The story of Danica Flores Magpantay is exceptional. Technically a new model, the 17-year old Filipina shot to the top quick, and in less than a year, she had become one of the world's top supermodels. What she has is really a God-given gift.
It was only in July last year that Danica decided to pursue modeling. She had just enrolled for a Fine Arts degree at the University of the Philippines when she viewed old tapes of the modeling career of her mother, Lala Flores, now makeup artist to the stars.
"She saw yata yung supermodel video, betamax ng mom niya. Nag-compete yata that time. So siguro natuwa siya, that gave her an idea na gusto rin siguro niyang ma-experience yung whatever her mom experienced," Chriscel Agudo tells PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview last Friday, January 28.
Chriscel is the school administrator of Masters School for Models, the school that Danica approached to learn modeling. The founder of the school is fashion director Joey Espino, a friend of Danica's mother.
"She inquired at the school, she called us up, mga sometime July 2010," says Chriscel. "So I entertained her. She asked, together with Joey [Espino] kasi, common friend. Si Lala kasi. Parang nag-meeting kaming tatlo. And then Danica wanted nga to pursue modeling. What Joey told her is, 'If you really want something, you have to learn. And you have to study.' So nag-enroll siya."
Danica started her modeling studies the following month. Chriscel said she was already impressed with the young student even before classes began.
"Sabi ni Danica, 'I already inquired, alam ko na,'" says Chriscel. "So ibig sabihin, prior to that, na sinabi niya siguro sa mom niya na gusto niyang magmodelo, nag-research na yung bata. Nag-research na siya, so nabibigay niya yung details ng school."
According to Chriscel, the course Danica took dealt with the basics of a modeling career, how the industry works, and what to expect from it.
Danica did not know these things at the start of her sessions. In fact, Chriscel says, Danica does not even know how to walk in high heels.
But Danica's inquisitive nature helped her learn a lot easily, in a class of seven students.
"Actually dun sa batch niya, she's the one who often asks questions. Mahilig siyang magtanong. So parang nagiging alive, nagkakaroon ng idea yung ibang classmates niya because of her questions. Mas marami akong nabibigay na insight about the industry kasi nagtatanong yung estudyante," Chriscel says.
Chriscel says Danica showed a lot of improvement when the class finished in September. The following month, she joined the local Supermodel of the World contest and was chosen to represent the country in the international competition in New York.
But how can a new model amass expert modeling skills in a short time? Chriscel says it all boiled down to determination.
"Kasi she really wanted to be a model. Kasi if you just say na, sige I want to be a model, I just want to study and know the industry, you wouldn't do anything, e. Pero with her, talagang she studied it, she applied it, and kumbaga yung determination niya, buong-buo," Chriscel explains.
At the end of the interview, Chriscel gave a message for her former student.
"Ang lagi lang naming inaano is, God is the reason for everything. The reason why you're sitting here is because He has a purpose for you," she says.