Dara Bascara is a fashion and editorial model, originally from the Philippines, but currently living in San Francisco. Despite Dara currently being extremely busy with her Philosophy studies at UC Berkeley as well as completing commercial modeling work, we were delighted when she agreed to complete a feature interview with Urbanity Chic. Read on to discover, amongst other things, which modern day fashion designers she looks up to, how an advertising shoot made her instantly recognizable in the Philippines and what her ideal job would be.
Q: How did you get into fashion modelling?
I think my first modeling gig may have been when I was in high school. I represented my school for an inter-collegiate beauty pageant. After that, I was hired as a model for a makeup TV show. By the time I was a junior in college, I have broken into the modeling industry in Manila. I was in various fashion shows and was a regular attendee for casting calls ranging from TV commercials and print ads. When I moved to London in 2006, I already had an accomplished portfolio so getting signed up with an agency was easy.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was not a modeling year for me. I moved to San Francisco from London and spent most of my time studying Philosophy at UC Berkeley. 2011 is looking better in terms of modeling. I am currently shooting a Korean music video. My role involves some acting, and I am enjoying the experience immensely.
Q: Who inspires you?
People who were able to overcome their limited backgrounds and achieve success inspire me. In the fashion industry, I think that Naomi Campbell’s success is laudable because it was iconoclastic. She was the first real black supermodel. She didn’t have black skin with white features. She convinced the mainstream fashion industry that her non-Caucasian features are beautiful.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
I have always loved Victoria Beckham’s fashion. More recently, Leighton Meester caught my eye with her choice of clothing.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
Location shoots can be pretty fun, but I prefer studio shoots. We have control of the environment in a way that we can’t have in location shoots.
Q: Do you have an interesting story about a particular photo shoot, or a casting you’d like to share?
I once went to a tvc casting. I met this French guy who was also auditioning. He is a stage actor, and we found out we’re both Shakespeare fans. We did the lines of Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting scene – without the kiss. Haha, it was so much fun. Neither one of us got the job, but I had a blast doing the lines with someone. I memorized the Romeo and Juliet movie when I was a teenager.
Q: How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
There are no tricks here. Get enough rest the night before a shoot or show. That ensures you are able to be at your best for the job.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
I have so many favorite photographs – I’m a photographile if there’s such a thing. But the photos that I tend to like are the ones who look nothing like what I really look in my everyday life.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
Doc Marlon Pecjo in Manila. I worked with him way back when I was just a teenager. He’s a medical doctor by profession, but he quit being a doctor since he became one of the most sought-after photographers in the Philippines. I love his vision and his style of directing people. He shows you exactly what he wants you to do and gives specific directions.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with?
I’ve always loved Kate Moss. I was ridiculously skinny in my early teenage years, and I was incessantly teased about being too skinny. Seeing Kate Moss’ waif look actually gave me confidence because I saw how super skinny can be pretty. I would also like to work with Chanel Iman. She seems like super fun.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is just how you present yourself to the world. What you wear says something about yourself. It’s a sign of what your occupation is. It could be a sign of your social stature. It’s a sign of whether you care about your appearance and how much you care about your appearance. Fashion is what you’re already telling people without speaking.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
It varies significantly depending on the setting. When I’m in uni, I’m a t-shirt-jeans-sneakers kinda gal. Like I said, fashion is how you present yourself to the world. So, I’m not going to go to class all glammed up because I go to class to educate myself. But I obviously love getting glammed up, and that’s why I go clubbing on weekends. When I go clubbing, I go for stillettos and short dresses. For castings, I wear what I think is most appropriate for the look that they’re after. I love to dress up when I’m traveling because I love taking photos.
Q: Where are you based?
Currently in San Francisco, but I will be back in London soon enough.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Can I tell you what it’s like to be modeling in the UK and US while being South East Asian instead? Well, it’s kinda great actually. Many international companies that have Asian markets shoot in the UK. I’ve done a job for Nokia, Splenda, HSBC, etc., and they specifically shot the ads to be released in South East Asia. So, I’m not actually tall enough to do catwalk, so most of my gigs are in print. I do well especially because I have a niche.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I did a library stock shoot for Getty Images in London. A year later, one of my photos from that shoot appeared everywhere in Manila and other major cities in the country as one of the most aggressive advertising campaigns in Philippine advertising history. All my family and friends back home were literally seeing me everywhere, several billboards, hundreds of posters on bus stops, train station, highways, even buses. I also apparently dominated their local internet ads on yahoo and facebook as well.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
For 2011, I would like to go to the gym more often because I am no longer the scrawny teenager that I was! Since doing the music video, I realized that acting is also really fun. I’d like to tap into that if I can. I will be starting my PhD this fall as well.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I watch movies! I love movies, and I watch a lot of movies. I go partying with friends or talk philosophy over a cup of tea to have fun. But to relax, movies for sure!
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
Lady Gaga’s, Beyonce’s and Rhianna’s songs – I listen to them when I work out. Also, a lot of Broadway musicals.
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
I inherited a stamp collection from my great- grandfather. Stamps are little historical documents. I am learning some world history and personal history as I try to get to know my stamp collection better.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring models what would it be?
I’m not sure if people want to hear this, but this is the only real advice that I have. For every Kate Moss or Michelle Bunchen, there are thousands and thousands who failed. Unless you’ve made it as a celebrity model, keep your options open and develop your other talents. Don’t drop out of school. When you’re with makeup artists, take advantage of the opportunity to learn makeup. When you meet important and accomplished people, observe them and see what sets them apart from the rest. Modeling can be a great learning experience if you are open to learning. We go to so many castings and get turned down. Strangely, that experience really builds self-esteem because you get used to being rejected, and you learn how to not take it personally. What I’m trying to say is that modeling is a great experience, but keep your feet on the ground. Don’t just do modeling – it’s not going to be a very long career.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
Modeling is fun – you get an army of people working to make you look good. That’s not something that many people have the luxury to experience.
Q: Alongside modeling do you have any other talents or interests?
Modeling is not the main thing for me. I think it could be quite a lucrative hobby, but it’s still just a hobby. My passion and commitment is really for academic philosophy.
Q: What made you interested in philosophy?
I literally fell in love with philosophy when I was in college. Philippine society is conservative, superstitious and really backward. Philosophy came to my rescue when I lost my Catholic faith because it offered alternative perspectives on how to look at and interpret the world.
Q: Do you apply any concepts of philosophy into your everyday life?
I sure try! Academic philosophy is all about logical reasoning. This is another reason why I got deeper into philosophy since moving to the UK and studying at UCL. The philosophy that most top philosophy departments do is analytic philosophy. It is not a concept really. It is a style of doing philosophy which focuses on clarity, consistency and coherence. This style of philosophizing made me appreciate philosophy even more because it makes me think about whatever I want to think about rationally and logically.
Q: What would your ideal job be?
Teaching philosophy -- it’s not just an ideal job. It’s a goal I have been working on for years.
Editor’s Note: Dara’s outlook to both modeling and life in general is something to be admired. With her incredibly commercial and vivacious look, we’re sure that Dara will be in demand throughout the fashion world for a long time to come.
If you’d like to read more about Dara Bascara just follow the link below to her own internet site:
web page link: www.darabascara.com