Hunks with long locks are currently taking over the local modelling industry.
One particular Filipino model we have in mind is Kirst Viray, who started the biggest hair trend among guys a few years back.
Now, with his chiseled jaw line and well-toned abs, the 26-year-old model is at the peak of his modelling career.
In an exclusive interview with Kirst, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) discovered there is more to him than just his 'bad boy look' and being the rumored beau of Kiray Celis.
This six-footer Mercator talent has a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from the Lyceum Northwestern University.
HUMBLE ROOTS. Kirst hails from Dagupan City in Pangasinan, the second among five siblings.
His overseas Filipino working mother is currently based in Israel, while his father runs their small businesses in their hometown
Kirst has always been proud of his humble roots.
He never kept it a secret that he helped his father with their small business at the local fish market.
"Lahat yun parang na-try ko,” he told PEP, "kasi yung parents ko dati nagbebenta ng isda sa palengke.
"Tinutulungan ko sila, dun kami natutong magkakapatid."
Do you know he used to catch frogs for dinner?
His friends in the modelling industry know this, and would say, "Para lang daw chicken."
Like his father, Kirst also has a green thumb, "Meron din kaming maliit na lupa for farming.
“Minsan nagtatanim kami ng palay or mais.
"Parang kelan lang nag-ani yung tatay ko ng mais so ayun, kumita naman yung mais ko."
Kirst has put up a small videoke business in Pangasinan using the money he saved from his modelling gigs.
And, lately, he has shown interest in breeding stock, “Basta mahilig ako mag-alaga ng mga kambing.
“Plano ko dapat baboy naman, kaso wala pang time.
"Kasi yung tatay ko nga andun lang, siya rin yung nag-aasikaso so 'pag umuuwi ako, 'dun ko tinitignan."
RELUCTANT PAGEANT WINNER. Kirst started modelling professionally in December 2012.
Looking at his older photos online, we didn't recognize him with his clean-cut look—and short hair.
He was already working as a nurse at a local hospital when he decided to join a pageant.
He related, “May sinalihan akong parang pageant parang may nakakita sa akin.
“Sinali naman ako sa pageant sa Manila.
"Kasi yung pageant na yun, yung sa Pangasinan, kung sino yung mananalo, yun yung dadalhin sa Manila.
“Yun nga, nanalo ako 'tapos nag-doubt pa ako, mga tatlong beses yata ako nag-back out.
“Kasi nga okay na ako na nag-try na ako sumama sa pageant.
"Kasi masyado akong explorer na gusto ko i-try yung mga bagay-bagay, for experience ayun."
During the pageant in Manila, Kirst admitted that he didn’t take the Q&A portion seriously as he didn't really want to win.
"Pinaglaruan ko na lang yung question and answer kasi ayoko manalo pero nanalo pa rin ako.
"Basta may title, pero parang first runner-up."
The pageant opened up another opportunity, “Yung mga nag-judge… kinuha nila yung number ko.
“Kung gusto ko daw i-try yung modelling, parang ganun."
Kirst hesitated and went back to work as a nurse in Pangasinan.
But then something happened.
His work contract was not renewed and he was forced to go back to Manila and see his chances at modelling.
“Ayaw ko mabakante, so nag-text ako dun sa mga nakilala ko na ewan ko kung mga talent mangers.
“Basta pinapasahan ako ng mga casting so ayun… ‘tapos may mga nakikilala akong models.
“Dun na rin ako kumukuha ng contacts and castings."
TOUGH START. Like most neophyte models, Kirst had his fair share of challenges and rejections.
And there was this problem of commuting between his hometown and Manila.
Kirst recalled, "Ang hirap, ang hirap, yung baon ko minsan iniipon ko para makaluwas ng Manila.
“May mga times nga na natutulog ako sa terminal kasi ayokong makitulog sa mga kamag-anak.
“Parang pupunta lang ako sa casting, aantayin ko.
“Mag-stay lang muna ako sa terminal ng bus 'tapos uuwi na."
At this point, modelling had become his passion, which pushed him to hurdle the initial hardship.
As he told it, "Parang ilang beses din ako nag-give up kasi parang hindi yata para sa akin 'to.
“Pero ito yung gusto ko, e, kaya sabi ko, 'Sige na nga try ko na din!'
"Parang nagbigay ako ng one year 'tapos babalik na ako sa pagiging nurse. '
“Ipu-pursue ko muna ['tong modelling], susulitin."
BREAKTHROUGH. One of his biggest breaks came in 2013 when he was named Model of the Year for the health and fitness category during the Canada Philippine Fashion Week.
"Hanggang ayun, dire-direcho na, nag-Canada ako, nag-Cosmo ako.
“Nag-try ako sa commercial, dire-direcho na."
Gradually, projects started coming his way.
He was the talk of the town after he was featured in Cosmopolitan Philippines as one of its 69 Bachelors in 2014.
The next year, he was elevated to centerfold status when the magazine put him on the list of 69 hottest bachelors in the country.
“Ayun yung pinaka-peak talaga, at the same time, nakaka-book na ako ng mga lead sa commercial."
For Kirst, the high point of his career as a model is the acceptance of his parents.
He told PEP, "Masaya kasi parang yung pinili kong profession nagbubunga.
"Kasi before, ayaw ng parents ko mag-model ako; nurse naman ako, gusto nila ako mag-abroad.
"Siguro parang breadwinner kasi ako yung mas nakatapos talaga and wala naman akong asawa so ako talaga yung inaasahan.
"'Tapos sabi ko 'pag naging okay ako dito, siguro naman wala silang masasabi.
"'Tapos nung nagiging okay yung career ko, parang naintindihan nila na parang ito yung gusto kong tahakin.
"Nakikita nilang masaya ako sa ginagawa ko 'tapos ayun, hanggang nagtagal, hindi na sila nangungulit."