International fashion model Lorenzo Miguel shares his lessons on making it as a New York model
The New York-born Pinoy is starting to make waves on the international stage of modeling.
Two years ago, “I wasn’t looking yet, but people told me I have the look of a model and that I should pursue modeling as a career.”
Characteristic of his generation, he went for it, “I ended up enjoying my first show, I’ll see how it goes, but here I am.”
In fact, Lorenzo, Enzo to friends, started relatively late in modeling, but he’s achieved a lot in a short time. It was Gina Reyes, a New York-based producer who first said, “Can you do a fashion show for me,” Lorenzo relates. With the help of a modeling coach, Carizza, Lorenzo learned how to pose and walk in three months.
His first show was for Albert Andrada, in Manhattan. Albert is a famous fashion designer to Arab Royals and Pinay beauty queens. Lorenzo had two outfit changes, “The preparation is a lot longer than I expected: you get there early, rehearse many times, then make-up and hair, that was a couple of hours each with 40 models there!”
Despite being a newbie, Lorenzo never felt intimidated, “Everyone was encouraging each other, we got along well.”
He can’t pinpoint an exact moment that defined his decision to pursue modeling for the long haul, “It was not one single show that switched the light, it was just over the course of many photoshoots and many shows and many months that eventually I thought, ‘this was the best path for me to take.’”
In less than 2 years (one being a pandemic), Lorenzo has done 4 or 5 fashion shows and a handful of photoshoots.
On the international modeling stage, it’s all about connections, confidence, and charm. Lorenzo Miguel, born in the United States to Filipino parents, has those Cs in spades. Lorenzo shares his secrets to making it in the world of fashion at his age.
As online interviews are pretty normal now, we video chatted with the nearly 21-year old. Lorenzo is actually quite interview-shy, unlike seasoned showbiz talents.
He has walked the fashion runways of New York Fashion Week in September 2019 and even had the opportunity to join the Milan Fashion Week. If only Covid-19 hadn’t happened.
Before he became a model, Lorenzo was pursuing graphic design. What convinced him to consider modeling and let go of design, “I thought becoming a model had a lot more potential for growth.”
His mom, who runs a production and entertainment company in New York, also had the connections to get Lorenzo started. Lorenzo credits his parents for pushing him into modeling: “Probably they are the ones pushing me the hardest. They asked me to try and if I don’t like it, I don’t have to continue but if I do, I can maybe pursue.”
His parents did give him his looks and 6’1” height.
Now that he’s had time to reflect, his first fashion show was the most challenging, “I had never done anything close to running the catwalk. I was pretty nervous but eventually after many shows, I got used to it.”
His First Secret to Becoming a Top Model
When he started modeling, “I took my tripod and brought it to public spaces to shoot myself. That helped me get comfortable in front of the camera, it’s intimidating, people staring at you while you’re taking pictures of yourself, but that helped a lot.”
Tyra Banks’ favorite smize, her portmanteau for smiling with your eyes, is something Lorenzo gladly showed, “Smiling without your teeth brings out your eyes more and it took a little bit of practice but eventually I got the hang of it. The look in the eyes is more intense.”
Lorenzo manages to condense his advice into practical ways. He explains, “At first, it was very uncomfortable, but through Carizza, it took three to four sessions of photoshoots before I eventually got comfortable.”
The secret he claims is, “Just practice–practice by yourself first. Like get a tripod and put your phone, set a timer and start taking pictures of yourself to see how you look from different angles. Once you find which angle you look best, you can use that for most of your pictures!”
The smize and his confidence helped him survive his first New York Fashion Week experience. He did two shows at the Fall NYFW in 2019, one for Albert Andrada and one for another New York-based designer.
In the Albert Andrada show, Lorenzo got to walk with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, “It was a very interesting experience, it wasn’t that different from my very first show, the process was relatively the same: rehearse, make-up, hair, and then we walk.”
He got to talk to Pia when she visited his family home for dinner the night before the show.
