Whether she’s striking a pose in front of a camera or lightening up a crowd at a hosting gig, ERIKA KRISTENSEN brings with her a sophisticated swag wherever she goes. Her skin is luminous, her eyes are gleaming, and she can easily serve face on command. You might wonder how long she’s been carrying this level of certitude and sense of style when in fact, she’d been killing it since she was in diapers–quite literally. “I’ve been modeling since I was a baby, like five years old! My first modeling gig was a commercial for the diaper brand EQ,” she gleefully recalls. However, her momentum was briefly put to a halt when she had transfer to a high school where students weren’t allowed to appear in any media—but when you got it, you got it. Once Erika entered college, she immediately went back to pursuing her passion, and it wasn’t an easy comeback. “It took me three years before I got my first project. I was really losing hope na talaga during that time ‘cause I thought I wasn’t really meant for this anymore, like maybe God put a time’s up on me na,” she relays. “And then I finally got my first commercial, then SM Youth eventually. All the doors just opened since then, so I’m super grateful.”
In addition to becoming an SM Youth Ambassador, her killa #OOTDs have catapulted her to that infamous “Influencer” status—but surely, her style extends beyond the dimensions of her clothing. “A lot of people don’t really see how much of a privilege it is to be an influencer because you have the opportunity to influence and inspire so many people, and not a lot of influencers live up to that stature. They don’t talk about the real stuff,” she relates. “It shouldn’t always about money, ‘cause it’s not about what you put up front on social media to show all these followers. Being an influencer should be, in my opinion, about using your power and actually influencing your followers to change something about the world, to be a positive change.”
Erika Kristensen is relaxed and refreshingly real, despite her minted Influencer status. As she strives to make a difference through her platform, which she tells us is to promote animal welfare, she nestles in for a lighthearted chat about her fashion icons, current music obsessions, and beauty must-haves.
We’re totally living for your killer looks. How exactly did you fall in love with fashion?
Fashion has always been so innate, but I really appreciated it more when I won SM Youth because my mentors were very encouraging in experimentation. Mostly, that’s where I learned my knowledge and appreciation for fashion.
Local or international, who would you say is your favorite fashion icon?
Right now, there’s this girl on Instagram—actually, she’s not a real person [laughs]. Her name is Miquela [@lilmiquela]. I always follow her style. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the clothes that I have in my closet and I don’t know what to wear on that day, I always go to her feed to feel inspired by her style. It’s so funny because she’s not even a real person, she’s just the imagination of the creator. It’s just so cool how the creator is able to think of the clothes that she wears.
Apart from your personal style, you’ve had some experience as a stylist as well. If you were to style anyone in this planet, who would it be and why?
Probably Justin Bieber, only because lately his choice of clothing has been super questionable, or Tyler the Creator because I love his sense of style and he’s very open to anything, so I think it would be really fun to style him. It would be either of those two for contrasting reasons.
We truly believe that modeling goes beyond poses and serving face. Why do you think modeling is considered as an art form?
The misconception about modeling is like what you mentioned, you just pose in front of the camera and try to look your best. But it’s really something more than that. You can’t just keep on posing and posing. You really have to study the angles that suit you best and the poses that won’t make you look awkward. Those are the things that you really have to study. And you have to work with the photographer, obviously. The photographer can’t always adjust to you. You have to harmonize with each other. There’s a lot of technical stuff that goes on in modeling also that people don’t see or overlook.
You’re also a radio jock for FM1. Can you share with us your some of your current obsessions in music?
I’m currently listening to a lot of rap, so I super admire J. Cole and Mac Miller, Rest In Peace. [Mac Miller’s] music helped me a lot in high school. He knows how to play the piano, guitar, bass, violin and he produces his own melodies. He also writes his own lyrics. Same with J. Cole. Another one I super admire, although is super mainstream, is Beyoncé. She’s very hands-on with the production of her album, even her concerts, from the design to the dancers and choreographers. She also sometimes choreographs her dances. I admire artists like those who really do the grit and grind.
For someone who’s always on-the-go, what are some beauty products that you’re always carrying inside your bag?
I always make it a point to put pressed powder in my bag because my T-zone gets oily, especially because I usually walk, I love walking around Makati or BGC. Also, a good lipstick. I really can’t survive without lipstick. Even when I’m barefaced, I can survive without putting on concealer and foundation, just as long as I have lipstick on because it’s the thing that makes you look alive and fresh. So lipstick is very important, pressed powder, and just a small concealer, just to cover my pimples or dark spots.
From modeling to hosting events, what would you say is your go-to look when it comes to makeup?
I would say the glowy makeup look. I love it because it looks so natural and you look so young with that kind of makeup. It’s also the “in” thing right now, so I’ve been trying to practice the glowy makeup—it’s really more of illuminators and highlighters, shiny eyeshadows and lip glosses. That’s my go-to makeup for events, modeling, and hosting.
When it comes to skincare, I’ve always believed that you have to be mindful of the things that you intake because it eventually shows on the outside.
With all these jobs on your plate, how do you manage to stay fresh? Can you share with us some of your skincare tips?
When it comes to skincare, I’ve always believed that you have to be mindful of the things that you intake because it eventually shows on the outside. I’m not very picky with my skincare. My skincare is very basic—the regular makeup cleanser, foaming [cleanser], and then just moisturizer lang after. That’s just three steps, but what I’m really picky with is the stuff that I take in. I always try to make it a point to drink at least 1-2 liters of water every day. If you can exercise, that’s even better because it really makes your skin glow. I just try to mindful of what I eat, water is very important, and getting enough sleep as well.
When would you say do feel the most beautiful?
When I’m at my happiest, definitely. When you’re genuinely happy, your smile is different. Your mood is lighter and your face glows for some reason. It’s not something that you can even define. It’s not even in an aesthetic way, you know? During random moments, when I laugh, when someone tells a really good corny joke, when I’m spending time with my loved ones, when I’m spending time with my friends, when I’m having a good time. Those are just the random moments when I feel most beautiful.
Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Makeup by Zidjian Floro
Hair by Darwin Sablayan
Styled by Matt Panes
Earrings from @krierofficial