4 Things To Know About Model Kelsey Merritt
Filipino-American model Kelsey Merritt got her big break in 2018 when, at 22 years old, she was selected to walk in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show—the first person of Filipino descent to ever be selected. She was also the first Filipino to model for Sports Illustrated.
Growing up in the Philippines, Merritt graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City in 2017, and was scouted by a model agency director, Roman Young. She’s since moved to the United States and signed with agencies all around the world, including Supreme, Women Management Milan, Wilhelmina, and Nomad.
Here are four things you need to know about the model and Gen.T honouree.
1/4 She was the first person of Filipino descent to walk in a Victoria’s Secret show
"We did it, Philippines," Kelsey Merritt wrote in an Instagram post she shared in September 2018. “What an honor it is to be the first Filipino to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018! I can’t believe this!”
She later told Teen Vogue that it felt like a dream. "Getting the show is the dream come true but being the first Filipino woman to walk in the show means I’m making history. The show is broadcast in more than 190 countries with models from 20 countries and I got chosen to represent my region. Blessed!"
2/4 She is a big believer in getting a college education
Merritt started modelling at around the age of 15 and was still at university when her career in the United States started to take off. In an Instagram post Merritt shared that she had considered stopping her degree halfway through to focus on modelling, but looking back after graduating, she’s glad she didn’t.
“The choice was not easy, but no one ever said it was going to be. It was not easy always flying more than 15 hours and then fighting jet lag, going to work the next day, and having to go home after work to finish papers or study for a test. It wasn't easy trying to fight back sleep on the plane because I had so many readings to catch up on,” she wrote. “Other people also think that I've missed a few semesters and I'm behind my batch, but that's not the case. I'm graduating with the same batch I entered Ateneo with. Now that I'm done with school, I can finally do what I want to do and live in the city I love most.”
3/4 She uses her platform to raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastic
Merritt shared with Metro Style that her dad had suggested she use her growing social media popularity to also advocate for something she believed in. “I wanted something that really touched me,” she told Metro Style. “So I was waiting, I wasn’t in a rush. I was waiting until I actually felt something, [and] felt passionate about something.”
She eventually found her cause in advocating for a plastic-free world. She’s since cut down on her own plastic usage and regularly discusses the issue on Instagram to her 1.5 million followers. “I don’t wanna preach,” she said to Metro Style. “If you wanna copy what I’m doing then that’s amazing, but you don’t have to.” Instead she focuses on sharing small ways she and her followers can reduce plastic usage in their daily lives, from using reusable water bottles to carrying around reusable cutlery and shopping using glass jars rather than plastic.
4/4 She advocates for a sustainable and natural beauty routine
Much like her approach to a plastic-free lifestyle, Merritt’s beauty routine is natural, minimal and fresh. Sharing her skincare routine with Vogue, Merrit advocated for the use of coconut oil as a natural moisturiser for both face and body. “I love everything coconut,” she says.
She shared that she even grows her own aloe vera plant in her bathroom so that she can trim the plant and use the gel. "I rub [aloe vera gel] all over my scalp and the dry parts of my hair,” she says.