Once in a while a radical shift changes the face of modeling. With a major Dutch model movement dominating the fashion world, it’s not an easy feat to standout amongst an army of blonde haired, blue eyed glamazons—but 100 percent pure Pinay Chat Almarvez did. With her exquisite Filipina features and sylphlike frame, she is well on her way to making her own mark in New York and directing a new look for fashion.
Chat’s model discovery reads like a fairytale. In 2009, then 16 years old, she was just a girl participating in a humble sagala (Lenten procession) in her hometown of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Right at that moment, the 5’10” mannequin-in-the-making was spotted by fashion director Cata Firgueroa. He encouraged her to attend go-sees in Manila for Philippine Fashion Week. She also trained at Cal Carrie’s under esteemed model-maker Joey Espino. All her hard work and determination led to the road of becoming the Philippine representative at the Ford Supermodel of the World in New York and ultimately bagging the first runner-up position. Interestingly enough, several of the world’s top models were also runners-up—Chanel Iman, Hyoni Kang, Adriana Lima, and even our very own Charo Ronquillo—proving that the prestigious modeling competition is a significant launch pad for establishing a lucrative modeling career.
Currently on leave from her Business Administration classes at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Chat is now based in New York where for two subsequent seasons she has managed to book a multitude of shows including Mercedes Benz Fashion Week—an impressive accomplishment for a runway neophyte—and the Diane Von Furstenberg show, where she met fashion’s current it-girl, Karlie Kloss, whom she admires. Chat shares that one of her memorable experiences is doing a V Magazine editorial for which she donned a gorgeous digital-print reptilian armor dress by the late-great fashion designer Alexander McQueen. “The photo shoot was on my birthday and it was my first ever magazine job. I never thought that I would ever get to wear a McQueen,” she beams. From then on, she has appeared in numerous spreads for Teen Vogue, Glamour, Town & Country, VS and Vogue China—wherein she was photographed alongside designer Vera Wang as the designer’s muse. Chat also gushes about doing the Fashion Night Out show. “I saw all the top models in the world in one room. Standing in the corner watching all of them as I realized they were really in front of me and that what I am doing is the real deal. I used to watch them on TV but now I’m in a show with them!” she says.
With her meteoric rise to international success, Chat remains modest and appreciates the simpler thing. She says, “I always keep in mind to stay grounded. I’m blessed with a family that understands what I do. They always cheer me up and give me advice. I love my family for their patience and understanding.” Despite a busy schedule, she makes it a point keep in touch with her loved ones in Manila. She is also a devout Catholic, visiting the church everyday and attending mass on weekends. When she’s not in church, she focuses on keeping her model figure in top shape by working out four days a week while leading a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables. Despite her busy schedule, she makes it a point to get eight hours of sleep to maintain her youthful glow.
While Chat superstitiously wears two charm bracelets for luck, it’s her go-getter attitude that has helped her stand out from the rest of the pack She believes that determination is one of the key factors to her success. “Believing in dreams is one thing; working towards achieving your dreams is another,” she says, advising aspiring models to have an open mind, keep their values in tact, as well as to respect and listen to the right people. Chat Almarvez sure has lady luck on her side. All eyes are on her as she conquers international territory and takes her rightful place as the next generation Pinay supermodel.