Letter no. 5: Confessions of a Ramp Model

You see them in catwalk with painted nails, in high uncomfy heels, fully packed, well done hair, perfectly chiseled bodies and don’t forget the fierce look. But after their every last step heading backstage is a story, a profession misconcepted, a fact. Read on to see how modeling becomes a game of psychology, and meet Sasha for the record.

Play this as you read.

Dear Michael,

And so I met Sasha last month: a not-so-mainstream shimmy shimmy lipgloss barbie-looking ramp model who have pretty much worn all the brands you could possibly imagine. She was awesome: from hair to toenails. We were not really acquaintance. She was just introduced to me by Nathan, a friend, who gave me a free pass to the Philippine fashion week ball.

Flashback: It’s 8:00 in the evening and the lights were on. The music playing from nowhere was superbass and the dance floor was inviting.
The place was filled by glamour here and there: high class people, some celebrities in dress and tux, brand holders and investors in their hundred thousand peso suits, wine, designers nervous but with passion in their eyes which implied “let’s get the show started cause I’ve got several appointments tomorrow”, calling cards scattered on table tops, red carpet, paparazzi, yada-yada… and the most applauded, fully tested, arena of models- THE RUNWAY.

The banner said the show starts at eight. I could hear murmurs of negotiation everywhere. It was eight thirty, and so we entered the floor, found a seat that’s not so far from the arena. I rolled my head and my eyes got stuck to a not so distant seat, just behind the booth of THE HOUSE OF LAUREL. It was Anne Curtis who just dropped by to see some model friends. She was the apple of the night. I bit my lips, stared at her for sometime while my friend was busy talking to some common friend of his and Sasha.She was really gorgeous in person. I was enjoying the scenery.

Just as Anne Curtis was about to leave when a loud boom dazed us followed by silver confetti that marked the start of the show. Terrific.

As variety of races walked in and out of the runway, I couldn’t help but notice Sasha stood out among them all. She’s like a walking barbie in white tank, gray shorts and black boots. Her curly hair costed a thick pile of money as well as her make up that made her shine more than anyone else… and oh that sexy body and molded hips were envied, like every girls in the room would die to have for.

Sasha came out again in black gown with side slit which complimented her red rose lips. This time, her hair was threaded upside. She’s got that innocent look which made her personality a little light and charming. Well applauded. The dress was designed so well which made her look confident and comfortable at the same time.

She walked down from the backstage in her cashual attire; green dress, white beaded necklace and noticeable pair of earrings that looked like belt buckle. She’s done wih her part. Her hair was freely flowing. She finally had a moment with Nathan. They hugged excitedly after the show, had some wine and we took a seat somewhere far from the throng.From their smile and excitement I could sense they had not been seeing each other for so long. It took a long while before Nathan introduced me to her, like 5 mins.

“Sasha this is my friend Coco, he’s been my friend for almost a year now. We are officemates. And Coco this is Sasha, my college rock friend. She was a president of a socio civic org in college when I met her. What year was that again?, uh, I can’t remember anymore.” Nathan started.

“2007, haha, that’s alright, and hi Coco. I heard your some kind of a friend. Please to meet you and thanks for coming.”, that was Sasha. We shook hands then she asked blatantly, “Wait…wait… are you Nathan’s boyfriend? I mean you said friend right, it could mean boyfriend. I mean you could be honest, I know my friend’s a gay. One hot gay. Haha” Then she laughed.

Nathan interrupted, “Shut up, your’e embarassing me.”. His cheeks were chilly red now.

I abruptly answered before it could lead to something fishy. “Oh no, we are totally just friends.”


The show was still going on but the three of us didn’t care. We were busy talking about random things in one corner, sitting pretty in a couch. I wouldn’t lie to say that Sasha was really pretty. When I was in my teenage years, I always thought that being model is the most elite profession next to being an actor or artist as they are the subjects of mass media. Apart from the high-end salary, you enjoy wearing luxurious brands, you explore places youv’e never been during shoots, your pictures are posted in public and in short, you are very famous. But not until Sasha let me understand the real score of being a model.

Me: So how did you end up being a model? The way I see it, I must say you are very happy with what you are doing.

Sasha stayed silent for awhile. Sipped wine, then took a deep sigh. She looked back at me.

Sasha: You might not believe when I say I am happy, but not very happy. You know, sometimes life is really tricky. I actually didn’t intend to walk in runways when I was in college. It wasn’t in my mind at all. And so after college, I worked as account executive in a bank cause that’s what my course is all about. Then, I got stuck with figures and numbers, sitting in a desk for almost two years, first to clock in, last to log out. For two years, Iv’e been stagnant. I got money in my pocket but I ain’t have happiness inside. So to put some flavor in my worklife, I enrolled in a modeling agency somewhere in Makati, got that money in my pocket, and gave it away for somethingelse I can do during my sparetime. I pay almost 1000PHP every session just to learn how to walk, which technically was taught when we were babies and it doesn’t make much difference though so I don’t understand. Imagine throwing a thousand to walk, another thousand to be in fashion trend, another thousand to smile, to pose, and much more for maintenance.

Me: Wow, interesting. So At least you have an opportunity to breathe too from your numeric life. I mean it’s not bad to put money on something you pretty much enjoy doing. So what happened?

