The stunning Katrina Gumabao is making waves in the fashion industry as the first Filipina plus-size model to grace the runway during Melbourne Fashion Week. The 29-year-old is part of a well-known family in her home country. Her brother Marco is a budding teen actor while her younger sister Michelle is a star volleyball player. For Katrina, her passion has always been fashion and modeling.
Katrina Gumabao currently juggles multiple careers: a makeup artist for NARS Philippines, a talent manager, and as a local commercial and editorial model for the last five years. Katrina was inspired to apply for Melbourne Fashion Week Plus after seeing an ad for it in Instagram. Without having anything to lose, she sent the organizers an e-mail and was told that she was welcomed to apply as long as she shoulder her own expenses to Australia.
Katrina Gumabao: Fighting Stereotypes
In an interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Katrina Gumabao said that she sacrificed a previously planned trip to follow her gut instinct.
I told myself, if I really need to, I’ll skip the Sydney trip and use that money for MFW+ because it’s a foot in the door in the international modeling scene. It’s a big deal. Plus, my favorite agency, MiLK Modeling Management, will be there! They represent women who have fuller figures, so giving up my Sydney trip is a small price to pay.
Now that Katrina Gumabao has had the taste of the modeling life, she is hoping that it will open doors for other aspiring Filipina plus-size models. She is currently fishing for more projects in the Philippines and abroad. But more importantly, Katrina is making it her personal mission to show women that they can be beautiful no matter what size they are. To start off, she clarified what the term plus-size really means, telling Cosmopolitan that it does not directly pertain to being fat, rather than being above the regular size. She says, “Plus-size simply means that the regular fit doesn’t fit you—you might have bigger hips or you’re a few inches taller than the average.”
In the Philippines, there are a number of women who are beyond size 10 or 12 but often go unnoticed since the country is more accustomed to petite sizes. Unfortunately, for aspiring plus-size models, the only way to really break in the industry is to travel abroad. Countries like the United States and the UK have accepted plus-size models and even include them in annual fashion events. The Philippines and other Asian countries, for that matter, have yet to pick up such trends most likely because of a limited market.
For her part, Katrina Gumabao does not wish to belittle other types of beauty. Instead, she wants to empower women and show them that they too can be beautiful and confident with their own body. According to her, “It’s not a matter of looks; it’s a matter of heart. I want bigger people to have more confidence and to know that they should be treated better.”