I was lucky enough to be able to style Claire James (formerly known as Claire Unabia) before the fashion week. She got me all excited to attend most of the shows for the Spring-Summer 2012 Fashion Shows as she walked in almost all of the shows.
For the avid fans of America's Next Top Model, her face might be familiar to you as Claire was part of the show's cycle 10. For those asking why she's currently active in the Philippine Fashion Scene, that's because she is half Filipino and is being carried by Cal Carries Modelling Agency.
Here are the official photos and part of the article published by Manila Bulletin last October 26, 2011.
By JASER A. MARASIGAN
October 26, 201
Photos by JERICO MONTEMAYOR
(Asst Photograper Archie Gonzalez)
Styled by JP DICHE
MakeUp by RHINA MONTEMAYOR
Hair by REEZA ZAMORA
Clothes and Accessories from SM DEPARTMENT STORE
Location PSID JAK EN POY EXHIBIT
MANILA, Philippines — It's a tough industry where only the toughest survives.
So if there’s one thing that young aspiring models have to know about getting into the modeling industry, America’s Next Top Model Cycle 10 finalist Claire Unabia James is sharing this piece of advice: “Be prepared for a tough journey.”
“Go into modeling only if taking pictures is truly your passion – not the feedbacks, not the rewards, and not to feel better about yourself,” Claire says.
As a little girl, Claire had always wanted to be a model. She would sashay on the fields pretending to be American TV model Vanna White back on their small farm in O’ahu, Hawaii.
“I would be in the pastures pretending to be wearing long gowns,” recalls Claire, who was born to scientist parents. Claire’s father is a second generation immigrant from the Philippines, while Claire’s mother, is an American marine biologist from Los Angeles, California.
As she began modeling, Claire found her dancing helpful in making each photograph like a performance art piece, with the photographer capturing her various moods and movements.
“The modeling industry is very vain but I think of it more as like an artistic time. Modeling gives me a chance to perform, a chance to be myself. I’m trying to make a beautiful picture, something that would inspire somebody when they see this.
Make them think of something beautiful whenever they’re in a bad mood or in a bad place. That can make them feel a little bit more serene. To make them try to achieve better goals in life. Or just to feel like they’re beautiful as well. Because I think I’m kind of different looking also,” she explains.
Amid modeling fame, Claire still went on to pursue a college degree. She majored in Film and Psychology at Columbia University, and at the same time, began working on films in different capacities as camera assistant, camera woman, assistant director, and production coordinator.
Claire reveals that it was her husband Matthew James who convinced her to try out for America’s Next Top Model. “I have always been a big fan of the show and I’m into reality TV, especially being into film and psychology.
It was like social psychology, and so I was very into it. And after having my child, my husband pushed me to audition. He was supportive but it was very hard for him to be by himself with our daughter. At that time he was making a sculpture for Vera Wang,” relates Claire.
She stayed for a month at the ANTM house. And as stated in the show’s rules, they are not allowed family visits and outside communication. This was especially hard for Claire who was a new mother at that time.
“It was a fun experience. All these different photo shoots and working with all these amazing photographers. It’s a good growing experience as a model, trying out different things and getting good feedback from Mr. J and Ms. J,” she says.
“Mr. J was so nice. He was like, you’re like Angelina Jolie or it’s like you’re not even human, and I’m like, I love you, you could tell me that all day.
Although compliments make me uncomfortable, what I do is I take a step back and think I was created by God and nature, created in this very interesting way that happens to be like a beautiful thing. It’s a blessing and I can appreciate it from that point of view.
I don’t really like people who are conceited and I don’t like to be conceited,” adds Claire, who even got into acting, making appearances in movies and in TV series like “Gossip Girl,” “Law & Order,” “Nurse Jackie” and more. She also worked with Tyra Banks several times after ANTM.
Being on the show completely changed her life, says Claire, who has developed a fan base from the viewers when she was on the show. She sometimes forgets she was on ANTM, until a screaming fan would remind her.
Unpublished photos below from Archie Gonzalez (Asst Photographer)
A little trivia: According to Claire, her eye color changes depending on her mood! It's Hazel Green when she's relaxed, and it's Light Green when she is stressed! I find that very cool!!
Thanks to Manila Bulletin - Students and Campuses for the opportunity!
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Special thanks to SM Department Store for the fabulous clothes and Accessories!!