Life DOES begin AT SEVENTEEN…when you’re eighteen.

It did for me.

Here it is...the juicy details.

I was ranting about again, another anonymous tag was left this time on Andrew’s tagboard saying how ugly I looked and that I deserved to be in a relationship with another one of my kind, which they believed to be a monggoloid.

As far as I remember, I already had a copy of Seventeen’s May Issue. And just like any other Model Search I’ve seen on ads before, I always thought that I’d just shrug this one off. Like I always did. But something told me that I just had to stop being a p*ssy and just GO for it. I thought that I had to put all their transgressions (it sounds so holy) and bad judgments into something really good…and useful.

SO. I flipped through the pages until I saw the ad. Next thing I knew, I was reading the mechanics, the details, the requirements – and then I thought about it REAL hard.

Just go for it, you duork. (It’s not a typo and I’m not stupid, I just like saying dork that way).

And so I did. I called my Mom and told her all about it, of how I was in dire need of proving things to myself and to other people. I told her I needed cash so I could have my picture taken at the nearest studio (which happened to be in Alabang ). I took out all the vintage stuff my Lola had given me, and paired ‘em wit my low-rise jeans.

2 days later, I was off to Alabang. And the pictures couldn’t look any better.

That was the first sign.

If my brain cells serves me right (which doesn’t happen most of the time), it was that same day I wrote a draft of my essay on why I deserved to be Seventeen’s Favorite Model. I wrote what I felt, I wrote what I believed in…It was like, I went all-heart on that essay.

My lola had it mailed on the 25th. The deadline was on the 31st.

On the way home from picking my Aunt up from the airport, I got a phone call. The number flashing on Max’s screen was new to me, and so I hesitated, but I decided to pick it up.
Hi,this is Donna from Seventeen.

Yes?

I’d like to inform you about the go-see, It’s on Monday.



It was part one of the phone call that changed my life.
The go-see made me so nervous. It was at Sumit Media’s office in Galleria. The people were nice but with the help of some movies I’ve seen (like 13 going on 30 and How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, etc) I pretty much expected there would be a lot of people running around, so busy with their jobs that they couldn’t stop for a sec, notice the people around them and smile or sumn.

I was part of the Second batch. Ms. Donna led us downstairs, where we were led into another office, and into a small room, where we were to be interviewed by the Seventeen staff.

One of which I did NOT expect to be THE Mia Fausto. Seventeen’s EIC. I tried to keep my cool, and smiled a lot. But I never overdid it, as what Sir Valerio and my Mom advised me. She looked a lot prettier in person. I also didn’t expect her to be the first to pop a question. She looks at our entries, finds mine, looks at me with this very confident face. I remember it sounding this way…

So, Abbie… why did you join Seventeen’s model search?

(I said a lot of stuff but I ended it with) I really do think that Seventeen will be a good start for me.

She smiles and nods. Four Seventeen staff members. Three hopefuls. Where the other one flew ALL the way from Cebu that same day JUST to be able to be in the go-see.

So, they take turns in asking questions, and we take turns in answering each one.

Abbie…what’s your favorite section in the magazine?

I guess to choose just one is hard. I LOVE SEVENTEEN!


They all laugh. In a good way. Not sarcastically.

So, one last question…who do you want to see in the cover of Seventeen?

I’d really like to see Dawn Balagot on the cover. She’s one of the models I look up to since she’s really young. She’s 15 and yet she’s already fulfilled her dream of becoming a model.


Mia turns to another ed sitting next to her and whispers. I've also noticed that they'd write notes down in this little notebook just sitting on their laps while we answer.
After the interrogation (lol),they said they’d just give us a call, the three hopefuls stood up, but before I left I turned to all of them and said…

It’s nice meeting you!

You too!


They all gave me this really good vibe that just made me a whole lot more determined to work with them.
On the way out of the office I bump into Saab and Maxene Magalona.

On another Friday afternoon, after just getting home from Boracay, I got into the house with a tan and sand mite bites.

Abbie, may tumawag sayo…Donna daw.

Ha? Donna? Sigurado po kayo para saakin yun? Kase wala naman akong kaibigang Don…- SANDALI LANG! OMG! SI ATE DONNA! SI ATE DONNA NG SEVENTEEN!


I jumped all the way from the living room to the kitchen screaming my ass off.

NAKAPASOK AKO SA TWELVE! NAKAPASOK AKO SA TWELVE!

After trying to calm myself down I decided that I had to give Ms. Donna a call myself. After minutes of constantly trying, someone picked up her cellphone. And after hearing it was about the model search, she immediately gave the phone to Ms. Donna.

Hi Ms. Donna, It’s Abbie Almasco.

I was trying to call you din but I can’t get through so I called your landline…

I just got home from Boracay kase, my phone’s batt died and I was in the airplane...

Yeah, your Lola told me nga. Was that your Lola?

Yeah, it was.

Okay. So we will be having a photo shoot on Tuesday. Did you get my messages?

No.

You’re in, you’re one of the finalists.


And I scream.

Thank you, Thank you Miss Donna!

No prob!

You really just have no idea how much this means to me. Just being a part of the twelve means a lot.

Actually even just being a part of the 40 girls who were asked to go to the go-see.


Second call that totally changed my life.
So she texts me the details.

