Meet: Manuela Basilio, Model

ManuelaWhen a girl grows in her career, she either takes her success to her head, or to her heart. Manuela Basilio does the latter. As a fashion model, she holds a towering presence. Her strong, Filipina features and long, lean figure may rather intimidate the observer. But once you hear her speak, you are easily disarmed.

Manuela in reality, is a bright and joyful person. Her kindness radiates beyond her words, and when it’s your turn to speak, she listens with intent and understanding. It’s no wonder why she’s a favorite to work with among the creatives in the fashion industry.

And now you get to know her better. I’d like to you to meet our CalCarrie darling, currently represented by Wilhelmina Models in NY and LA, the always shining, always smiling, Manuela.

IMG_80611. How did you become a model?

I started modeling 3 years ago when one of the department heads in the call center I was working for suddenly logged me out and asked me if I wanted to be a model. I was hesitant to say yes ‘coz I didn’t see myself as a model, but I thought there is no harm in trying. So I did.

Manuela in NYC

I moved to New York January 2013, with just $500 and one winter coat I borrowed from a model friend. That’s my first winter experience, it was cold, really cold!

2. When did you move to New York and how did you feel when you first arrived?

I moved to New York January 2013, with just $500 and one winter coat I borrowed from a model friend. That’s my first winter experience, it was cold, really cold!

I think the feelings of hope and excitement were the dominant feelings I had back then. I was looking forward to goals being achieved, looking forward on doing what I’ve been dreaming… then reality hit me in the face. Rejections came and followed by another and another. Not to mention that i was running out [of money.] The thoughts of failure was slowly creeping into my mind.

Accepting failure on my own is bearable, but to disappoint my family and the people who believed in me and helped me get here was something I was really more concerned of. But I am grateful, because I am really blessed with the right people that surround me. I was given that “push” to really fight for my dream. Joey (Espino) told me that New York is like Olympics, where all the best of the best are here so it will never going to be easy. There is nothing worth having that comes easy.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.21.29 pm3. Being a model, how to stay fit and healthy physically?

Every model is different. Like me, even if I eat a lot I don’t gain weight easily, but that’s not an excuse for me not to take care of myself. I am my own product so I have to be marketable. I work out to make sure I’m toned but I don’t have a specific diet. I still eat the same stuff but I make sure I still get to eat healthy food as well.

4. Mentally and emotionally, how do you keep yourself in a positive mindset and joyful attitude?

Ahhh, this is a hard one. I have to be honest that it’s not always a happy day or a positive day for me. Having a positive mindset and joyful attitude is a choice. It’s about perspective. But the key is gratitude. Being grateful of all the blessings that I have keeps me positive. Whenever I feel down, I remind myself of the things that I have or why am I blessed. If sometimes this doesn’t work, I go out and see my environment. And there I will see how blessed I am.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.33.19 pm

Being grateful of all the blessings that I have keeps me positive. Whenever I feel down, I remind myself of the things that I have or why am I blessed.

5. With regards to the industry competition, how do you keep yourself focused and secure?

Modeling is a tough job. I have learned that as a model you only have to focus on yourself and nothing else. I only compete with myself, if there are improvements, it’s in everything I do, or how I look, or how I connect to people, especially with those that I work with.

It’s a big no-no for a model to compare herself to another model cause that’s where insecurities arise. Every model is different. Every model has their own beauty. I know I am beautiful, I know my value.

6. You were in Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” music video, where she sang about the pressures of keeping up with societal beauty “standards.” How would you personally define beauty?

Every individual has its own beauty. For me, being beautiful is being confident of who you really are, it’s beyond what eyes can see.

7. I saw your post on Instagram that had a few post-it reminders on your wall. Can you share a few of them that’s special to you?

The first four post-its that is on top are the letters L-O-V-E. I am a believer of Love, that’s why I am using ManueLove as my username on instagram and twitter. This reminds me to choose love always.

The other post-its contains encouraging, inspirational and motivational words from books I’ve read. These words are helpful specially on my down days. The other post-its contains words that reminds me of who I want to be everyday, of what kind of person do I want to be. And I’m not talking about me being a supermodel.

Positive Post-Its

The first four post-its that is on top are the letters L-O-V-E… This reminds me to choose love always.

8. What are some of your self-love rituals that you can share?

Sleep, massage, yoga and meditation.

9. What are some of your favorite books to read?

I love reading books that enlighten me. For the past two years, I have been reading books that inspire me and encourage me. Right now I am into Buddhism books. Books that teach inner peace, compassion and kindness.

Buddhism Books10. What are your favorite things to do in NYC when your not working?

I love attending yoga and dance class when I’m not working. I also love going to the park and just to read or “people watch.” But my most favorite thing to do when I’m not working is to hang out with my friends here. Makes me miss home less.

11. What’s the most important lesson you learned in your career so far?

I have learned a lot about life, about myself within the three years I have dedicated myself in this career. But one of them that says a lot about modeling will be the importance of loving oneself.

A lot of people will not like you, will criticize you as a model. If you don’t like what the client/photographer/stylist/casting agent or anyone says about you, you can just shake it off and move on. Cause there will always be someone who will like you or hate you.

But if you don’t like or love yourself, if you’re always hard on yourself and you don’t like what you say to yourself then you can never shake that one away. You will always be stuck hurting yourself.

Manuela

I have learned a lot about life, about myself within the three years I have dedicated myself in this career. But one of them that says a lot about modeling will be the importance of loving oneself.

12. What’s next for you?

As much as I want to let you know what is next but all I can say is just wait and see:)

Photos Courtesy of Manuela Basilio// Interview by Victoria Herrera

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