amazing experience because I don’t know any other way. I feel like travel keeps you open-minded. When you’re exposed to other cultures and how things are very different from place to place, you understand people more.

Your Youtube fans have dubbed you “Cora The Explorer” because of all the travelling you do. What’s your absolute favorite place to visit?

CW: The beach, any beach! I like being around nature. I went to Tiananmen island in Malaysia recently and it was amazing! I’ve never been to Fiji or the Maldives, so that’s on the bucket list!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for a vlog?

CW: It was a public service announcement for sea turtles so we hatched baby sea turtles and collected poisonous starfish, which I would normally avoid, and I ended up kicking the bag and infecting myself! It’s gonna be on National Geographic though so it was worth it.

You have naturally curly hair, how do you deal with having to constantly style it for your job? Any hair tips?

CW: When I was young, I fought it. I straightened it all the time. But now especially in a warm, humid country where it rains, you can’t really do that because it’s gonna get curly. I put coconut oil and curling serum. You usually put it while your hair is wet so your curls stay together. But really just embrace it. It’s not as bad as you think.

How can you stay looking fresh this summer despite the heat? Do you change your makeup routine?

CW: In the heat, less is more. I don’t put foundation all over my face. I’ll do a spot treatment, some bb cream, something light. Because once you sweat, no one can help you (laughs).

Pool Club, Valkyrie or Revel?

CW: I like all three but I’d say Pool Club!

Fill in the blank: _______ is a girl’s best friend.

CW: A bralette. No wires.

What’s one accessory you can never leave home without?

CW: Sunglasses!

Any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

CW: Yes! I am going to be in a movie! It’s not coming out yet but it’s with Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe and it’s called Woke Up Like This! It’s gonna be a comedy, and I’m excited because I’ve never done a comedy before.

If you could pick between modelling and acting, which would you do?

CW: I love modelling, it raised me and carried me into womanhood. But I have to say I’d like to do acting more. I can’t do the same thing forever, but I deeply love modelling.

What's your ultimate /ESCAPE?

CW: Beach escape! I like to be anywhere that’s warm, there’s nature and water.

 

A post shared by ???cora ??? (@coraleenwaddell) on

 

Look 1

Nude swimsuit by Hey Babe (@heybabeswim) at Mercer Street (@shopmercerst)

Black and white striped buttondown by Ensembles (@ensemblesonline)

Sandals by Susto (@sustothelabel)

Earrings by SM Accessories (@smaccessories)

Necklace by SM Accessories (@smaccessories)

 

Look 2

Violet bra top by Mark Co (@markmako)

White trousers by Susto (@sustothelabel)

Earrings by SM Accessories (@smaccessories)

Sunglasses by SM Accessories (@smaccessories)

 

Photography by Mandy Martinez (@mandy.martinez)

Art Direction by Rain Sager (@rainsager)

Styling by Rione Palacios (@le_skinny_bitch)

Styling assist by Vianca Onasa (@itsviancat)

Makeup by Raymond Isais (@raymondisais)

Hair styling by Christian Toledo and Liezel Agaton of Creations by Lourd Ramos BF Homes (@creationsbylourdramosofficial)

 

Produced by Kaye Pernia (@kayepernia)

Words by Kimberly Lynch (@kimberlynch)

Edited by Dan Buenaventura (@danbuenav)

Assisted by Kiana Heart (@kianawbu)

Stay updated with Cora’s rise to fame and her many adventures via @coraleenwaddell on Instagram and CoraleenWaddell on YouTube.