Earlier on when Merritt first announced her new role in September, users had taken to Twitter to criticize her for not being the best representation of the community.
“How do modern Filipinos looks (sic) anyways?” one Twitter user asked, “Like do we fit in a particular mold?”
Merritt had posted on a behind-the-scenes of what’s to come on her social media, garnering a fresh set of comments.
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
The backlash from Twitter was ongoing as preparations for the show were underway.
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
Others fought back, arguing that Merritt should be given a chance, and shouldn’t be denied her place.
i think people are being really unfair to Kelsey Merritt. She lived in the Philippines, studied there, speaks Filipino, advocates for good causes, and doesn’t shy away from her cultural identity.
Yet some of you wanna shame her because she shares a few features of Westerners.
— Karl Zachary ❂ (@karlzachary_) September 9, 2018
As new photos were released of Merritt walking the runway, more Twitter users have continued to show their support.
Im one of many people who dream to be part of Victoria Secret Fashion Show someday & today a filipina named Kelsey Merritt made HISTORY as the first ever Filipina to ever walk in the prestigious VSFS in New York City! 🇵🇭I am so proud of her. ❤ #VSFS2018 pic.twitter.com/S5SAWDZAjd
— diana (@backtoyoulouist) November 9, 2018
I love you❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵
— Kelsey Merritt JP (@jp_merrit) November 9, 2018
The 21-year-old Pampanga-born model Kelsey Merritt announced her new wings early September. She is set to walk in the Victoria Secret fashion show alongside industry veterans like Adriana Lima and Gigi Hadid set to premiere on ABC on December 2.
Merritt posted on Instagram about her idol, Adriana Lima, who will be walking in her final show with Victoria’s Secret.
“Growing up watching the @victoriassecret fashion show, I wanted to be like @adrianalima! She is such an inspiration,” Merritt wrote. “I can’t believe I get to say I’ve walked the show with her and all the beautiful VS models!!!!”
She is also trending on the Philippine Twitter with #PinoyPride (the show will air on Monday, Dec. 3 for the Philippines).
This successful Filipina-American supermodel started off in New York City at the age of 18 with modeling agency Wilhelmina International.