In this month’s fashion editorial feature we explore summer’s most chimed trend, Summer Boho. Set in the overgrown backyards of a rural village along the shore line, alive with wildlife, stands Filipino born Marlena Monika Sta Maria, better known as Monika, 1st runner-up of this years Asia’s Next Top Model reality competition and acclaimed TV show.
Adorned in the season’s must-have accessories, Monika embodies a gypsy fantasia offering a sense of romantic, laid-back ease which is brought to life with rasta colours and a nomadic attitude. Monika’s large chestnut eyes, stunning freckles, flawless, dewy skin and relaxed style make the popular model the ultimate bohemian. Against the sunshine backdrop which beams through the jungle canopy above, Monika models psychedelic prints, fringed suede and summer cover-ups with a feminine edge. Her sun-kissed glow keep Summer Bohemia alive, whilst the backdrop injects the perfect touch of jungle love.
Although Monika came second in the competition, she was a clear winner in the eyes of her 125K social media followers. Her four wins within the ANTM competition challenges during the show was an achievement unmatched by any other finalist on the show, and won her a contract with a Closeup toothpaste ad campaign as well as becoming a Subaru brand ambassador. Her stint on the show wasn’t without controversy as her competitive streak often caused conflict between her and the other girls. Telling Georgina Wilson during their one-on-one session before the final episode “My eyes are on the prize and not on the other girls”.
During our exclusive Summer Boho editorial shoot with Monica, we found some time for a coffee and the skinny on what really happened in the house, and what life has been like since Asia’s Next Top Model.
Congratulations on getting to 1st runner up on Asia’s Next Top Model, how has life been since finishing the competition?
Thank you! It has been so overwhelming since the competition! I felt so much love and support from everyone who watched the series. I feel so happy and blessed!
You won four challenges and had a strong media following throughout, don’t you feel slightly cheated?
Of course I was sad because I was so so close to the title! But after the show, the support that I felt from the viewers really cheered me up, they boosted my confidence because whilst on the show I proved that I have got what it takes!
What is the best thing you took away from your experience as a contestant on ANTM?
I applied for ANTM the previous year and didn’t get a place. But by me not giving up I applied this year and got a place! My hard work paid off! I have learnt to always take charge and believe in what I want to do in life. Taking that first brave step could possibly take you on an insane journey that you would have never of dreamed of. That makes life worthwhile!
What are you plans from here?
As the new Subaru ambassador, I am very excited to travel around Asia and represent the brand. I am also set to become the face of Close up Diamond Attraction! After I have fulfilled my ambassador duties this year, I have my heart set on exploring my modelling career outside of Asia!
We’re in the midst of Summer, what are your wardrobe essentials?
I always have a pair of sunglasses in my bag. Something like the classic Ray-Ban Aviators or if I’m feeling a little more playful I would opt for a vintage shaped pair, like a cat-eye shape from River Island.
Asian Summers can often get hot and humid, what are your makeup fail safe’s?
Definitely Burt’s Bees lip balm and sun-screen like Philosophy’s Take Shelter SPF 30