|"Asia's Next Top Model" finalist Katarina Rodriguez
MANILA – Katarina Rodriguez, one of the Filipinas in the top 3 of “Asia’s Next Top Model” (AsNTM), considers her lack of experience in modelling prior to entering the show as her edge over the other two remaining contestants, Jodilly Pendre of the Philippines and Sheena Liam of Malaysia.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News’ Ginger Conejero, Rodriguez said she is proud of her development since she joined the show.
“I think my edge over the other two contestants aside from my determination is the fact that I had no experience. I entered not having any previous bias knowledge of modelling whatsoever, whereas if you have experience, you have a bias that may be wrong. I think that was my advantage. I think it was the fact that you can see my growth. Some of the girls, they would grow a bit but they hit a wall,” she said.
While she has never had any modelling experience before, Rodriguez admitted it was something she has always wanted to do.
“Secretly, it has [been something I’ve always wanted to do]. I think my friends really knew that, my family knew it but they always push school and it was always brains before beauty,” she said.
At 21, Rodriguez is now on her fourth year at the De La Salle University where she is taking up philosophy and business management.
Although her studies will always be her first priority, Rodriguez plans to take advantage of the opportunities given to her because of "AsNTM."
“Being able to learn from all these people from all over the world, I need to apply it. That’s my job. Otherwise, it would all go to waste. Whether I win or I don’t win, it’s how you apply yourself afterwards, that’s what counts,” she said.
Unlike Pendre, Rodriguez stands a bit shorter compared to her fellow contestants at 5-foot-7. Despite this, Rodriguez thinks her height never worked to her disadvantage.
“The best thing I learned from 'AsNTM,' it’s that it does not matter how tall you are, it does not matter how thin you are and it definitely does not matter how beautiful you are. What matters is how you deliver or portray the character that the client wants you to embody,” she said.
Born and raised in the United States, Rodriguez said she is every bit a Filipina.
“I grew up in the States. I was born there but I moved here. I lived here for a couple of years, moved back and I would come to visit so often. My heart was always in the Philippines so when I graduated in high school, I said I want to go to the Philippines,” she said.
With just two days before the airing of the show’s final episode, Rodriguez said she is very proud to represent the Philippines along with Pendre.
“My best moment in the show so far was when I was called first for entering the top 3. When (host) Nadya (Hutagalung) called my name, I was like ‘This is really it!’ Right after that, she called Jodilly’s name. There were two Pinays top 3 for 'AsNTM.' That’s huge. Stephanie Retuya from season 1, she came in runner up so it has to be like myself or Jodilly who wins this time. It’s a big deal,” she said.
“I’m very excited because of the fact that I started out with no experience… The fact that they both have had years of experience on top of what I’ve had from the show, I’m really really proud and excited for myself because I learned fast and I made it to top 3,” she added.
The final episode of “Asia’s Next Top Model” will air on April 9.