Asia's Next Top Model officially presents the Filipina contestants vying to win the country's first-ever title of the reality-modelling competition's fifth cycle.
Thai-American model Cindy Bishop returns as the host and head judge of AsNTM Season 5.
She will be joined by returning judge Yu Tsai in the panel. Meanwhile, Cara G. McIlroy replaced Kelly Tandiono as the model-mentor. Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach will also be a recurring judge in the competition.
This year, the country will be represented by up-and-coming models Jennica Sanchez, Anjelica Santillan, and Maureen Wroblewitz. These three Pinays will be competing with 11 other contestants from Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Asia's Next Top Model will air on Star World starting April 5, 2017.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press got to know more about the Filipina contestants during the show's advance screening on Wednesday night, March 29, at The Palace Pool Club in Bonifacio Global City.
Here are a few things we learned about them:
JENNICA SANCHEZ. Jennica Sanchez is a 20-year-old Fashion Design and Marketing at SoFA Design Institute.
Before this, she studied Journalism at the University of Santo Tomas for a year.
Jennica is also known as a lifestyle and fashion blogger. She has been modelling for two years.
In an interview with PEP and other members of the media, Jennica admitted that she wasn't really a fan of the show but her Instagram followers and friends convinced her to audition for the competition.
"Sobrang saya, like thousands of girls auditioned and isa ako sa kanila na napasama sa 14 [finalists]."
She added, "Ever since talaga, I'm more on a fashion girl so I decided to join. Ang daming nagsasabi sa akin na, 'sali ka diyan!'
"Kasi wala pang nananalong Pinay so I wanna be the first ever Filipina winner for Asia's Next Top Model."
For her, the most difficult challenge in joining this type of reality competition is differentiating oneself from the other contestants.
Jennica explained, "I think the toughest part is to be different, to standout. Sobrang daming girls from other countries, magkakaiba sila ng kakayahan, may kakaiba silang alam about sa modelling world. So I think yun yung pinakamahirap, to standout."
She described her AsNTM experience as "crazy" and "fun." The model explained, "Crazy because there's no wi-fi, there's no TV, there's no access to outside world but fun because I never felt that it was a competition. Sobrang close namin lahat and sobrang saya lang."
When asked about meeting Pia Wurtzbach, Jennica said she was left speechless after meeting the Pinay beauty queen.
Jennica recounted, "Sobrang nakaka-starstruck talaga siya actually and sobrang bait niya sa aming lahat. Walang bias sa Pilipinas, as in lahat pantay-pantay."
She said Pia inspired her to do her best even if she's not the tallest among the contestants.
The fashion blogger recalled, "Lagi niya akong pinagtatanggol doon, kasi may time din na ako kasi yung isa sa pinaka-maliit, isa sa pinaka-maliit. Dalawa kaming pinaka-maliit na Pinay.
"And then she told me na hindi ko makakalimutan, 'I'm not the tallest girl in Miss Universe pero ako yung nanalo.' And that gave me motivation."
Just like Pia, Jennica said Cindy was also sweet and approachable in real life.
She explained, "Sobrang sweet niya in real life. As in tatanungin niya kami, 'How are your girls?' I think sa TV medyo sassy siya pero in real life sobrang bait ni Cindy."
Meanwhile, Jennica considers Yu Tsai as one of the toughest judges on the panel.
The model elaborated, "Nakakatakot siya for me pero fun at the same time. As in matututo talaga ka sa kanya. Honest siya kung pangit ba yung ginagawa mo or maganda, sasabihin niya talaga sa iyo."
ANJELICA SANTILLAN. Anjelica Santillan is a 22-year-old model currently signed with Mercator.
In an interview with PEP and other members of the press, Anjellica said she loves travelling and wake boarding.
Among the three Pinay contestants, Anjellica had the most experience when it comes to modelling which she used to her advantage.
She said, "First of all, sa catwalks, I know how to strut my stuff and may be a bit of like confidence."
When asked why she's Asia's Next Top Model, she answered, "I have the confidence to be myself."
Anjelica promised Top Model fans that this season will be the most "unexpected" one yet.
The model explained, "My mga pinagawa talaga sila dun na hindi namin inexpect like... can't spoil! You have to watch April 5!"
The AsNTM contestant admitted that even she wasn't prepared for all the challenges she went through during the competition.
She narrated, "Sobrang hirap like akala mo ready ka na, prepared ka na for the competition but once you go there, sobrang unexpected things can happen."
Anjelica considers Pia as one of the nicest judges in the panel.
She explained, "She's really nice. Nagbibigay siya ng advcie to you about competition because she's been in a competition. Like everyone knows that so yeah."
Meanwhile, she names Cindy as one of the toughest one to please.
"Cindy, she's realy tough because she knows... alam niya talaga kung ano yung gusto niya for you so you have to deliver what she wants."
MAUREEN WROBLEWITZ. Filipino-German model Maureen Wroblewitz is the youngest among the Pinay contestants at 18 years old.
She grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At the age of 12, she moved to Germany to continue her studies.
Maureen, who was discovered through Instagram, is currently represented by Primastella Management in the country.
In 2015, she decided to move to the Philippines. She stayed with her father to pursue a modelling and acting career after finishing her studies.
"I moved to the Philippines to start my acting and modelling career and because I always had a passion for modelling, and I also enjoy acting so I saw it as a perfect opportunity to go to the Philippines.
"And also because my dad lives here, and so I moved to my dad and I always felt like Philippines is my home so that's why I'm here."
Mau decided to join the competition to challenge herself and boost her confidence.
"I actually joined the competition not just to win, but it was mostly for myself and prove to myself that I can actually do it.
"I always believe that if you just go and try something, it will work and your dreams can come true.
"And I just really wanted to do that and become more confident because actually, I was very shy before.
"So it was more like I really wanted to come out of my comfort zone."
One of the biggest challenges she had to go through during the competition is to focus on her work and her lack of experience with modelling.
Mau admitted, "I'm the girl with the least experience so mostly it was like, I always felt intimidated by the other models like it was hard to just focus on myself.
"Every time we had like a photo shoot, I would always think, 'Oh no, they're judging every move I make.'
"It was challenging to just focus on myself because I was overthinking and I always felt like, 'Oh what are the other girls are thinking?'"
Members of the press also asked Mau how she felt working with Pia. The 18-year-old model admitted that she was speechless upon meeting the 2015 Miss Universe title-holder.
Mau recalled, "I'm a really big fan and when I saw here, I couldn't really speak!"
The aspiring model was glad to have Pia on the show as a mentor who motivated her to keep going.
She told the press, "She is more of a mentor and we always got like videos from her and she kept telling us to be confident and that we can do it."