Taiwanese model Jessica Yang proves to us that beneath the face, the struts and the poses, is a free-spirited tomboy with a golden voice. Now a Spotify-verified artist, Jessica taps old strings from her faraway childhood and channels it all in Manila. With a strong support system from family and friends, a dreamy Brazilian boyfriend in her arm, and a 10-year modeling background under her belt, there’s nothing stopping this super-Asian from dominating the world.
Hi Jessica, describe what you do.
I’m a professional model and this year is going to be my 10th year modeling.
How does it feel to be an influencer here in Manila as (@jesych)?
In my Instagram bio, I used to put there: model, singer, and influencer – I looked at the latter and wondered if this an actual occupation. So I decided to remove it. Because if that’s an occupation, then it’s a good one. You don’t know how much you can influence another person.
How did you start out in the industry?
It was when I moved to Manila in 2007 that I got into modeling. I went to my first casting for Philippine Fashion Week. I got called back and started getting more projects, and the rest is history.
What are you more passionate about? Modeling or music?
I enjoy modeling but I’ve always loved singing. Back when I was in Taiwan, I’d always sing with my ukulele around my friends but I had this intense stage fright when going in front of a crowd. I’m actually an introvert *laughs*.
Have you pursued your music while modeling?
I had the opportunity to collaborate with this artist called Kidthrones way back. But recently, a producer heard our EP and now it’s on Spotify.
How would you describe your sound?
I love different types of music. But my music specifically is a mix of electronic-pop and indie.
Who influenced your music style?
I’m obsessed with Rachael Yamagata. I like voices from different genres of music. I also love artists like Empire of the Sun and FKA Twigs who are amazing live.
What music festivals have you gone to locally?
Here in the Philippines, I’ve been to 7107, Wanderland, and Goodvybes. I love the music scene here.
Is it your dream to sing in one of these festivals?
Actually my dream is very simple. All I want is to save up, build a house up in the mountains, and to have a horse *laughs*.
Does your boyfriend Iago share the dream?
He’s actually very supportive of it. Iago tells me to take every opportunity that comes at me with both modeling and music.
How did you guys meet?
We met in a fashion show. He told me that we did a show together but I honestly couldn’t remember! *laughs*
What do you like most about Iago?
When we started dating I told him that I wanted to find someone who I can grow up with and he felt the same way. Family for Iago is such a warm word and I couldn’t be more surprised and happy to have found that in him.
What issues have you faced in your relationship?
Actually when we first met, it was so hard for him to talk to me because he didn’t speak a lot of English (he’s Brazilian). But then he started to watch Youtube videos to practice learning English. Now, he can’t stop talking!
What do you guys like to do together?
I have this thing where I like to look good together. We shop together and it’s easy for us because we both like streetwear and I coincidentally love guy’s clothes. *laughs*
What’s your go-to outfit formula?
I’m a big fan of oversized clothes and cropped tops. I get mine from H&M mostly. I remember people used to travel all the way to Hong Kong just to shop at H&M, me included! There are just so much options to choose from, making it so convenient. [for Jessica’s style tips and more H&M fashion inspo, click here.]
What’s your favorite outfit from H&M?
Iago and I have always loved the brand. Recently, we travelled to Korea and all of our winter clothes came from H&M; it was the Kenzo collection. I had a favorite jacket that was like a warm blanket – it was so cozy!
Are you wearing H&M today?
I actually am! *laughs* I got this cropped top from H&M and Iago and I sometimes interchange sweatpants that are from there too.
Would you like to say a few words to our readers and your followers?
To my followers—who are like my kids—I’m actually super approachable. You can just message me and I’ll always try to inspire all of you. That’s actually my source of happiness – inspiring others. It feels so good and at the end it’s free!
Story | Louise Sicat
Photography | Johanne Dalogdog
Assistant Photographer | Franco Hosena
Styling | Raizel Dy
Hair | Everlyn Galab of Maquillage Professionnel
Makeup | Karmela Jabla