Akiko Abad is an internet star who slays in the real world

Photos by Aya Cabauatan

Most likely you’ve already stumbled upon a photo of Akiko Abad somewhere. It could’ve been a post from clothing brand Neon Island or an online collaboration with one of the budding local photographers you follow. Probably in a poster in SM Department Store and H&M too, while you were doing your Christmas shopping. This 19-year-old model may be petite and new in the industry but she knows what she wants and works hard to get it. After all, she has determination and mastery of the art of social media. What else will she need? But what sets Akiko apart is that she doesn’t get stuck in the comfort of the web. Instagrammers may come and go but the real stars are those who play out in the real world.

For the last issue of the year, Young STAR caught up with Akiko Abad as she gives us a rundown of her biggest year so far, how it all happened and where she is headed next.

YOUNG STAR: Have you always wanted to be in fashion?

AKIKO ABAD: I used to blog in high school but I was nene (back then) so it wasn’t professional at all. I got to go to fashion shows and write about it. That didn’t really take off but I’ve been a fashion enthusiast ever since.

Which project started it all for you?
My first legit shoot was a fashion and beauty editorial for Chalk magazine. Ms. Kate Paras just saw me on Instagram. She commented “Are you open to modeling for a magazine?” on my photo and the first thing I thought was, is this real? So I checked her account and I saw that she was the fashion editor pala. (Laughs) So I took the shoot but I was super nervous because I didn’t know how to pose. I’d modeled when I was a little girl for the Barbie brand. But after some time I stopped because I focused on my studies and I also felt like I had turned ugly. I guess it was the awkward puberty stage. (Laughs)


What kind of shoots do you personally enjoy?
I was shot for Shopcarisse’s new collection by Ralph Mendoza. It was in a really nice mansion in Antipolo. It was super chill and the concept was really nice. I think dun ako natuto magpose because I needed to save each shot since he was using film. For every shot I made sure it was nice with the light and that the angle (was okay). (When I get to work) with really creative people, natututo ako.


Would you say that the Metro x HM Balmain Campaign was your biggest project this year?
Yes! I didn’t really expect it. BJ Pascual just randomly messaged me on Facebook. He asked what was I going to do that day. I told him I had class later that afternoon but he still asked if I wanted to be a part of the Metro x HM Balmain campaign. He said he was shooting it as we were talking so I told him that I could pass by since it was a whole-day shoot and I had one layout only. I went straight to Makati not really knowing what it was all about. Then I saw Kelsey, Monica Sta. Maria and Janine and wondered why I was there. (Laughs) Nakakakilig whenever someone can see something in me.

How much did Instagram help you?
They all just discovered me on Instagram, that’s why I super love it. I remember joining the SM Youth model contest. I just had to post a photo of myself so I went around our village wearing my brother’s SM Youth shirt and took some photos. The next thing I know I was receiving a call from LA Aguinaldo saying that we were going to be partners for the SM Youth campaign. (Laughs) Instagram is really a nice platform if you’re using it right._d3s7814-edit


What’s next for you in 2016?
I’m looking forward to it already because I’m planning to make a blog. It’s gonna be about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. I’ll put tips so I can help others who want to model as well. I also hope I could work with more creatives and have more collaborations. I wish I could do more high fashion shoots too, even though I’m short. I want to show them that I can do it.

What’s on your Christmas playlist?
Winter Things – Ariana Grande
Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Jessica Simpson
Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
Produced by: Tin Satorio and Maine Manalansan
Styled by: Tin Sartorio

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