Kelsey Merritt is breaking new ground for Filipinos in the world of fashion, as she received confirmation Friday that she has aced her audition to become one of the models of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
On Twitter, an elated Merritt shared a photo of her in tears, while holding a bouquet of flowers. “We did it, Philippines!” she said. “I’m walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018! I can’t believe this!”
The Filipino-American model went on to enumerate colleagues who were instrumental in “making my dream come true.”
Merritt has long set her sights on participating in the iconic Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which has featured the likes of Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Miranda Kerr, Heidi Klum, and Adriana Lima.
Merritt moved to the US to pursue her modeling career full time, but only after she graduated with an AB Communications degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 2017.
In May 2018, she clinched her first-ever shoot with Victoria’s Secret for its active-wear line. More opportunities with the brand followed, particularly as a model for its online catalog.
In what now appears to be a foreshadowing of her casting on the catwalk, Merritt, in June, was photographed by Australian lensman Russell James for the lingerie line of Victoria’s Secret. James is credited as the main photographer of the brand’s annual fashion show. His book “Backstage Secrets” chronicles a decade behind the scenes of the highly anticipated event.
Prior to Merritt, beauty queen Janine Tugonon became the first Filipino to be featured in a Victoria’s Secret promotional material. She was shown in an advertisement for the brand’s Pink line, for younger women.
Tugonon also auditioned to join the fashion show in 2016, but failed to make the cut, making Merritt the first Filipino to take the catwalk alongside international supermodels.