Styling NICOLE BLANCO RAMOS, Art direction ALEXANDRA LARA, Makeup OWEN SARMIENTO, Hair JA FELICIANO, Sittings Editor SARAH SANTIAGO, Special thanks to CASA REAL
Porcelain skin, prominent cheekbones and tumbling waves of ebony hair—all the telltale signs point the arrows toward one inevitable realization: this girl is a Barretto.
In spite of having the media hot on her heels since the onset of her sister’s show business career, 16-year-old Claudia Barretto has remained a fresh face on the scene—a feat she owes to her unshakeable commitment to her studies. After all, this is the girl who flung her arms up in victory proclaiming “Time to study!” after a day of shooting. Or perhaps, her lasting novelty is an optimistic outturn of her standing decision to keep her distance from the acting industry. With a grand total of zero sob-story roles and athletic victories instead of toe-curling romance shows decorating her resumé, Claudia is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Even with the burgeoning hype surrounding the teenager and her star-studded ménage, one thing is for certain: slow and steady, she is growing beyond the fame she was born into. And with the same resilience attributed to the women who bear her surname, Claudia is finding a niche for herself, at her own pace.
Gone are the days of the teenage artista equation. With an Instagram following of 365 thousand strong, Claudia has side-stepped the formula the local industry has become all too familiar with, growing up to pioneer a new breed of teen icon—a crossroads of genetic renown, individualistic personality and winning charm.
Decidedly firm in her choice of constants, a quick chat with Claudia instantly snitches on the things she holds dear. School and sports undoubtedly occupy prime spots on her list of priorities, both persistent Holy Grail fixtures in the teenager’s schedule. Even with endorsements and ambassadorships under her belt, Claudia has yet to attach her name to the model label, humbly and unassumingly introducing herself as a student.
A swift scroll-and-tap through her social media accounts informs of another paramount in her primacies: family. Festooned with images of her mother and cousins, Claudia’s Instagram feed could be likened to a well-curated virtual exhibit of the people she holds dear. But like an apt post-Valentine’s lesson, the young star’s love transcends. It travels beyond the square frames of social networking and into casual conversation, where she speaks of her kin in no less than positives and superlatives. Even in the face of constant comparison, Claudia remains unfazed and undeniably close to her family, with fans likening her and older sibling Julia to the Jenner sisters.
Cream and ecru tiered dress by PABLO CABAHUG
“I’ve always wanted to become a singer,” admits Claudia, introducing music as another of her life’s focal points. Rather than turning on her heels to shy away from the quick-changing whirlwind that is Philippine show business, the teen remains open to the idea of kicking off a career as a vocalist. But typical to her go-with-the-flow personality, Claudia is in no rush, gladly letting her singing take a temporary back seat.
We’re set on getting our hands on whatever elixir relentlessly keeps Claudia at the top of her game. A yes man if there ever was one, a day spent treading down soil paths and shooting in the mid-afternoon heat did nothing to weather her spirits. From lying back in the company of weeds and wild grass to posing atop a semi-stable chair in a tiered Pablo Cabahug number, Claudia’s answer to our directions remained unchanged all throughout: an unwavering, resounding yes. Perhaps credit is due to her experience as a football player, long hours of training in full view of the sun ingrained into her nimble persona.
Or perhaps we have her natural fluency in front of the camera to thank. No stranger to flaunting her angles, Claudia worked the lens like a veteran in disguise of a novice, which begs the question: does the ability to enchant the camera run as strong as staying power in the Barretto bloodline, or is Claudia a full-fledged natural? Chances are, it’s a little bit of both.
The very representation of coming of age in the present, Claudia Barretto is a blank slate in the best of ways. Refreshingly versatile and armed with a self-confessed sense of humor, she laughs and brands our February photo shoot the most noteworthy highlight of her year thus far. Well on her way to paving an iconic status of her own, we’ve got a hunch she’s got even greater things coming her way.