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On November 21, 2018, the whole country beamed with pride as Maymay Entrata hit the Dubai runway, wearing Amato Couture and becoming the first Filipina to open Arab Fashion Week.

Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier of NOWFASHION.

Maymay was a sight to behold in creations by Furne One, the Dubai-based Filipino designer and founder of Amato Couture. Indeed, it was the realization of her childhood dream to become a model. 

Photo from Regis Colin Berthelier of NOWFASHION.

That runway debut and the concert that Maymay headlined with her love-team partner, Edward Barber, also in Dubai, prove that the Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7 Big Winner has truly gone places. But Maymay is the first to say that she didn’t achieve them alone. She has her family, fans, and Edward supporting and cheering her on.

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.

She’s also thankful to Josh Yugen, a Dubai-based entrepreneur who made those opportunities come her way. StarStudio,ph chats with Josh and picks up exclusive details—right here.

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.


Can you tell us a bit about where you’re from? What led you to where you are now in Dubai?

"I was born in a small town at the suburbs of Metro Manila. I went to Dubai when I was 22 to look for a greener pasture. I started working in a marketing company then later on pursued my writing career. I finished my Master’s degree here in Dubai for journalism, public relations and advertising. Fast forward after my 6th year in Dubai, I was lucky enough to have found a local Emirati to fund my business. Now, I now have my self-owned company @YUGENPR, a PR and Events agency and XPEDITION Middle East magazine, a luxury lifestyle, travel and fashion magazine published in Dubai, targeted to the affluent society."

As a multi-awarded editor-in-chief and entrepreneur in Dubai, what’s your typical workday like?

"7:00 AM, breakfast. 7:30AM, check the news on the TV or my phone. 8:00AM, preparation to work. 9:00AM, I leave home for my first meeting or going to the office. 10:00AM, check emails and morning briefing with my PR team. 11:00AM, morning briefing with my publishing team. 12:00NN, lunch meeting. 1:30PM, visit photo shoot or set another meeting. 4:00PM, meet a client. 6:00PM, back to office to sign papers and meet the team. 8:00PM, dinner meeting with friends or colleagues. 11:00PM, meet some friends for a drink/ do some sports/workout (sometimes haha). 1:00AM, relax at home, check emails and taking notes for tomorrow’s plan."

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.


Can you take us to the beginning? How did you two meet?

"It was summer day in Manila, fresh from a Dubai flight along with Furne Amato. We went to [a fitting]… featuring 9 top celebrities of [this] generation. Nevertheless, there is one girl that captured my attention. She is a simple, innocent yet very charming Filipina with a big smile on her face. Honestly, I don’t know her that time (this is because I have lived abroad for a long time so I cannot catch up on the latest on the Philippine entertainment) but I know she is someone special, someone who is the epitome of a star with an X-factor."

“The crowd and the team doing the photo shoot are also all eyes on her as if she is the superstar of the generation, and I am not wrong. She is Maymay Entrata, the phenomenal star in the Philippines. Instantly, she blew me away for her natural charm and endless humor, she is definitely someone who can stay in the industry like this, especially in the Philippines. It was a magical moment, I feel like we have an instant connection; she is so humble and down-to-earth, I felt like I am talking to my younger sister, something I never had.”

What drew you to work with her? Why Maymay?

“The first project that we did is a photo shoot for a local fashion magazine in the Philippines. It is not a choice but rather a destiny. The artists are pre-selected and we were lucky to have her on that shoot. It was a pleasant encounter that time. Fast forward after two months, me and Furne Amato came back to Manila to do the biggest fashion show in the history of Philippine Fashion, Furne Amato’s 25th year celebration show. Maymay was chosen as one of the cover stars that will walk the runway of the show. We were so thrilled on the warm feedback and positive reviews of our fashion industry colleagues about her catwalk and we are impressed too. During rehearsal and fittings, I am observing. She is already the apple of my eyes, since she has the looks of a high fashion and editorial model and for us, it is a gift and it comes natural for her.

“In fashion, we only say either she has it or she don’t, and she has IT - big time. I am not wrong, she delivers and even surpassed our expectations. From that day, I told her on the backstage, if she likes modelling or if she has any interest to it and she replied immediately, “yes sir.” I was really happy to know that this is one of her dreams, to be a model. I believe that the stars and the universe have funny ways to make everything happen and I know on that moment that we are bound to something greater.”

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.

Can you tell us the process of how you got Maymay into Arab Fashion Week?

“After that fashion show, I immediately set up a meeting with ABS-CBN Executives to see how we can work together. Their management team is so supportive with them and immediately said they’re ok for Maymay and Edward to have their Dubai concert debut and on top of that a chance for Maymay to walk at the prestigious Arab Fashion Week. She has to pass a series of look test and casting before officially announcing her international runway debut. During those times, we have requested their management team to send us fashion shots of Maymay, we did several online catwalk casting and interview, we did some look tests and fittings. We have a team who went to Manila to do some fitting with her during the ABS-CBN Ball. We sent a formal letter to her management company regarding the casting call and they politely accepted the same.

“Maymay attended the final online casting call with Kevin Oliver (the show director of Arab Fashion Week) Furne Amato and myself, that night we have made a decision to take her in as we know that she is ready to slay the catwalk of Arab Fashion Week. Finally, after the careful deliberation and casting calls, in early November 2018, we have officially announced it to the public and everyone gets so excite to see another Filipina on an international catwalk stage. Maymay arrives in Dubai and straight she attended some sessions of catwalk training, look tests and outfit fittings under the supervision of Kevin, Furne, and myself."

