If you were stuck in a deserted island and had to choose one person to be stranded with, you’d probably ship yourself with island stud Kirst Viray. The 26-year-old model calls the islands of Pangasinan home and is one of Manila’s freshest faces to watch out for.
Signed with one of the Philippines’ top agencies, Kirst takes on the world of modeling with an easygoing mindset while keeping his eyes on the prize. Not one to be blinded by glitz and glamour, Kirst shares his story of building his career while balancing studies, and how he keeps his feet firmly on the ground.
What do you do?
I’m a model under Mercator Modeling Agency.
How long have you been modeling?
Since 2012, I’m old [laughs].
How was it like starting out?
It was a struggle at the start. You really have to want it and be dedicated to your work. It’s really easy to want to give up whenever jobs tend to pile up and stress comes in.
What about modeling made you fall in love?
It was when I joined Canada Philippine Fashion Week that I realized that modeling is for me. You get to be a canvas for great designers worldwide. When the company held a casting call here in the Philippines, they were choosing only 2 local male models. Luckily, I was one of them [laughs].
How is it like being a model for Mercator?
I love it! The agency has so many talented people to work with. You will really learn a lot.
What has been your favorite shoot so far?
The cover shoot for Men’s Health. It was such an honor to be a part of that.
What is the best thing about modeling?
Every shoot or job is a whole new ballpark. You get to meet different people every single time who will teach you a new thing or two about modeling. You can’t also beat the schedule [laughs]. Time is very flexible.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on the job?
It’s another male model. His name is Philip Escalambre. When I started modeling, I really looked up to him since he’s part of an agency that excels in runway modeling.
What do you like more, high-fashion or commercial modeling?
I like both a lot. You have to like both if you want to become a successful model.
What do you do when you’re not on the job?
I’m currently studying culinary. Yes, I love to cook [laughs]. So I still attend school in SKD Academy.
Do you exercise?
Yes, it’s a no-brainer when you’re a model. You have to take care of your body and maintain a certain form.
What sort of workouts do you do?
I do cardio training, weights in the gym. I play basketball too.
Has being a model improved your sense of style?
Yes of course. People in fashion are amazing–when they style me, I try to learn a thing or two to incorporate into my own way of dressing.
How would you describe your style?
Very chill and laid back. [For Kirst’s style tips and more H&M Fashion Inspo, click here.]
What’s your statement piece to complete your usual OOTD?
Ripped jeans. Don’t get me wrong though, I have pants without holes too [laughs].
Do you have a go-to brand when shopping?
H&M actually, I’m wearing them now. My pants and this top are from H&M.
What do you usually buy from H&M?
Pants mostly, I love ripped jeans and khaki pants too. The fit of their jeans is great and perfect for my frame.
What’s your usual outfit formula when going to a job?
It depends on what I’m doing that day. Usually I’m in a comfy t-shirt, jeans, and vintage sneakers.
Do you have any tips for aspiring models who are also starting out in the industry?
Appreciate the process and never give up. Trust me when I say that this career will cause a lot of doubt and uncertainty but if you want it enough, you’ll come out the winner.
Story | Louise Sicat
Photography | Jerick Sanchez
Styling | Aldrin Ramos
Hair | Jhaypee Tamayo, Jomar Lopez and Ma. Cristina Omayan of Hair Lounge
Makeup | Jorence Delimos of MAC Cosmetics