If you just did a double-take, we can’t blame you. You’re not the first person to think “Kendall Jenner!!!” upon seeing Filipina-Australian model Michelle Bagarra.
The 23-year-old, five-foot-10 model has been jetting from continent to continent for work, but she calls sunny Gold Coast in Australia home. There, she was born to an Australian father and a Filipina mother who hails from Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
“They’re all stunning and talented women so I find it to be such a nice compliment,” Michelle says. “But at the same time, I would also like to be known as just Michelle Bagarra and not the model that looks like Kendall Jenner.”
We got to chat with Michelle and learn more about her beyond the Kenny-like dark hair and doe eyes. Read on to get to know the half-Pinay stunner!
What she was doing before she started modeling:
I graduated high school in Australia; straight after high school, I went on a gap year around Europe and the Philippines. It was one of the best things I have done for myself so far. It made me a lot more mature, confident, and I also met amazing friends along the way!
Once I returned home, I went on to do a Diploma of Travel and Tourism at TAFE (Technical and Further Education). During the end of my diploma, that’s when I got into modeling.
I do have plans to go to university next year to study Bachelor of Business, majoring in property and real estate development.
How she got into modeling:
I’ve always wanted to be a model throughout school, but I didn’t have enough confidence.
It was after I returned home from my gap year that I signed with my mother agency, QUE Models. I was scouted by QUE Models after my friend tagged them in one of my pictures on Instagram. After a few months, I was already doing it full-time!
Her first modeling gig:
I was 19 when I had my first job; it was for a small local clothing brand. The client was so lovely and understanding of the fact that It was my first photoshoot. I was quite nervous and not sure how to pose, but after the first hour, I started to feel more confident and started to move more freely!
Notable modeling jobs she’s done:
I’ve gone on to do campaigns for brands and titles such as Becca Cosmetics, Forever New, Bonds, David’s Bridal, Sneeze Mag—and there’s more to come!
I’ve traveled to New Zealand, Bali, the UK, India, Dubai, and the USA for work. My most unforgettable experience as a model is when I went to India on my first overseas contract. It’s such a beautiful country and it was great to experience such a different culture.
A model she looks up to:
Miranda Kerr, because of how she runs a successful skin care company, Kora Organics, and promotes healthy living.
Her dream modeling jobs:
My dream brand to work with would have to be any of the high-end fashion brands, or Vogue. The reason is because they produce such high-quality, beautiful, and artistic work that hopefully I’ll get to be a part of one day!
What she loves about the Philippines:
Usually, I go to the Philippines once a year. I love the Philippines, especially the beautiful islands. Siargao would have to be my most favorite. I love the chilled atmosphere; the food is delicious; and there are so many different activities and tours!
The best thing about the Philippines is the people. They’re always so accommodating, friendly, and always have a smile on their faces.
Follow Michelle Bagarra on Instagram.