American fashion model Allison Harvard recently decided to pursue a career in the Philippines and signed a five-year management contract under ALV Talent Circuit, owned and managed by Arnold Vegafria.
Allison, of course, is best known for her stint in the biggest modeling-reality show on TV, America's Next Top Model, where she finished as a runner-up in the show's 12th cycle, as well as the 17th season dubbed as America's Next Top Model All Stars.
Although she's been in a reality show twice, there is still so much more about this 26-year-old beauty that her Pinoy fans don't know about.
So here are ten things you should know about the lovely Allison Harvard.
1. She's awkward and quite shy, but Filipinos love her for it.
Her ANTM stint earned her a huge following in the Philippines—a reason for her to be invited to come to the Philippines in 2012, to model for designer Michael Cinco's "Impalpable Dream" campaign for local fashion brand Bench.
She was completely overwhelmed by the warm welcome shown to her by Pinoy fans that she now believes there is a deep connection between them.
“I really… It was really a surprise to me that I was so much [loved] in the Philippines,” she said.
“But most of the feedback I get when I receive e-mails from Filipinos is that they’re, I think, that there is just common ground in how they saw me on [America’s Next Top Model].”
Allison thinks that most of her fans could relate to her introverted personality.
“Even though I am quiet or shy, I think people can identify with being introverted themselves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re anyless outgoing than anyone.
"It just, you know, I think people just found a lot in common with my personality.
"I think one of the common misconception is that you have to, physically, be loud to be the center of attention; but I think that a little mystery is a good thing sometimes.
“Even though I’m going on a reality show, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to change who I am, and that doesn’t mean I’ll start gossiping about people or do things I wouldn’t do in real life because that’s not who I am.
"So I think I just stayed exactly who I am…”Photo from CW's America's Next Top Model
2. From being a model contestant, she’s now a host and a judge of a local reality show competition.
Allison joins the third season of MEGA Fashion Crew: Reloaded, which airs every Monday at 7:00 P.M. on ETC Channel, as a host and judge.
“It’s amazing. It’s really exciting to be on the other side of a reality competition as opposed to competing,” she says of her new job.
“I think it’s a good thing for the contestants to have someone like me because I sympathize with what they’re going through."
And as for returning to the high-pressure world of a modeling competition, she says: “It’s definitely crazy to think about that.
"It’s been sort of a crazy journey in the past few years and then it feels like coming full circle being here, in being a judge or host.”Photo from kallison-rph.tumblr.com
3. Her tips for aspiring models: “Keep doing what you love” and “Keep your values.”
Having tasted the sweet and sour of being a newbie in the modeling industry, Allison now tells aspiring models to learn how to accept rejections, to be very passionate with their chosen craft, and to keep their values in order to have a successful career in this business.
“My biggest thing for aspiring models, and I get this thing a lot, is we’re lucky that we live in the world where, literally, almost anything is possible.
“And, I think, if it’s something that you’re passionate about doing, you have to know first and foremost that you’re going to be told no more than you’re going to be told yes.
“And, I think, you need to have a strong background and you need to make sure it is something you love; and if it is, keep going to what you want to do.
"Keep doing what you love. I just think it’s important that you don’t let it affect you personally.
"I think you just need to keep your heart in the right place and just keeping towards what it is you want to do.”
Allison sums it all up and said: “Have a strong backbone and keep your values and keep who you are, because this industry has a tendency to run over a lot of people.
"But, it can also be a bigger pay-off if you stick to who you are.”
Photo from kallison-rph.tumblr.com
4. On what she thinks about the Philippine fashion industry: “It’s definitely on it’s way up.”
When asked what she thinks about the Philippine fashion industry, Allison believes that it is “on its way up” in the global fashion arena.
“I think it’s definitely on it’s way up. Even from one year ago since I’ve been here, I’ve seen it… there’s so much talent here.
"I [specifically] got to see such a small part of it, just on my show. And there’s just so many people who have such a unique perspective in fashion.
“I definitely have enjoyed Michael Cinco, Rajo Laurel... Yeah, I think there’s a really good point of view here.”
She added, “During Bench [fashion show], the first time I was here for Michael Cinco’s show, I wore Rajo and Michael Cinco and Francis Libiran. I love, love, love, love his stuff!”Courtesy of CW's America's Next Top Model
5. Her family and boyfriend (sorry, boys) are very supportive of her career.
Allison admits the she misses her family in Texas, but she is more than glad to be in the country now to grab the opportunity of having a possibly long-term career.
