Asia's Next Top Model (AsNTM) season 3 first runner-up Monika Sta. Maria admits it's been a struggle for her dealing with online bashers.
Speaking to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at Sofitel Philippine Plaza's French food celebration, Monika said she got a lot of help from AsNTM host Georgina Wilson, who told her, “You have to be strong. Those people, isipin mo they are spending, wasting their time on you. That means you're somebody."
Monika appreciates the busy host-entrepreneur's openness and candor.
“She really is just very available, and she makes a point to show that she is available to be talked to even outside the show.
“Of course, nung una, sobrang intimidating 'coz you see the way she presents herself. Sobrang class.
“Her hair is always beautiful. The make-up, the way she dresses, the way she handles herself is very intimidating,” Monika says.
She adds that Georgina is like a mother and sister to her and fellow AsNTM model-candidates.
“Down to earth talaga siya! We really feel comfortable towards her na. If we need to talk to her, she's like a big sister.”
NO REGRETS. Monika, a second-timer in the show, has no regrets trying her luck again.
“Last year, I didn't make it. So sabi ko this year, finally I am in competition.
"Gusto ko every single minute, I wanna show them I am the best. I just didn't want to waste a single minute.”
She became a better person, specifically in the area of resolving conflict with Ayu Gani, the top winner and one of Monika's early “adversaries” in the model house.
“We decided na we have to be open to each other. Pag walang communication kasi, she can brew something in her mind."
Much wiser now, Monika remarks, “Kahit na nung una, 'Ay, yung personality ko, hindi pang-reality TV.'
“Modeling lang naman yung habol ko, 'di naman popularity or artista or anything.”
Monika hopes that by 2016, she'll see her dream of becoming an international model outside Asia come true.
For now, she says, “While I'm still getting exposure in the Philippines, I wanna see what is there for me.
“It does pay more in commercials and print ads and TVCs [TV commercials].
"But my favorite is the runway. While it does not pay as much, doon ako nag-start.”
BENEFITS OF VOLLEYBALL. Monika recalls how, as a volleyball player for De La Salle University and as the newbie in modeling that year, she had to walk the runway.
“Mahiyain akong tao pero when I stood in the runway, feeling ko I am not modeling myself. It's the clothes, so parang feel na feel ko.”
Monika credits her volleyball background for having the necessary endurance to withstand the rigors of fashion modeling.
“I think volleyball really shows how much the body can push.
“'Di ba sa model kailangan maintain? Hindi puwedeng relax-relax unless you're born super skinny?
“Ako, I need to work hard for it and volleyball has definitely helped me with the fitness side,” she says.
PURSUING SHOWBIZ? Monika is also not closing her doors on showbiz or the pageant world.
“If show business does knock on my door, sino naman ako na mag-no?
“Nahihiya ako. Siyempre, opportunity is an opportunity. I will give it a try if it knocks on my door.”