PEP EXCLUSIVE: Phoemela Baranda wants local fashion arena to "influence people"

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At the launch of the BlackBerry Playbook last August 3, her signature tank top and shorts outfit was replaced by a Get Laud! dress and a Topshop jacket, with shoes from VMC shoes and accessories from Filigrenasia.


"I'm so inspired with work right now," says Phoemela Baranda who's currently busy either hosting for Umagang Kay Ganda or fulfilling her duties and goals as the president of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines.

She is, indeed, enjoying the best of both worlds.

"In UKG, from being a showbiz reporter, I'm now a fashion host. So, I give advice about fashion and beauty. As president of PMAP, ang dami ko ring inaasikaso," she tells PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an exclusive interview.

And she's happy that her job finally lets her give back to her first love. "Fashion is really my core," states the model.

LOOKING BACK. Since 13, she has been a regular face on the runway. It was in 2004 when she formally made her television debut as a co-host of Paolo Bediones in Extra Challenge.

"It's totally different. I really made a big adjustment when I started hosting," she remarks about the crossover.

But she must have been doing a good job having tried different posts, such as a segment host in ABS-CBN's The Buzz and Star Patroller in TV Patrol.

Phoem (her nickname) muses, "I guess now I think I'm learning the ropes. I've learned a lot of things. I went through a lot of controversies na rin.

"I guess you just have to keep your heart close to where you belong talaga. Iyon nga, even if I'm in another field, I still get in touch with fashion industry kasi doon talaga ako nanggaling."

"FASHION IS PRESENT." She is taking herpresentrole seriously. Each time she grants an interview, she never fails to give updates about her plans and projects.

Her personal goal, she says, is "to give back."

Phoem states, "I think everywhere you go naman, fashion is present. Kahit sa showbiz, talagang importante yung fashion, so talagang I give back to fashion in any way I can."

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But as the president of PMAP, she wants modeling to "influence people" again.

Back in the '90s, models were very visible even on the fashion covers. But the following decade, celebrities had taken over. And these days, the foreign models have been getting more than enough access in the local fashion scene.

"I'm not against them," she's quick to say, "It is healthy competition, but I really wanna promote again the models."

It helps that she is also in the media. The "exposure" can do so much to help the industry that nurtured her.

"I want fashion to influence people. I wanna put it into good use na to promote Filipino talents, you know, na talagang magaganda at magagaling, especially designers, the fashion models, and hanggang sa mga celebrities should celebrate yung talent natin ngayon."

PHILIPPINE FASHION BALL. Jumpstarting all her plans will be a huge event, organized by Keren Pascual's group, that will gather the who's who in modeling.

Phoem relates, "It is the first fashion ball here in the Philippines. So it's going to be a parade of all the top models and their favorite designers, and the designers with their muses. We want their names to be recognized.

"It's on August 15 in Manila Peninsula. Of course, nandun yung mga top designers natin—Randy Ortiz, Rhett Eala, Inno Sotto. All the top models also [will] be there—Tweetie De Leon, Apples Aberin, Isabel Roces, Marina Benipayo..."

Lastly, we asked her to give advice to all the gentlemen and ladies who would want to give modeling a shot.

"Ang rule ko: keep it simple and keep your identity."

When going to an event, she says "black" is the "safest" color, "nakakapayat pa."

She adds, "I always update my wardrobe, I look at the uso, the trends, but I don't change my whole character. I keep my outfit simple and accessorize lang."

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Phoem stresses the word "simplicity" because people have the tendency to overdo things.

"Don't be a fashion victim!" she underscores.

And to have those prized and varicose-free legs, she reveals her secret.

"After strenuous activity, I don't shower. I believe in pasma, it really clots the blood. So, ang ginagawa ko, I just let it rest and I put my legs up sa wall.

For how many minutes?

With a smile, she quips, "You can feel it naman siguro kapag medyo nangalay ka na."


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