“I have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’m having the opportunity to actually pursue, so I’m gonna make most of it,” says Allison, who makes time to talk to her very supportive family everyday through social networking sites.
“I Skype my family almost everyday, I talk to them everyday.
"I don’t know what people did before social media and the Internet, but I’m very grateful for that. Yeah, we’re all very supportive of each other.”
Allison also confirmed that she has a boyfriend based in California. His name is AJ Calderon, a music producer and sound engineer.
“I have a boyfriend in the States. I’m hoping to go back and forth here a lot. So, in the next trip, I really want to get him out here,” Allison says.
What does her boyfriend think of their long-distance relationship?
“We are both so supportive of each other and I think that no matter what kind of relationship you have with someone, you have to be positive for them and with when it comes to good opportunities.
“We’re both really supportive, and like with my family, we Skype and keep in touch constantly, so that helped a lot. He is also very creative so he understands.”
6. Aside from modeling and hosting, Allison also loves to paint.
“I paint! I do a mix of realism, like whimsical creatures that I make, I guess.
"In the States, I do a lot of commissioned work and I paint because I love it. It’s what I do in my spare time.”
If she’s not in the fashion industry, Allison said will pursue a steady career as an artist.
“I'd probably be paiting, probably the same thing that I do now, but more organized with it, I guess... Pursuing it, perhaps working in a museum curating exhibitions, I think.”
Courtesy of CW's America's Next Top Model
7. Before joining America’s Next Top Model, Allison was known as the internet meme “Creepy Chan.”
Before joining ANTM, Allison was into photography and enjoyed taking self portraits.
At the age of 14, she started uploading self-portraits on her MySpace account.
Her photos usually have haunting themes, which she achieves with makeup, fake blood, and costumes.
She was later dubbed as the internet meme “Creepy Chan” on the website 4chan.org because most of her pictures looked creepy.
Allison recalled, “I had a MySpace many, many, many years ago and I think, sometimes, when you don’t have anyone else, you use yourself with photography and take a lot of self portraits.
"Apparently, they were creepy. But that’s fine, and it’s something that’s just sort of a goofy thing that ended up happening.
"But, to be honest, I find it more endearing more than anything.
“And it was just me trying to figure out who I was, I guess, at that time, and experimenting with photography.
"I love Francesca Woodman, I love Helmut Newton, and I think I was just kind of feeling my own way out. I think I was just kind of feeling my own way out.
“I think that was the time when digital cameras were really starting to happen, and film cameras were something I’m into as well, so I was just experimenting.”Courtesy of Allison Harvard's MySpace
8. She’s not a vampire, but she is very fascinated with the human body.
“That is something that I think was hilarious because that was editing!” Allison told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) when asked if she really does have a fascination with blood, like what she said in an episode of America’s Next Top Model.
Allison just laughed with the thought that people misunderstood her statement and think of her as a vampire.
“They made it seem like I was a vampire and that is not true.
"I told them that I had… I’ve always had a really big fascination with Taxidermy, and Forensic Science, and Genetic Blood Disorders.
"I think the human body is amazing, so what I was explaining was is that I was really into Genetic Blood Disorders, like Hemophilia and as far as the Romanovs, the Russian family, because their son had Hemophilia.
“So, I was really big in researching that and looking into things like that.
"So, if you break it down that way I have a really big interest in the human body for sure, but I’m not trying to suck in anyone’s neck or... yeah.”Courtesy of CW's America's Next Top Model
9. It’s more fun in the Philippines. Allison celebrated her 26th birthday in the country.
Allison turned 26 last January 8, and this was the first time she celebrated her birthday in the Philippines.
Aside from her birthday, Allison also stayed in the country for Christmas and New Year.
She visited the provinces of Marinduque and Baguio for vacation with some of her friends during the holidays.
“I had such an amazing trip a couple of days ago where I was in Marinduque and Baguio, so that was my sort of my pre-birthday [celebration].
"It was so nice though, the weather in Baguio was so beautiful."
Allison has also visited Boracay before and is excited to see other tourist destinations in the country.
"I’ve been to Boracay, so I’m looking forward to going to other places as well."
10. And finally, Allison Harvard in numbers:
177.8 is her height in centimeters
2009 is the year she joined the 12th cycle of America’s Next Top Model,hosted by supermodel Tyra Banks
26 is her current age. She celebrated her birthday last January 8 in the Philippines
8569 is the number of miles she traveled from her hometown in Texas, USA
2 to 4 is her dress size