In case you missed it, our LINEAL cover story featured New York-based model Charlene Almarvez. She is one of my muses.
Every now and then, when we are in the same city, New York or London, Charlene and I would reconnect over a shoot or dance. Charlene loves to dance and she’s a head-turner. I remember when we were clubbing in London — at that time she dyed her hair blonde and she looked absolutely divine — random stylish youths approached her expressing their compliments. On that same evening, while walking along the street of Soho, some folks opened the window of their car yelling their admiration. She was stunning!
Aside from sharing moves on the dance floor, Charlene and I would exchange stories. We were on the same boat, we were sailing on the same sea — I as a fashion photographer, she as a fashion model. We were both from the provinces of the Philippines, living by ourselves in the fashion capitals of the world. She spoke of the hardship of withstanding the pressure from the cut-throat modelling industry, coupled with the loneliness of living by herself. She moved to New York at the age of sixteen! And how ultimately she found happiness by staying true to herself, and how friendships make her life sweeter.
From coveted shows for Suno, Lacoste, Diane von Furstenberg in 2010 when she started, to her last shows for Brandon Maxwell, Laquan Smith and Area; from the pages of Vogue, Interview, and Elle, she continues to inspire as one of the most successful Southeast Asian faces in the fashion industry.
Charlene epitomises personal triumph in life, beyond borders.
Here, I photographed Charlene in Primrose Hill, London in 2017 for Reserved Magazine.
You may read her story at Charlene Almarvez Embodies The Idea Of “Borderless”