This week saw history being made when the first ever Filipina winner of Asia’s Next Top Model was crowned in the Season 5 Grand Finale. Proving the skeptics wrong, this petite, pretty-faced teen had to fight her way to the top.
By no means has it been a cruisy ride for Maureen Wroblewitz. Let’s take a look back at her progress throughout the competition, from the very first weekly photoshoot all the way through to the photo that clinched her this year’s most coveted prize.
The judges already started to disagree over Maureen’s best photo.
“I love your face. I can imagine doing lots and lots of beauty commercials with you. BUT I hate that photo. It looks as if you’ve seen an ex-boyfriend”, commented the photographer Joel Lin.
Pia Wurtzbach thought otherwise: “I would have to disagree. I LOVE this photo. Beautiful face, she looks long, so for me, I like it.”
Split opinions on the judging panel continued with Model Mentor Cara G was left disappointed with Maureen’s beauty shots: “You have a face that Colgate would kill to have for their brand. But, looking at your photos was mentally draining because they all looked exactly the same. So you’re just getting by because of your genetics. You’re genetically blessed and that will only get you so far.” However Yu Tsai disagreed: “I don’t think she’s genetically blessed. She’s not that tall. But this challenge was made for [her] because it was a beauty challenge.” In the end Host Cindy and Yu Tsai concluded that the photos were “beautiful”.
When asked to comment on her best photo, Maureen admitted, “I like it but I know it was a hard time getting there.” An exasperated Yu Tsai told her “You didn’t communicate with me, you frustrated me, you pushed me to the point of anger and you were so lost.” Fellow Judge and Host Cindy agreed saying, “What I’m feeling from this is that you were very uncomfortable and completely lost. Week after week I’m also hearing that you’re hard to work with.” “There’s no time to be shy.” Maureen concedes that she is still uncomfortable and that her inexperience is getting the better of her.
Modest Maureen surprises judges when she doesn’t like herself in the group shot photo. Yu Tsai disagrees, “You not loving this picture is the weirdest thing for me, because as the photographer, I love this picture of you. So maybe the problem is that you don’t know what is fashion and what looks good for you.” Judge Cindy continues, “You’ve been getting by on your pretty face. I don’t see pretty here and I love it!”
Maureen started to come in to her own. “Usually when I work with you you’re like a deer in headlights and as soon as you get in front of the camera you freeze. BUT this week you really turned in to a model from a little girl and I am so impressed. I love this photo” Cara gushed. “Spot on, amazing shot. You look flawless” added Cindy. More importantly, client Nigel Stanislaus of Maybelline was also impressed: “I come from a land where I have to sell cosmetics and you can sell me cosmetics.” Thumbs up all round. Maureen takes home her first Best Photo.
Maureen’s bathtub photoshoot impressed the panel including Guest Judge Maddy Ross: “I love this photo, the hair, the face, the body is perfectly in sync for me.” Yu Tsai agreed, adding “I thought that you knew what you were doing in the water. I didn’t have to give you a lot of instructions. I think you’re no longer just a pretty face, you’re actually transformable and that’s so important to me as a photographer.” Host Cindy felt there was still room for improvement however, commenting “The only critique I would have for you beyond this photo, is to trust your instinct and the magic will happen. Become the top model that we already know that you can be.”
Maureen stumbles a little with her group video shoot for Zalora. Yu Tsai explained, “In a fashion film what we want to do is sell clothes. You sold you very well. You were beautiful, I would love to get to know you, but I didn’t understand the clothes that you were wearing. You didn’t wear the clothes, you let the clothes wear you.” A fashion cardinal sin.
“Oo-la-la Maureen!” In the raunchy late night photoshoot, Maureen showed us her grown-up side, silencing her critics. No more what-ifs and maybes. “I was so impressed with you. Your face became laser-focused. At one point I didn’t say anything. I shut up! You have what it takes to become an amazing, amazing model” enthused Yu Tsai. Host Cindy explained “So there’s two kinds of ‘shut up’ for Yu Tsai. The first one, you don’t want him to shut up because that’s when he’s given up on you. The second kind of ‘shut up’ is when he’s just clicking away and that means you’re delivering.” Click-click-click-BOOM. Maureen is awarded Best Photo of the week.
Failing to hit the mark, Maureen’s photo divided the judges. Cindy remarked, “I wish I could cut it in half because the top part, yes, you’re giving me regal and powerful, but from your waist down, it just seems so heavy to me.” Creative consultant Daniel Boey also found fault in Maureen’s performance, saying that her beauty saved her when she was struggling with her outfit: “I expected a lot more from you.” Yet again, Yu Tsai stood by Maureen, saying “I think you look like Joan of Arc”, “there’s nothing wrong with having a beautiful face.” Now competing in the Top 5, she can no longer fall back on her lack of experience.
She’s back – all hail the Ice Queen! “You were so hot I thought you were going to melt the ice.” cried Yu Tsai, “What you need to figure out is how you got there and get there faster.” All the judges were equally impressed including Host Cindy: “So Maureen, you’re one of the smaller girls in the competition, but in this photo you look 6ft tall. You almost look a little evil and I kind of like it.”
Maureen’s performance is in danger of faltering because of her brave choice of props. Creative Consultant Daniel Boey remarked “I must say, my heart skipped a beat when you picked one of the most difficult props to handle on set: they were your misbehaving balloons. You can’t let your props overwhelm you.” Yu Tsai begged to differ: “I understand why you picked the balloons and I’m glad you did it. I’m glad you picked the hardest thing […] I applaud you for that.”
In the most important photoshoot of the contest, Maureen does the Philippines proud. “That image is exactly what I wanted to see from you at the end of the competition. You delivered that quiet confidence that shows you’ve been soaking up everything we’ve been telling you” said proud Host Cindy. Pia Wurtzbach offered “There’s a certain sensuality to it but it’s not offensive.” Proving that she was worthy of the front cover of a magazine, Maureen’s performance was recounted by Yu Tsai: “You were giving me ‘Chanel with Karl Lagerfeld’, you were giving me ‘Madonna from Material Girl’, you were giving me ‘Runaway Bride’. I love all those stories you created.” “I wanted fantasy and this picture gave me fantasy.” And that boys and girls, is how Maureen’s wildest dreams come true.