Friday, June 22, 2007

Bloom Where You Are

Maxine Whitney at the Cherry Blossom Esplanade, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Seasons come. Seasons go. There is only one prerequisite to being a model - and that is to be beautiful.

Seasoned models are models who do the whole circuit, meaning Milan, Paris, London, New York - twice a year. Spring-Summer and then Fall-Winter (the latter being the stronger season of the two). And the models who are really honed and who have their thumbs on the pulse of fashion are those that do both ready to wear collections and couture collections - the ones that do the circuit 4 times a year. These models who do both series of collections absorb the fast pace of fashion change and whether they know it or not, embody which way fashion is turning. You will see it in the way they dress – the coats they wear (current shapes), the colors they wear (current moods), their skirt lengths (the latest styles), the shoes they wear, etc. They are called ‘clothes hangers’, which they are indeed, and seasoned models’ clothing are a good benchmark for what is in fashion.

The work of a model is both simple and difficult at the same time because the key to being a successful one is the discipline involved in being a professional. I say it is simple because once you have all the discipline (the difficult part) down…it really comes down to one single element…beauty.

Is beauty easy to come by? Yes, if we are talking about superficial beauty. A person with great genes will always be a presence people would want to look at. But beauty that glows, beauty that strikes us and touches something inside us and makes us want to see more, does not come often. Like women who are in love, women who are pregnant, brides, etc.. These are particular moments in a woman’s life where all the hormones conspire to make the bearer distinguishable from the rest; eyes shine brightly, skin is just flawless, hair is healthy and luminescent, lips are full, cheeks are naturally rosy. To look like that blooming rose every season is a challenge for models.

Most models take their vacation immediately AFTER the collections. I have a different take on that. I took my holidays just BEFORE the collections. Why, because I had to make sure that I had that wholesome, ‘rested look’, that my skin is glimmering from a new tan, that I am reborn and refreshed from my recent holiday. That even if there is chaos around me when the fashion shows start, I am relaxed and in a better frame of mind. While everyone is harried, tense and ready to explode, I, on the contrary, am the epitome of calm. I am self-assured, secure, and irreproachable. You have to have that kind of strength so you are not easily swayed or 'got off your game' by intrigues, by fashion people treating you badly and most of all, to exude and maintain your confidence. Because as you all know, the moment you get angry, your face muscles tense up and you get ugly. It is just a nuance, but all photographers will tell you that it is significant. They know when a model is tense or not happy because the face is not relaxed. Everything registers on the face, unless you are a poker player, and even then, there are telltale signs.

It was very important for me to go away and feel good before the collections. First of all, one needs all that grooming – the spas, the exfoliation of dead cells, the treatment of one’s hair. Then there is the quiet time to regroup and feel ‘tight’ with oneself. To feel that one is in control of one’s destiny - of making goals and of having the determination to stay with those goals.

And the most important reason for me to travel before the collections, is the opportunity to be inspired. I will always treasure this gift of travel; to see something new that will give you the impetus to create. I always love traveling to new places and to discover,feel and breathe the beauty from everywhere.

My holidays, dictated my moods for the season. For instance, I loved going to Bali, because I am able to understand what a princess is suppose to be (as in Balinese princess). Fantasy, yes… but necessary for the ego-driven world of fashion that I chose to belong to and aspire to excel within.
Sometimes, when I am in Mexico, the romance from the boleros of the mariachi bands make me feel romantic. There are visual, auditory clues for me when I travel that I pick up and use when I am modeling.

To have an encyclopedia of those ‘feel good’ emotions is a good tool for a model, so you can project them whenever you are on the runway or on a photo set. Designers will give you a gamut of various clothing styles and provide you with music to walk by to determine moods they want you to project. You can tap into your most recent inspirations from your travels and use them to portray what is asked of you, much like actresses.

Coming out of a Giorgio Sant’Angelo show, whose designs were all body hugging coordinates, Peter Beard, the famous photographer once said to me, “Enjoy the peak of your beauty.” I know it was a very kind compliment but I was a little disturbed because the statement infered that there is an end. I would like to think that a woman's beauty is a cycle with peaks and valleys. Around the same time, I met Anne Lyon, who is a good friend of Peter Beard and having a ‘girls talk’ one day, I could never forget what she shared with me, something her grandmother.taught her.
“Anna, bloom where you are.”

Wherever you are, at whatever station of life you are in, bloom right there and then. Now, I think of the different seasons, and blossoms opening up to grace the world with their beauty. It is not limited to age, not limited to time, not limited to what you do or are. It is just, as women, we can slowly open up anytime and show our beauty.

Much has been said about me these days after the Tatler cover and cover story and my 4 page spread in an Asian magazine, Metro; many commending me and I am sure, some detractors, as well. I think it is normal not to be liked by everyone. What is important is that whatever stage we are in as a woman, we open up and bloom where we are. It is not for us to wilt when we are not watered, or loose our petals and dry up. It is not for us to expose ourselves in scorching sunlight to be burned, nor be in a small pot where we cannot grow our roots. We must find that which gives us water and sustenance whether it be motherhood, a passion, an exciting endeavor, a business enterprise. We must find a healthy balance with all those good nutritious elements and ….we must bloom where we are.