Sasha: No. I mean why would you buy happiness that much? And as time went by, I got tired. Going to work 50 hours a week plus modeling sessions every Saturday plus sleepy Sunday made me choose. And so I risked. I quit my banking job, put all myself to modelling, accepted sidelines here and there and paid more for trainings. And you know.., it’s not that easy.

Me: What do you mean?

Sasha: Being a model isn’t easy. Youv’e got to smile even if you feel tired. You have to pretend to be angry at something even if you don’t feel that way. I’m an all around model. I do advertisements, fashion show, everything. And one thing I learned, being a model is being a nomad. The profession doesn’t have it’s own niche. It’s like everyone can be a model, it doesn’t really require a licensure exam to be a model.

Long pause….

Sasha: Tell me, what profession do you belong?

Me: I am a journalist… I write information, analyze facts, do interviews… I mean like this.

Sasha: Yeah, I can do that too. Look on your tv, you see there are actors and beauty queens who can do your job without finishing a 4-year course. There are even normal citizens who report news without being oriented on the inverted pyramid, the once you studied in press. Just like you people, that’s one thing I learned. It won’t require any license pass. You just gotta have confidence, passion and a little look. That cheapens the profession.

She puffed a smoke. She was right.

She then continued:

Sasha: You know what we are in a point of view of mass people? We are celebrities, we are elite, untouchable, because that’s what they see on our output. But the truth is, we are the same as them. We are comparable with a tricycle driver, a househelper. At the end of the day, we get the same salary. I mean net salary. A tricycle driver goes home after a day of rides, takes home food for his family and saves the rest of his net salary for tomorrow, look at me, I never go home, my family visits me here in metro instead. Studio is my home and lights are my family. I maybe earning as thrice as a tricycle driver but being a model has so much demands. You spend your salary on make up, dresses, accessories, the more famous you become, the greater the demands, the lesser savings. 

She turns out to be more sensitive this time. I could sense a little bit of emotion.

Me: I’m sorry to hear.

But she never stopped.

Sasha: The thing about this job is that you are stuck in the metro. From where the trend is, you should be there at the same time. We walk in runways, got applauded, but the truth is… it’s not us whom they are impressed with but the dress we are wearing. As I walk on that stage, they are not looking at me, they are looking at what I wear instead, in fact, they won’t even care if I stumble. They would just laugh for its their job to criticize. Uh! We can talk about it some other times. I don’t even have time to cry.

Me: Thanks for letting me understand. So what’s your plan?

Sasha: I’m planning to go now cause it’s getting late and I have to catch eight hours of sleep. It’s nice meeting you.

The she turned her eyes somewhere in the crowd. Puffed one more and finally stood up.


Less people could be seen. Departure.


We exhanged contacts, facebook accounts and calling cards. I collected some brochures all over then we parted ways. Sasha went home alone while I went home with Nathan. On our way back, I couldn’t help but think of everything Sasha had shared. I was in the middle of my thoughts when Nathan broke the silence.

Nathan: Are you alright?

Me: Yeah I’m fine. (Then I smiled back at him)

But at the back of my mind. I was mixed enlightened and bothered. Enlightened of everything I learned from Sasha…and bothered that Nathan… my friend….my dearest friend whom I’ve been with for two years now…

is gay…

it’s so not likely.

I wasn’t aware until 11pm of May 20th.

“As I walk on that stage, they are not looking at me, they are looking at what I wear instead, in fact, they won’t even care if I stumble, they would laugh for it’s their job to criticize.”

“What profession do you belong? How do you keep going from that profession”

If you got the message and are Michael enough to break the question mark, then share your thoughts of the above letter and be featured as the next response letter. Just send your letters to lettersformike2012@gmail.com and be yourself read by others who have probably got the same thoughts.

Click the link

Song titled: “Beauty and Madness” sung by Fra Lippo Lippi
Photo lifted from: google pictures


Posted on July 4, 2012, in LETTERS 1-8, LIFE LETTERS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Very informative. The writing is good. The segue’ is timely. Liked it. =) More stories ahead. Your thoughts are so deep.

  2. jennifer stein

    very nice writing. I love it. =)

  3. very sad story/ =(

  4. very well written. Sometimes intelligent, sometimes funny, sometimes moving, but always remaining truthful. You can almost clearly see the setting perfectly in your mind, and the voices of the characters – whether the characters are fictional or real, they appear incredibly life like, for they each have a unqiue voice that is easily identifiable throughout the piece. It’s also pretty amazing to have such an in-depth view of a world that is still shrouded in partial mystery and to learn that not everything in such a glamorous lifetsyle is all laughs and giggles is quite a change from the interpretation from the outside looking in.

    • Hey naughtynefarious, thanks much for dropping here. =) Indeed a very nice words from u. And thanks for your comments, I appreciate it well. That’s how life is probably, full of mystery and emotions.. =)


  5. you are indeed a very good journalist! i’m so proud of you..congratulations former Bagwis editor-in-chief! keep on writing more informative and inspiring stories. i hope to get a copy of ur mag. 🙂 God bless.

    • thanks very much Mam Aileen.. a very respected teacher whom I once worked with in high school. I missed writing for Bagwis and I am hoping your still fetching trophies home. =) Proud to be alumnus of ANG BAGWIS

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