On being reposted by Naomi and memories of the 90’s supermodel era

I was having trouble sleeping on Friday night and it couldn’t have come at a worse time—I needed to sleep early because I had a Treadmill Stress Test at Makati Med the following morning. I tried meditating, reading, and watching Before Sunrise, but the struggle stretched into hours. By 1 a.m., when I knew it was going to be one of those insomnias which would make me miserable until the next day, I received a notification on my phone: Naomi Campbell had mentioned me in a post. I clicked it way too soon, forgetting to take a screenshot for posterity and I couldn’t believe my eyes—Naomi re-posted on Instagram a fan art I made just a day ago.


It was her VMA look with the Pat McGrath lipstick: the moment I saw it, I knew my 12-set Finetec Pearl Colors would be the perfect palette for it.

Everyone in the house was asleep so I couldn’t announce it to anyone, except on Twitter and Facebook, but what I really wanted to do was scream. Teenage memories came rushing back—how my supermodel fascination all began during the local Elite Model Search in 1995. They flew in Linda Evangelista to be one of the judges and newspapers were suddenly about this supermodel, who “(wouldn’t) wake up for less than US$10,000 a day.”

The tilt was won by Rollen Caralde and The Philippine Star had double spreads that chronicled her journey in the international competition, which I pored over. She was a gorgeous chinita with almost Pocahontas-length hair, eventually cut into a bob by Elite. But it was Indonesian Tracy Bustra (now Trinita) that garnered more media attention, with her sharp bangs and high cheekbones, and so for a time, we adopted her into our local lingo, i.e., “Mag-Tracy Bustra tayo papuntang Megamall,” meaning let’s take the bus to Megamall.

All that opened a new world which I didn’t know existed. I learned about The Trinity—Naomi, Linda, and Christy Turlington, with whom I felt the most connected to—and in true becky style, we assumed their personas in school. Ayee was Naomi for his dark skin; Medel was Linda because of his ever-changing hairstyle; and I was Christy for my lips. I would collect everything Christy—from the expensive Vogue and deliciously large V magazines, which I would go hungry at school lunches for, down to her Maybelline flyers. But I loved other supermodels too, particularly Nadja Auermann, whose photo I took to a parlor to copy her cropped ‘do from. (When I returned to school the next day, one of the class hotties said it was very Meg Ryan, haha.) The last of them whom I really liked were Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta.



In the early 2000’s, there was a huge dearth in supermodels, until the Brazilians and Victoria’s Secret Angels took over, and in recent years, young ones like Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner, but they seem a lot more approachable (read: Penshoppe), and far from the glamorous and mythic levels of their predecessors. Coco Rocha’s probably the only one who excited me recently.

So all those memories came rushing to me with that one Instagram post. By time I was truly ready to call it a day, it was 2:30 a.m., but I knew it was going to be a good morning the next day.

I passed the treadmill test.


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