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Two Pinay contestants determined to win it all on ‘Asia’s Next Top Model 2’

Kat Rodriguez and Jody Pendre.

In 2012, 24-year-old Laguna native Stephanie Retuya made it all the way to the finale of the first season (dubbed as cycle 1) of the reality competition “Asia’s Next Top Model” held in Singapore.

This season, two Filipina aspirants are determined to exceed Stephanie’s feat and win it all in the ongoing competition held in Malaysia.

Filipino-American Katarina “Kat” Rodriguez and Mandaluyong resident Jodilly “Jody” Pendre already survived the show’s first episode, “Who Walks The Walk”, which saw not just one but two out of the 16 selected contestants eliminated right off the bat.

Jody was, in fact, particularly impressive in the water catwalk challenge as she found herself landing in the top 5 of the judges’ scorecards. The 20-year-old morena considers herself as a fiercely competitive individual who wants to excel in everything she does.

A former member of the Philippine volleyball team, she declined a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play in the Southeast Asian Games in order to graduate as a salutatorian in high school.

In college, she again declined an athletic scholarship but instead opted for the tougher to maintain academic scholarship.

“Pag athletic scholar kasi, madalas pinagtatagal pa sa school ng 5 to 6 years. Hindi ko naman pinangarap na maging athlete forever. Gusto kong maka-graduate on time para matulungan ko naman ang family ko,” Jody confessed to InterAksyon during a pocket conference held for her and Katarina.

Revealing that her father is a jeepney driver while her mother is a housewife, Jody believes that modeling provides her a path to a better life — but not at the expense of her studies.

“Third year college na ako nung sumali si Stephanie (Retuya) sa Asia’s Next Top Model. Magkaibigan kami at pinapasali na rin niya ako. Pero gusto kong matapos muna ng pag-aaral. So sumali lang ako pagka-graduate ko,” she further narrated.

Describing herself as a “simple girl who is always up for life’s challenges”, Jody hopes to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel as she is very focused on winning the competition.

“Buo ang loob ko sa pagsali ko dito at never akong na-intimidate ng ibang contestants. After ‘Asia’s Next Top Model 2’, I plan to go global and be great at what I do. I want to prove to the world that I can stand out in any country,” she declared.

Her fellow Filipina contestant echoes this sentiment. Only 21, Kat is out to prove that models, too, can embody beauty, brains, and brawn as she currently majors in both philosophy and business management.

Like Jody, the mestiza stunner born and raised in Orlando, Florida also has an athletic background and is, in fact, a member of the De La Salle University’s track and field team where she has participated and have done well in several “runathons”, as she calls them.

The godchild of Filipina supermodel and style icon Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, Kat considers herself “huge risk-taker and extremely adventurous”. Still, she admits that there was some reservation on her part to join “Asia’s Next Top Model 2”.

“At first I didn’t want to join but then when I reached 21, I realized I wanted to make something of myself,” she admitted.

She was actually surprised to have made it among the 16 finalists, especially after learning that most of those accepted had modeling backgrounds and, in her words, “know what they’re doing”.

Kat Rodriguez and Jody Pendre at the 'Asia's Next Top Model 2' pocket presscon. (Photo by Jeman Villanueva)

Kat’s aces up her sleeves are her background in ballet dancing and acting. “I danced ballet for 11 to 12 years then took acting courses and acted in a school play back in high school,” she revealed.

That may explain why she’s very good on the catwalk and projects herself well on camera. It also doesn’t hurt that Kat also describes herself as a “fast learner”. While she did not particularly stand in Episode 1 the way Jody did, she also didn’t embarrass herself and was not among the dreaded Bottom Three.

For its second go-round, “Asia’s Next Top Model 2” is once again hosted by former MTV Asia VJ Nadya Hutagalung who is also the show’s head judge. Also returning to the judges’ panel is former Channel V VJ and Style and Beauty columnist Joey Mead-King, who will still be part of the judges’ panel and act as the contestants’ mentor.

Joining them to add more drama and excitement in the competition are two renowned icons in the international modeling industry—runway coach Adam Williams and fashion and celebrity photographer Mike Rosenthal.

The show airs on TV5 every Thursday at 9PM.