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Model McKenzie Kinsella Proves She's More Than A Pretty Face

By Janine Abejay
• Updated
Model McKenzie Kinsella Proves She's More Than A Pretty Face
She's not just your average American Beauty.

MCKENZIE KINSELLA could be one of Manila’s most beautiful faces, but her drive and passion for her pursuits are what pushes her a step higher than the rest. There’s no stopping this 20-year-old model from reaching her aspirations; whether in fashion or in the academe. A muse of choice by top creatives such as Shaira Luna and Doc Marlon Pecjo, there’s no doubt that this American charmer is the one model to watch.



Starting her modeling career at the age of 16, McKenzie can turn any creative’s vision into a reality. With a face and allure that’s made for billboards and pages of a magazine, it’s no question why her look captivates many in the fashionsphere. But while she admits that social media platforms make it easier for beautiful faces to surface, she believes the edge that makes her stand out is her character. “At this day and age where it’s so easy to be discovered, you have to be more than just a pretty face,” she cites.

Her entry to the modeling industry wasn’t a mere instance. She mentions, “One of my friends just asked to take a few pictures of me, and they turned out great. From there, a modeling agency discovered me and I started doing small jobs. My time now with IM Agency is when I started taking modeling seriously.” This serendipitous turn sparked a newfound passion in her to develop her craft. While she doesn’t see runway modeling as her biggest strength, her captivating features never fail to attract commercial opportunities across the globe—including high fashion cities like Tokyo. 

We had a chat with the blonde beauty about the best trick she learned from a makeup artist, the modeling milestones she wants to achieve and the one thing she’s eager to pursue outside her career.

At this day and age where it’s so easy to be discovered, you have to be more than just a pretty face,” she cites.

What’s it really like to be part of a modeling agency?
I really love IM. It’s like a family. Everyone is supportive of each other. I've seen other agencies where there’s a lot of competition between models. But with IM, we’re all so proud whenever one of us achieves something. They not only focus on building models but also on building people. They support whatever you’re interested in. For example, I’m into economics, and they support me with school. Other models who are into fashion also get full support. 

Which part of modeling do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy working with creatives, and I just love being part of someone else’s artistic expression. It’s also my own artistic expression—when you get a really cool shoot concept, you get to interpret the makeup artist’s creation, the stylist’s overall look, and the photographer’s vision. Now, it’s your turn to interpret everything that everyone has put together and put your own spin on it. It’s collaborative work.

Who do you look up to in the fashion industry?
Some of the creatives I look up to in the industry are Shaira Luna, Doc Marlon Pecjo, Gee Plamenco, Paolo Pineda, and Kevin Brent. I also look up to my fellow models. For international, I love Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, and Cara Delevingne.

What makes you stand out?
I don’t know but a lot of designers and photographers say that it’s a lot more than just your look; it’s also your personality and the energy you bring on set. Some of my favorite photographers have said that “a pretty girl's a dime a dozen.”

I enjoy working with creatives, and I just love being part of someone else’s artistic expression.

In a time where everything is accessible, Instagram is easily becoming the platform for models to get discovered. What do you think this has meant for the modeling industry?
It’s easy to be discovered which is awesome! I also love the push for a more diverse range of models and for body positivity. There’s a lot of progress that has been made in terms of inclusivity.

Where do you think is Philippine fashion headed?
I’m so excited! I’m so happy that I’m a part of it. There are so many great designers here, especially the young ones who are really putting a name out there for the Philippines in the global fashion scene.

What’s a milestone you want to achieve as a model?
I’m looking at traveling. I want to try my luck in Japan or Korea. I’m not a runway model, but I’d love to be in some big magazine. I also want to do more editorials and work with great local designers in the country. I want to be based here in the Philippines because I love where the fashion industry is going.

Any tips for girls who are starting out as a model?
I would say to focus on building your book and don’t rush trying to get into an agency. Find start-up photographers who also want to collaborate and diversify your skills first before you push to get into an agency. Also, find mentors who will show you the ropes of the industry. They don’t even have to be other models. They can be photographers, stylists, or anyone who are creatives in fashion who can help push you.



As a young model at the top of her modeling career, you pinpoint education as one of your main priorities. What gravitated you towards taking up Economics? 
It’s because I want to do economic development. The Philippines is such a great hotspot for development in terms of untapped potential, so I really want to be part of its future in terms of its development in a sustainable and efficient way.

How important is it for you to finish your studies?
Studying opens a lot of opportunities, and I also really like school. I love my major and being around other academics.

I just love simple outfits that are super understated but quality pieces.

What are the three things you can’t leave your house without?
My phone, eyelash curler, and Chapstick.

What’s one skincare rule that you always follow?
Always remove your makeup. In the beginning, I would just like superficially remove it, but I really take time properly remove it, getting really deep in the crevices. Then I moisturize after because my skin gets dry after I remove my makeup.

What’s a favorite makeup trick you’ve learned from a makeup artist?
Mix your foundation with a bit of moisturizer so your base won’t feel too cakey or heavy for the day.

Describe your style. What are your fashion staples?
I love platform shoes because I am a little short, so I like to increase my height with some Superga platforms. And I just love simple outfits that are super understated but quality pieces.

Who’s your fashion icon?
Kate Moss!

What’s your workout routine like?
I do a lot of cardio because I used to be a runner in high school doing cross-country and track. That and ab workouts. I also try to eat healthy and drink lots of water.



What’s something you’re very passionate about?
I’m really passionate about economics and development. I want to work on developing better education. There’s this one NGO called Ate Academy that I used to work really closely with back in high school, and I’d love to get back into it. It’s another goal of mine, to be focused more on my advocacies. 

What’s your dream project?
I didn’t really set out to be in modeling. So far, I like where my journey has taken me. I don’t have a specific goal in mind. I’m just seeing where things take me and when opportunities come.

Is there anything else you want to achieve apart from your modeling career this year?
I want to focus more on taking care of my physical health and well-being by not letting myself get taken over by so much workload. I’d like to take time to work on myself.

I didn’t really set out to be in modeling. So far, I like where my journey has taken me. I don’t have a specific goal in mind. I’m just seeing where things take me and when opportunities come.

 

Photographed by Miguel Alomajan

Styled by Patrick Pleno

Makeup by Chuchie Ledesma

Hair by Mong Amado

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