As she sashayed down the Victoria’s Secret runway in a glittery silver number just awhile back, Kelsey Merritt sparkled in more ways than one. She commanded attention with every stretch of her toned legs. Through her steady strides, she established that the runway is her rightful place. Her posture was calm while her demeanor was simultaneously chill and bubbly. As she flashed her wide and bright smile, she expressed that she has finally made it to the big stage. She blows a kiss and makes a half twirl to conclude such brief but shining moment.
“It’s kinda weird,” Kelsey Merritt confesses then lets out a loud laugh. “It’s actually funny ’cause you know it’s always been my dream to work for VS and now people refer to me as a Victoria’s Secret model and I actually can’t believe that’s what I’m hearing. It just hasn’t sunken in yet that from now on, that’s what I am, that’s what I’m called, and it’s pretty cool,” she tells Inside Showbiz Weekly five weeks after her historic runway moment as the first Filipino to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (VSFS).
Kelsey Merritt did not just breathe the same air as the supermodels during the show held at Pier 94 in New York City on November 8, 2018. She was able to pose for photos with them alongside fellow up-an-coming models. She did the same during the viewing party in December when the VSFS was aired worldwide. She has photos with Adriana, Josephine Skriver, Romee Strijd, Lais Ribeiro, and Jasmine Tookes. She even has a selfie video with Candice and Behati Prinsloo.
She shares, “Adriana is probably the nicest woman you will ever meet. She’s so nice. As in like not a hint of ego. Just so humble and just so nice. We did a live video on the Victoria’s Secret page, the one backstage. So we just mostly talked about her career and the advice she wants to give us and she asked us questions. But behind that we were speaking to each other. She was like, ‘My children now are interested in modeling.’ And I was like, I mean they are learning from the best. They’re in good hands.”
She continues to gush about the Brazilian supermodel, “Her presence onstage is just so… it’s unlike any other model. Like we’ve seen the show. She’s the ultimate VS girl and she’s done it for 18 years. I’m 22 years old. You know, that’s a lot of years. It was her home. And she was pretty emotional leaving. Everyone was crying backstage.”
Kelsey’s VSFS debut was even more memorable because she was able to banner her Pinoy Pride on the global stage. However, her nationalism has been questioned one too many times for she is Filipino-American. “I think people are entitled to their opinions and I do understand where they’re coming from because some of them have valid points. As a person who’s from the Philippines and who loves the culture and identifies as Filipino, I was just proud that I could give this to the country. I wasn’t really worried about what people would say. I was just happy to do it.”
She goes on, “It’s so weird ’cause I was born and raised here. I’ve actually never been to the States ’til I was 18 to work to model. And I grew up in Pampanga. Actually, the first language I knew better was Filipino than English. I just grew up identifying as Filipino and I am Filipino. It’s just unfair for people to strip that off of me just because my dad’s American.”
She even shares an irony she experiences on both sides of the world: “That’s actually so interesting because when I’m here [the Philippines], I look American. When I’m there [United States], I look Asian. I don’t look American at all there. They see me as Asian. So when I come back here and people tell me, ‘She looks so American.’ I’m like, ‘You can never please everyone.’ So I just do my own thing and don’t really mind what people say.”