To be able to set a milestone in Asia all because you took a chance in something that you’ve wanted to do in your life is very remarkable. From being just a regular college student-athlete in De La Salle University to becoming a name that evokes Philippine pride in the modeling industry, 21 year-old Katarina Rodriguez has definitely made a mark. This beautiful face was one of the only two representatives of the Philippines in the recently concluded season of Asia’s Next Top Model and placed third out of the sixteen finalists from across the Asian region. Behind the breakthrough of Katarina in the industry is a charming sweet girl who is just as fun-loving as every college student is.
How much has your life changed after the Top Model experience?
Before the show, I didn’t model at all. I was primarily a student-athlete. I was following a routine: wake up and train at 4:30 AM, attend my classes, train again, do homework, do yoga and sleep. It was a little boring compared to my life now. I didn’t notice about this routine before but I never want to go back to that now. When I started modeling, everything was very different. Everything was hectic. There was a point until recent wherein I would just be getting four to five hours of sleep at night. It’s hard! It was hard to balance school, running for DLSU’s Women’s Track and Field varsity team and professional modeling. There were not enough hours in a day anymore.
What made you decide to join the show?
It was exactly a year ago after my birthday when I was convinced in auditioning for the show. My best friends knew I really wanted to do modeling but I just put in aside for some time because it was more of a faraway dream for me. They pushed me to attend the audition in person. One of my friends even gave me a pair of 6-inch pumps since they thought I was too short to model. One of my managers says it doesn’t hurt to try, right? I have nothing to lose if I go. So, I did it. Next thing I know I went to the second round then the third then eventually got an email saying that I was one of the finalists for the show! I was in a state of shock at that moment. Until now, I could still remember that feeling. It was different. It’s a really big shock.
How’s Katarina at the age of 21?
Katarina at 21 is going to be Katarina at forever 21! 21 I think is the age that you want to stay in forever, right? This is time best time where I can be young. I’m like a child with grown-up responsibilities. I will always have a good time and learn from different generations. I can be fun with people who are younger than 18 and mingle with those in their late 20’s or older and no matter what I will have fun. I think that’s what being 21 is about. It’s really about exploring everything on this earth and everything. It’s a trial and error thing.
How do you describe your personal style?
It’s a mix of being classy, comfortable, masculine and sexy. What I wear everyday depends on my activities. If I am in school, I wear something loose and relaxed. If there is an event, I try to go all out if I can. Generally, I try to mix two opposing styles.
What’s your favorite menswear item that you can’t live without?
I would have to say oversized pullovers and button-downs. They’re super comfortable. You can sleep in them, dress them up, and dress them down. They’re very versatile pieces for me.
Have you ever stolen a piece of clothing from your brother and guy friends? What did you steal from their wardrobes?
I got a lot of shirts and hoodies from them! Shirts from guys are the most comfortable things since they are thicker and better in quality compared to girls’ shirts. They are more durable too. Most of my pajamas are not even my own shirts!
What are the five most essential items in your closet right now?
Denim jacket, jeggings, basic white shirt, black pumps and my wedge sneakers.
What’s that one thing you cannot live without?
If you were a pizza flavor, what would you be?
It’s either meat lovers or four-cheese pizza!
What’s that superhero ability that you want to have?
Flying! It would be so fun to fly. I want to see everything from the sky. I wanted to become a pilot as a kid. Maybe that’s the reason why I choose flying.
If you were to live in one place in this world for the rest of your life, where will it be?
It would have to be Argentina because it has the best scenic views, waterfalls, and mountains. They say the most beautiful people are from Argentina. I want to see these people and live amongst them.
Would you rather have a vacation in a hot beach or a cold mountainside place?
Beach. I grew up with the beach in Orlando that’s why I constantly miss it here in the Philippines since the closest beaches are still a bit far from Manila. This is the palest I have been my whole entire life because of that.
What’s that one childhood game that you miss playing?
The Sims! I would sneak out of my room in the middle of the night until I get caught. It was addicting!
What’s that one soundtrack that can summarize your life right now?
Reach For Me by Dinka featuring Hadley and Danny Inzerillo
How do you see yourself five years from now?
Still 21! I’m hoping that I would be a full-time international model by that time. I also hope that I have accomplished everything in my studies by then. I also want to continue inspiring people and hopefully reach out to more people by then.
Graphic tee by Tee Culture, P149.75
What’s your message to the SM Youth?
Be brave in everything you do. When you make decisions no matter how small or big, just be brave and stick to it. With bravery, you’re forced to commit and with commitment, you follow through. When you start something, you want to follow through until the end. Don’t ever look back. Always be passionate about whatever you do and pick what you love. You cannot go wrong with choosing what you love no matter what. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid and I have been the happiest person.