By Chloe Ramirez
Her fierce eyes, fierce on-cam and runway personality, and fierce everything altogether helped Maureen Wroblewitz best 13 others at the recently concluded Asia’s Next Top Model Season 5. But the well-followed modeling show’s winner, who gets to appear on the cover of NYLON Singapore and take home a car for it at 18, didn’t always see rainbows and butterflies on her way up.
[related: In Focus: Asia's Next Top Model Winner Maureen Wroblewitz Channels Pinay Pride]
Maureen was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, then moved to Germany before ending up in her Philippines. She’s the smallest (Pinay na Pinay!), the youngest, and arguably least experienced of the Top Model bunch, but she didn’t let this break her stride. Creative director and one of the show's judges Yu Tsai even mentioned in the season finale that at this day and age, people don’t necessarily look for that height or care about the age, it’s the passion and talent. We say Maureen has both!
Maureen likes to think of her inexperience as an edge, saying that it gives her more room to learn. And although the model doesn’t look like the typical Filipina, (No morena skin for her!), she believes that she is very Filipino at heart. For her final photo shoot on the show, for example, she tried to exude what a Filipina should be: strong, proud, and regal.
“My mom would always teach me the Filipino culture. And I am proud to be Filipino, even if I’m just half. I really feel like a Filipino. I just want to show everyone that I really am proud to be who I am,” she declared in our interview with her at the finale.
It takes more than just looks to become a model, Maureen declared. Getting to where she is now, she admitted, has been a rollercoaster ride of sorts.
“I feel really happy because a Filipina has never won, so I’m really proud of myself and I’m so happy that I can make the fans, their dreams, come true.”
“I was always of the opinion that Filipinos always have to support each other.”
Not having stayed in the Philippines too long, Maureen hopes to travel more around the country. On her bucket list? “I really want to go to Palawan. But really, I actually want to explore the whole Philippines, the whole country!”
What else does she love about the country? Our celebs, of course, including her favorite: Maja Salvador.
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Photographs taken from Wroblewitz' Instagram account (@mauwrob)