COVER STORY- Winner of MMAZM Cycle 3, Yunike Fransisca, Shares On Her Journey After MMAZM & Her Modelling Dreams

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Born and raised in a small city in Indonesia, called Pasuruan, Yunike being mixed-race felt she had to work a little bit harder to blend with society. We asked her how her interest in modelling started and it was all thanks to her parents, especially her mom who wanted to see her grow her wings not just in academics but also in the non-academic field. Yunike’s dad introduced her to sports while her mom introduced her to art world such as singing, dancing, drawing, including modelling. Yunike’s mom introduced Yunike to one of her mom’s friend who’s good at catwalk and Yunike started to enjoy modelling. Building up her experiences by challenging herself in participating in many fashion (catwalk) competitions, this definitely helped her to learn and enjoy the journey.

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“Basically, I kept doing modelling until the end of elementary school, then I decided to stop because I wanted to focus on my study. After three years, I moved to Malang to do Senior High School. Being away from my family for the first time by myself, gave me another life lessons. Sometimes I felt bored because I had nothing to do in my boarding house after school. I wanted to do something else, something that I’m good at and won’t bother my school. So I joined one of the modelling agency there. With them, I learned a lot about the modelling industry, especially the negative ones; working until morning, got rejected because of physical appearance (too dark, not so tall, and not so skinny), listened people talk harshly to the models, etc. I felt down at first, but somehow it burnt my spirit. I read a lot of books about personality, so I know how to improve myself from inside and understand what people think, I took care of my body better, I practiced a lot more than others, and eventually, they trusted me to teach modelling for a while in that agency.” Yunike opens up while reminiscing with us her modelling story and how everything began.

“After high school, I moved to Jakarta for university. It was a busy period for me. A girl from a small city needed to adjust a lot. From changing the dialect, making friends, studying, and being more independent were taking so much time. I stopped modelling at that time, but once I settled down, I took a role in a beauty pageant. University level, National level, I did it all. I knew it’s not pure just about modelling, but at least I can use my ability from previous experiences.”

Participating in beauty pageants absolutely opened more opportunities for Yunike as she got offers to do TV programmes and two short movies while still modelling from time to time. More opportunities came up continually and she soon realized that she had already achieved some of her dreams. Thinking her life as a journal and reflecting back what her dream was when she was a kid, being an International Model was one of them. After much consideration and insights from her family and friends, she chased that dream. Leaving everything behind in Indonesia to pursue her dream of becoming an International Model, Yunike bravely moved abroad to Hong Kong and got offers from agencies.

Being an International Model in Hong Kong, we asked how Yunike discovered ZALORA’S MMAZM Competition. She revealed to us that she discovered ZALORA’S MMAZM Competition on Instagram as she had settled down in Hong Kong for six months. She was curious on how far she could go in the modelling industry and decided to take a leap in trying for Make Me A ZALORA Model Competition. Although winning was her goal but she promised herself to not focus on the result, on the process instead.

“I always think this world is like an apple. Even though I already achieved my dreams, but it’s just one bite of the apple. There are a lot of bites that I should taste by having a lot of experiences in life, keep learning, and be brave to take any opportunity.” Yunike also shared with us some of her experiences in other competitions she had participated before MMAZM which started back when she was in Indonesia.

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“I don’t know if it’s because of my DNA that likes to compete or I just built to be ‘banci panggung’ or the person who loves to show off. I’m used to it. The hectic preparations, the adrenalin right before it started, the experiences, after all, I like the process. It’s always been my routine to be busy with activities, including competitions. It began with little competitions and shows in my hometown. Still joined some modeling competitions in Malang when I was in high school. Then I joined Miss UMN (for my university) when I was in college. At the end of my last year in university, I took part in Miss Indonesia 2016, representing West Sulawesi. It was a cool experience for me. I didn’t get to win everything or every competition, but there must be something I can learn from it. Just like for Miss Indonesia, I didn’t win, but I know now how beauty pageant looks like, especially at a national level. A few months afterward, I was one of the Indonesian models who went to Japan for Kawaii Japan Competition. I was so excited because I never been to Japan before. Even for work and to compete, but it’s still a cool experience for me. Even cooler because I won it! The prizes were I walked for Tokyo Girls Collection (one of the biggest fashion show in Japan), met Top Models from Japan, brought back the crown, and more importantly; I can bring Indonesia’s proud for the first time to the international stage. Awesome!”

