Kelsey Merritt, the first Filipina on Victoria’s Secret’s runway, is enjoying her success in the recently-concluded fashion show.
In a new Instagram post, the 22-year-old model shared that all she has been doing in the last few days is looking at photos from the show in New York City.
“All I’ve been doing the past days is looking at photos from the #VSFashionShow and I can’t take the smile off of my face,” Merritt wrote. “I’m one happy girl.”
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Merritt, who was born to an American father and a Filipino mother, was named one of the models to walk the highly-coveted runway in September.
Soooo this just happened!!!!! Ahhhhh yesterday was a dream and it so much more than I have ever imagined!!! I can’t thank @victoriassecret enough for giving me the opportunity to walk in this year’s fashion show!! ❤️ #VSFashionShow pic.twitter.com/fHfAmTZutd
— Kelsey Merritt (@kelsmerritt) November 9, 2018
Her callback has since drawn mixed reactions from Filipino netizens, who are torn about her representation as a “Filipina.”
My only issue with Kelsey Merritt, is that you can almost see that she’s pure American. It would not be that difficult for her to get cast as VS as she fits the ff standards: tall, skinny, and white. Why not hire Justine Biticon? Why didn’t Janine walk the VS show?
— Kristina Monarc ♡ (@prymchia) September 8, 2018
As much as I’m happy for Kelsey Merritt that she got into VS, I just wish she looked more like the average Filipina. She’s beautiful, yeah, but when y’all say “first Filipia VS model”, I kinda wish she wasn’t so… white looking?
— ᜊᜒᜎ ᜑᜓᜎ᜔ᜌ 🎵 (@itsbellajulia) September 9, 2018
kelsey merritt… looks white 💀💀 these ph media outlets having a field day over a model with eurocentric features lmaoo what’s new
— via 🎨 (@KRYSTALPALETTE) September 9, 2018
Merritt, an AB Communication graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, has responded to negative comments, pointing out that her blood is “more Filipino” than those who have never set foot on the Philippines.
Pinanganak ako sa Pilipinas at lumaki ako sa Pampanga. Tinapos ko ang pagaaral ko sa Manila bago ako lumipat sa US last year. Mas pinoy pa dugo ko kesa sa mga “pure” na hindi pa nakatapak sa Pilinipas. I love my country and I’m proud of where I came from. ❤️
— Kelsey Merritt (@kelsmerritt) September 9, 2018
It reads: “I was born in the Philippines and I grew up in Pampanga. I finished my school in Manila before I moved to the US last year. My blood is more Filipino than the ‘pure’ who have never set foot in the Philippines.”
While critics may remain unconvinced of Merritt’s merit, a wave of Filipino supporters expressed pride in her accomplishment.
Featured Images via Instagram / @kelseymerritt