Toto Labrador. THE Toto Labrador, responsible for capturing some of today’s hottest faces on his lens. Will also be responsible for taking OUR pictures.

So I got there on his studio, past 10 A.M. at Samar St. in Q.C.
Right there and then…Abbie’s on make-up. BOOM. Who do I see? Barbi Chan. But she did Saab. Effie Go did mine. Unbelievable. I TOTALLY CANNOT BELIEVE MY EYES. I didn’t recognize Effie Go at first. So being the duork that I am, after asking me if anyone else thought I looked like Lucy Liu, I asked her,

What’s your name?

Effie.


Damn. Could I be that stupid to not recognize Effie Go? She’s really good. She was so careful with my face, and she was really nice. At times when she’d look at me in the mirror to check if she needed to add some more here, or there…she’d catch me looking at her and then we’d smile at each other.

Even with the make-up artists, I felt so stunned. Even this time when Barbi Chan touched my hair and teased me looking like Medusa ( Effie twisted them ) I just felt like my feet weren’t on the floor anymore.

I changed twice. The first outfit was too big, as I predicted. I liked my second outfit better. Jing was the first co-finalist I ever talked to. She reminds me of Liv Tyler. She looks really pretty. She has a full body, but she’s got curves. Yes, she really does remind me of Liv Tyler. She was so easy to talk to. I told myself I won’t be having a hard time conversing with this one.

I sat next to Saab in the leather couch. We were so quiet. AT FIRST. I took out Da Vinci and read it, with my earphone stuck on the right ear. I kind of forgot how the conversation started, but soon, we started talking. Next thing you know we were taking pictures of ourselves. Making kulitan. Cussing. Laughing our asses off. MTV even caught us fooling around on camera. Saab was so nice. No primadonna act goin’ on. She’s one of ‘em real girls.

Being on the set was THE BEST feeling in the world. Especially when I’d pose and Toto would be like, “GREAT!GOOD!” (Sigh). Snaps for Abbie and Ate Trish. Thanks for helping me get that Paris Hilton walking Tinkerbell look.

9 out of 10 finalists made it to the shoot. I wonder what happened to the other one. We were divided into two groups. The first girl left so early, even before we all could arrive. Saab, Yen and Camz were in my group. Saab and I are sooo kulit. In between takes we’d just tease each other and she even told me that the background music was the exact song she had in mind when she entered the studio.

The Chemical Brothers. Ay mali pala, hindi pala yan yun!

And then I spank her on the knee.

Pero alam ko rin yan eh….Uhm…Radiohead.

I guess you’d think that I gush about Saab too much because she’s appeared on the cover of “Total Girl!” with her sister who just happens to be Maxene Magalona. Or in that Spongecola video, KLSP.

But no. It’s because I also find her so real. Like she’s just an ordinary girl. But actually she’s not, and that’s what I find so special about her. And besides, she really is one of the girls I had a lot of convos with. Plus she’s deranged like me.
I remember her knocking on the bathroom door while I was in, changing. And she was about to leave. She shouts “BYE!” right after she knocks, and I open the door and we make beso.

The whole time I forgot we were all competing against each other. There’s a modeling contract we’re all after, the 30 gran, the chance of appearing FRONT cover on Seventeen’s November Ish.

But it’s like, working with people like this… it’s easy to forget that you’re in a competition. It’s like, we were all there just to have fun and pose and smile and look pretty.

THE FACTS. WHICH WILL ALWAYS REMAIN THAT WAY...

Fact #1 - Even if I've gotten to be in the Top 10, there will ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY still be insecure byotches lying around on the road that I'm taking right now.

Fact #2 - They will still brand me as ugly, bony, and not deserving to be where I am right now.

Fact #3 - I AM ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY sure that they would say sumn like : There are far more prettier girls than you, you're not supposed to be in such a magazine.

Fact #4 - Well I guess you know what follows. It's a given, one number after the other...they will ALWAYS be there! There will always be someone, there will always be something said against you.

But I guess I'll just have to stick with one thought:
NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, I'M UP HERE, AND YOU'RE DOWN THERE.

Not that I meant it in a "I'm-so-perfect-and-this-is-all-getting-to-my-head" way, but in the ONLY way that I know wouldn't affect me from all their gobbledygook.

In the end, what matters is the dream that I'm fulfilling.
The people who believe in me.
And God's blessings.

As for me, I'm still trying to absorb all this. I guess it takes time. Looking at all the girls I'm with, it's hard to believe I'm a part of it (as I've said), but I AM.

Cham, Jing, Saab, Sharon, Essy, Camz, Yen - you guys...thanks. I wish that after this we'd all still get to hang-out.

Special shout-out to Yen - the girl who rocks. My instant ka-text mate. Thank you for being SUPER nice to me even if we've just met. I really am so jealous that you belly dance. Darn it. Thanks for convincing me though. *smooch*

Okay. I guess that's it.
Make sure to tune in to MTV Get Spotted at 4:30 P.M. - It's on everyday. I have a weird feeling our ep would be aired this week. Watch out for me, I totally look like a duork but...sige lang!

If you want to see a few pictures, check out my second account at Friendster.

Seventeen Philippines - mabuhay tayong lahat! hehe. Whatever. It's my way of saying you guys rock.

WHAT???

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