With that note: I am going on a 2 month tour of Asia and will be posting from wherever I am.
The summer of 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are in full bloom!...just reading through this blog i am giddy....i am feeling your aura...your optimism and the way you have embraced what is said about you ( good and bad..taking in detractors and all).
this is well written, well said...and i am revived in the belief of the "Anna Bayle experience"...for the first time i have publicly gave out my age honestly while i was shopping yesterday..(i was shopping for Hermes leather goods..i told the store rep..their products is a tad too conservative)..and a costumer overheard me say my age...and he sat down in disbelief.."you can not be 37!"...and i just came out of my 12 hour shift from the hospital ...and i repeated it to him..and left the store with nothing but an elevated self confidence...that was a moment of bloom...
thank God for real beauties like you.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so pretty. Is your lipstick collection still available ?

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...such insight on being comfortable in one's imperfection, but alas! we are not blessed with your statuesque physique and natural grace or "fluidity"..but then again it is refreshing to hear from an icon like you that even you have to sing a "feel good/feel fabulous" silent song in your heart and mind to bring out the best out of you at anytime...its a wonderful reminder that indeed its that is. I am at this age where i embrace my imperfections..I have worked hard to modify sans the knife what i can and for that effort i acknowledge my sense of me
with full credit. I may not like like a brazilian bombshell but i also do not want to be known as one...a "Brazilian bombshell" only and like all bombs..they go pooof.
thank you for this brazen declaration about blooming at anytime, you make this argument less of an issue.
Viva Anna!

Petra Gumamela y Kalachuchi

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear anna,
i like this blog and its nice to hear from somebody in your league.
Another Filipina who basically has the same ageless elegance aside from you is Isabel Preysler... the mother of Enrique Iglesias, where she is always in "full bloom" especially at her age...she is the face of Suarez..a Spanish high end fine jewelry line..she carries exactly your idea of how to be beautiful.
I saw kimora lee simmons at the heatherette fashion show...she is at times mentioned in articles when they talk about exotic models of the past..puhleeze..she is truly a has been and trying hard to recapture her prime..she totally lost it..she was gorgeous at the time when she has the halo of innocence and naivete..she became this fame hungry, "am-over the-top" caricature who has no pride, shame and grace and she over "BLINGS" to hide it..such thrash...walking to close a thrashy show.
I just hope that you will walk again out of respect for the Grand Masters and not so-so shows, otherwise you will loose your legions of fan who looks up to your standard...(sorry that sounds like a "threat" but we know its not like you..but the thought is chillingly
as alweays, we love you and do keep blogging.
P. de Rotschild

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..dear Anna,
am imagining you closing a bridal show for Monique Lhuillier...your presence and her work will make the Filipinos proud, after all her works always projects subtle classic elegance with the least fuss and theatrics...that very much speaks about your character and with your unique way of showcasing a creation...that will be fashions rare triumph and rude awakening from years of mediocrity.
..after years of "the bombshell" look or the flatness of Euroblondes...its tiring and so uninspiring to have been repeatedly offered the same ideas and visual presentations.
You and Monique will be a new kind of force to reckon will elevate her further and interpret her works and we fashionistas will be inspired again.
Chabelli Iglesias

9:13 PM  
Blogger Rafe Totengco said...

Hi Anna,
I didn't realize you had a blog until recently. I love reading all the stories. I remember being in awe of you when I first met you with my flatmate Tony Marino before I moved to NY. Now, after all these years, I'm still in awe of you. You're an inspiration to us all!

2:49 PM  
Blogger WendyB said...

I so agree with you re your thoughts the "peak of one's beauty." And UGH re that kind of comment. Recently someone said to me (in a perfectly nice tone of voice): "What will you do when you're not so cute anymore?" I said I'd be a crazy old lady wearing lipstick on my cheeks and not caring at all what the likes of him think of me.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..thank you for this nicely written blog...

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Anna,
..i saw you walk in a fashion show in the 80's and you are truly spectacular and nothing less than extraordinary...these days i am occasionally at the front row for major shows and I look for catwalkers who embodies your walk and still at times in my imagination walk down those runways if I am utterly bored with the parade of generic blondes and so called "new exotics"...only a Kawakubo show do they need generic bodies but the rest of the show needs an ANNA BAYLE-walker.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...every once in awhile i watch your YOUTUBE annabaylewalk its just magnificent how fierce and clean you get showcase the clothes and yourself...very refined, dignified just flawless...can you please put out more of your catwalk highlights...its a visual material for those aspiring to be catwalk models...IF they can be half as good as you...that will be your are a MASTER...
yes, we love you.

12:21 PM  
Blogger iDoll said...

Dear Anna,

I really have to commend you on your blog - it makes for excellent reading indeed! Your words, your determination, your experience, the wisdom that is portrayed here, and last but definitely not least, your gorgeousness has inspired me to keep taking care of myself, an important part of having good-self esteem, no? For that is what I see in you - not just a beautiful lady, but someone with good-self esteem. No matter if you are a model, or a normal person, is that not important to nurture?

Thank you, and please keep posting! I hope that wherever you are on your tour, you are doing well.


6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Anna

I have read your blog on several occasions , and consider it to be highly insightful ! Your posts are thought provoking, and your insights are applicable to any profession or personal endeavor .

I used to travel to Bali regularly until the bombing . My favorite place there is Tenganan. Every time I went to Bali , I felt renewed . Through traveling I experience a rebirth of sorts , a renewal of the spirit .

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello anna,

thanks for your inspired thoughts...

10:45 AM  
Blogger LuxuryHappy said...

Dear Anna,

I'm A Filipino in Spain and running a new style blog called Marbella Style.
Just want to tell you that you inspire Filipina women and I wish you all the best.

Miss J.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Susana Rodrigues said...

You have an amazing blog!

11:10 AM  
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