Yunike also mentioned that her life after winning MMAZM allowed her to expand her connections both in friendship and work from other countries. “I had to move to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and worked with ZALORA for three months. My life has been more interesting, and/or complicated. Well, Malaysia would be my third country that I will stay in a year. New environment, new friends, a new language, a new routine. Many adjustments I made at that time. But with support from my loved ones, family, and friends, also people in the ZALORA studio, I stayed positive and learned as much as I could.”

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Yunike continued, “As The Face of Zalora, I had to learn how to be fierce in front of the camera for hours, every day, without forgetting my own uniqueness. This stretched me and helped me grow a lot as a model. And as a result, I got to work with amazing professionals, shoot cool campaigns, and also editorial. One practical example; before MMAZM, I never had a gut to do bikini or underwear for a photoshoot. They encouraged me to be more confident and believe in myself. Until today, I’m so grateful for this opportunity and the support that I got from the ZALORA family.”

As soon as the three-month contract with ZALORA ended, Yunike went back to Hong Kong to her agency and jumped back to her old routine of casting, fitting and working in front of the camera. She realized that some clients have given her more attention and her portfolio started to grow bigger since her win on MMAZM.  

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It cannot be denied that it takes a lot of work to achieve that International model status and being prepared for jobs such as photoshoots would require great skincare routine as well as healthy diet. Not only that, mental preparation, doing research about who she works for and being in a good mood before photoshoots are also key for Yunike to perform her best.

When speaking on her diet choices, Yunike does not deny that she also finds moments where she indulges in carbs and sweets but that never stopped her from maintaining her figure by making sure she consumes more healthier food options while working out at least 30 minutes, four or five times a week.

“Knowing your body build also important. If you want to lose some weight, better do more cardio. But if you think you are pretty skinny, better to eat more protein and do weight to shape your body tone and muscle. Personally, I prefer to mix both, do cardio a little bit and then do muscle exercise. If you can balance your food and workout routine, over time you’ll see the difference. It makes me proud when I heard my clients or friends say, “Oh you are so fit!” because that’s exactly what I’m aiming for. A lot of taller models out there, younger too and prettier with their own bone structure. I can’t control my height; I can’t reduce my age and I can’t change the whole bone structure of mine. But I can control how would I look like, how fit I can be, how healthy I am, and I’m happy with it.”

Yunike continued by adding on her hair and skincare routine. “For me, skin and hair are very important things to be taken care of every day, regardless there’s a photoshoot/shooting or not. I do minimum two kinds of masks every day, type of mask it depends on how’s my skin condition on that day. I also do body scrub and hair mask once in a week. No need to buy an expensive brand, you can use a local brand or even DIY, as long as it suits your skin and you’re able to do those consistently. Right before shoot, usually, I put one more mask and massage my face. It helps to reduce puffiness on my face and moisturized. Since I moved to Hong Kong, I realized that if the skin is in good condition, any kind of makeup would look nice on your skin. That’s why I never skip my beauty routine, even in a day.”

Although this model has done many photoshoots during her career, she never fails to be excited and a little bit shy to spot her face everywhere such as in the television, Youtube and Magazine. Another thing she finds herself lucky as a model is the opportunity that she gets to travel and visit places she has never been before.  However, she also finds herself missing her loved ones at home but is grateful that the support of people close to her helps her be stronger and more focused on work.

She also commented that although she understands why some people think being a model is easy, she believes that every job has its own pros and cons. Apart from having flexible working hours, being a model also has its challenges where competitions gets tougher and uncertainty of schedule and amount of jobs booked. The other part of truth that some people might not notice apart from the glamourous side of It all.

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When asked about what her future plans are, Yunike feels that she has a lot of more to learn in the modelling industry and being dabbled in hosting and acting already, she prefers to focus more on modelling on commercials and editorials.