Hollywood blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians opened with a quote from French military general Napoleon Bonaparte: “Let China sleep, for when she wakes up, she will shake the world.” Indeed, the world has increasingly changed its attitude and views on Asians as more and more representations from the region have gone mainstream in the arts, culture, fashion, and entertainment.

Thanks to media pioneers Anna May Wong, Bruce Lee, Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Akira Kurosawa, and Wong Kar-wai, among others, the rise of the Asian media personality continues to reach new heights today.

In the fashion scene, supermodels Liu Wen (first-ever Asian face of Estee Lauder) and Fei Fei Sun (first Asian to grace the cover of Vogue Italia) are top of mind when it comes to runway shows, magazine covers, and campaign shoots.

In the efforts of taking the Asian model further into the international arena, Global Asian Model International 2019 staged its maiden competition with 38 candidates from 20 countries, including South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Held last month at Cove Manila, the modeling search featured aspiring models with Asian roots. The month-long competition also put the models’ skills to the test via makeup challenges, TV commercial shoot modules, and other tasks.

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In the end, Thai bets Falcon Sornnarin and Artittaya Promcharit took home the top titles as Global Asian Model male and female winners, respectively.

In this exclusive, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with Falcon and Artittaya to learn more about their reign as Global Asian Model International 2019.

What is it like winning Global Asian Model International 2019?

Falcon: It is such an honor to be awarded this year’s title. I’m really happy to have been given an opportunity to participate in the contest. I am grateful to those who have been supporting me from the start.

Winning is definitely a step toward realizing my dream of becoming a global model. Also, I wish I could share the title with everyone on stage during the finals night because everyone was amazing.

Artittaya: I think my confidence in myself has increased tremendously. I am fully committed to doing everything for my career because I have dedicated this to my family and all Thai people. I hope that everyone is as happy as I am about my win.

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What are your plans now that you’ve won?

Falcon: I’m going to promote Asian models on the global stage. I hope that I can help raise awareness of how Asian models are becoming increasingly important in the fashion industry, given that the world is more interconnected now. Asian representation in business is also growing faster than ever before. I want to inspire young people to be healthier by taking good care of their bodies, so that they will be able to compete better, with the right skills, in the global arena.

Artittaya: This achievement is a reward for my parents’ hard work in raising me. I will devote myself to fully working as the Global Asian Model in tribute to them.

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How do you feel about the emerging demand for models of Asian descent worldwide?

Falcon: I do believe that the demand for Asian models is growing each year, with Asia becoming more and more influential in terms of economics, fashion, and luxury.

Artittaya: I can only hope that this time, there will be a phenomenal rise of Asian models.

What are your thoughts on promoting Asian models in international shows?

Falcon: I think that Asian models are very talented and capable. They just don’t pose but they perform by showing talents that match the skill set that their employers are looking for. I believe that Asian models are very versatile.

Artittaya: I think that promoting Asian models is a way of showing gratitude for the blessings received through this contest. It was an exciting experience, and I will do my best to uphold my responsibilities as a titleholder.

Photographed by Myk Yco. Styled by Keith Manila. Hair and makeup by Dave Grona and Raymond Galang.

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