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.

How is Maymay during work days and how is she off-cam?

“She is a pure soul. Her innocence fills the room and her eyes are glowing from within because of her positivity and unparalleled authenticity. She takes her career seriously and she is generous with her fans and followers. She always asks for my WiFi because she wants to update her fans and followers daily while they are here in Dubai. I admire those kind of gestures, she truly values her supporters and I can feel that she is feeling all the love and support of people behind her. She is grateful and God-fearing. She also asks everyone in the room how are they, what is their story, she never wants to focus in herself. This made me cry inside, how can a superstar like her be so benevolent and kind - and I know by that moment, she is really THE ONE.” 

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.


From your posts, we saw how you’ve grown fond of Maymay as a person. Can you tell us more on how your relationship developed?

“I was so lucky that we have chemistry together. I felt like I found my little sister (I always wanted to have a little sister since I am the youngest in the family) and she has found a strong-willed parent in me. During the time that we are working and getting all the details confirmed for the Dubai concert as well as the fashion show, I get to talk to her a lot of times and from then, we talk funny things, things that are silly but are funny enough to make our stomach hurt because of too much laughter. Then it developed, we arrange video calls and she became comfortable telling me about her past experiences, heartaches, dreams, goals and love.”

Like Maymay, you worked hard and persevered in order to rise above many challenges. Is it one of the reasons you have become close?

“Absolutely, I can relate to her in some extent. Here in Dubai, one of my advocacies is to erase the stereotype to us Filipinos abroad as unskilled and should be treated less than other nationalities. I make sure that Filipinos get the attention and appreciation it deserves and I think that’s where I relate Maymay’s hardships and battles to make it to the top of the Philippine showbiz. She eradicated stereotypes on what is the real meaning of beauty, she changed the landscape of social media and how celebrities interact using social media platforms. She changed the idea of people on who should be endorsing a specific product or a brand. She defied the norms of the society and it is good, it is actually great, because she is bridging the masa or the majority of the people in the Philippines to these brands or the people that we call elite. She is a humble lady who has wowed an international fashion audience with her catwalk skills and it is a representation of a real Filipina, someone who never gives up and is always ready to show the world her talents.”

There was an outpouring of support as Maymay made history. What are your thoughts when Maymay was strutting down the runway and wearing Amato couture, knowing she is the first Filipina to open Arab Fashion Week?

“Magical. Overwhelming. Proud. Phenomenal. That moment wasn’t even in my dreams. I did not realise how big is the impact we made after that show. I am deeply touched by the outpouring [of] messages and comments that we have received leading to that night, that evening and even after that show. I did not realise that this show will be instrumental to inspire other people to be at their best and keep fighting on their dreams because nothing is impossible.

“When I first saw her on the runway, I was teary-eyed. It felt like my little sister is blossoming in front of my eyes and the millions of people. She has definitely arrived, and she arrived big time!

“She truly brings honor to the country for being the first-ever Filipina to walk and open the entire Arab Fashion Week and that is history.”

We saw how thankful Maymay was for your guidance, and that you’re one of the keys to her dreams coming true. What makes her different from other young artists? What did you realize about her throughout the whole experience?

“She is real and honest with herself and that is the reason why a lot of people love her. She is always grateful and I think she got it from mother. Mommy Lorna is a sweetheart. It is true that if you a train a child in the way she should go, and when she is old, she will not depart from it - that is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Proverbs 22:6.” 

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.


Can you tell us how Edward showed support for Maymay during their stay in Dubai for the Fashion Week?

“He is super supportive. He always makes sure that everything is ok and Maymay is comfortable in every activity that she is doing. Edward is stunningly charming. He can smile at you and he can laugh at you and will make you feel that the world is a better place. I am sure Maymay’s world is a paradise because of Edward.”

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.

Are there any notable and fun experiences you can tell us while they were in Dubai?

“We went to a horror house as group, Maymay is the least person that is afraid of going in. All of us were so scared including Edward. We have to explain to Edward that the experience was ‘just a little scary’ so he can come and join us. He is very firm that he doesn’t like to join us as he is not a fan of these kind of things. We went inside the horror house and yes, we all screamed so loud, after the 8-minute experience, Edward came out of the horror house in full shock and sweat and all of us are laughing. It was a fun experience.”

As a producer of the MayWard concert, were you able to predict its massive success?

“For me, success is not measured by the money and numbers, it is mostly with the people you have touched and get inspired, and in that case, yes I predicted the success of MayWard concert because I met their supporters here in Dubai leading to the concert and I can see their passion and dedication. We have received numerous calls and messages from other supporters from Hong Kong, Singapore, Qatar, UK, USA, Switzerland, etc. as they want to see the concert. It is magical. 35,000 people united in love, music and happiness for MayWard.”

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.

In your opinion, what is it about the love team that makes it so appealing to fans?

“They don’t pretend. They are very real, especially Maymay - she is the most authentic star that I’ve met.”

Can you tell us something about the couple that the fans may not have known yet?

“They are extra sweet in the car (I don’t know if they don’t know this yet haha) or they have given each other a special gift while they are here in Dubai… I can’t tell you the gift though haha…”

Lastly, do you have any future projects that MayWard fans can look forward to?

“A lot, mostly fashion-related but I cannot divulge yet all the details. I am also vocal of my dream to write a movie or TV show script for them.”

Photo courtesy of @YugenPR.