All About the Big Apple Show and the almost Milan Show
Lessons from a Ford Model
He was also very fortunate to book a photoshoot with a Ford Model, synonymous with top talents for fashion. Held in Times Square, New York, Lorenzo wore Albert Andrada and Cherry Veric, the latter a renowned celebrity and beauty queen fashion designer. American Morgan Whitehead was the Ford Model he shot with for that catalogue.
Working with a Ford Model taught him a thing or two, “I felt very inexperienced modeling with her but afterwards, it taught me to be more comfortable with myself and to not give too much thought about how I pose or how I angle myself towards the camera… I just try to be as relaxed as possible.”
Morgan taught Lorenzo to get into his groove easier, put less pressure on himself, and not be too hung up on being perfect.
A Top Model is One Who Betters Himself
Now that his industry has been under wraps for most of the pandemic, Lorenzo has learned to keep mentally sane and emotionally healthy.
He confesses, “Lockdown was pretty hard for me but I think it was for a lot of people. In order to keep my sanity, I did a lot of reading and a lot of working on myself while everything was closed. I had a lot of free time so I used that free time to my advantage. I have a home gym, I bought a lot of equipment and started working out regularly, trying to be a better version of myself, reading books too.”
Already quite fit even before the pandemic started, Lorenzo adds, “I did a lot of weight and strength training and since I live by the beach, I would walk, jog, and stroll every day, maintaining my physique.”
Lorenzo lives on Long Beach, south of Long Island, New York.
His favorite books are by Mark Manson, the no. 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Lorenzo admits, “I read a lot of his no-nonsense self-help books, I think he’s a really good author.”
The NYFW is expectedly about gorgeous outfits and frenzied rushing. Lorenzo says, “I enjoyed the experience a lot but it’s also a job, so with only 20-30 seconds between outfits to change before we walked, it was all very fast-paced behind the scenes.”
He acknowledges that the whole experience was tremendous, “It felt like something that a lot of models wanna do, walk the runway especially at NYFW, a lot of models don’t get to that point or have to work really hard, so I am very grateful for that experience.”
He got invited to the Milan Fashion Week by producer Marc Paolo and it was really only cancelled because of the pandemic. Scheduled in Italy for August 2020, “Si Covid, if that didn’t happen, I would have gone.” Eventually, Lorenzo let go, “I prepared but I accepted that it wasn’t safe to go, Italy actually had the highest cases so I thought it was best not to go.”
What Other Names in Modeling Taught Him
Working with famous people like well-known photographer Ryan Agustin helped Lorenzo also get comfy with other top-tier models.
“It was my very first shoot where I had to use different props and lighting angles to capture a different scene. I am used to me and the background, nothing else, but Ryan incorporated different elements.”
He even got to connect that experience with his graphics background, “You can be creative as a photographer and model, as modeling is an art form because there’s elements you can put into it that gives it a different vibe and you can make it into your own.”
Meeting models from Japan, Italy and from the Philippines arriving in New York also inspired Lorenzo, “They taught me to be more confident with myself, that’s a big factor in modeling, the expression of confidence and how well you can portray that confidence into photoshoots and runways is one of the most important things I learned from others.”
He’s come a long way from a young 18-year old, who, because of school exams, didn’t even know his modeling coach Carizza booked his first show: Chanel. It was his mom who declined for him. But imagine what would have happened if Lorenzo started his career with a Chanel show.
With so much free time, Lorenzo also learned to cook, “I wanted to be a culinary chef but I never got around to it, so that’s a skill I learned during quarantine. Steaks are my best, I can cook steak pretty well, that’s my go-to. I prefer something more rare with a little bit of pink in the middle, there’s more flavor that way.”
Aside from that, Lorenzo has the usual 20-yo pursuit of loving video games.
What advice does he have for young men and women aspiring to be models?
“It’s important to practice, try and network if you can, to make a name for yourself, talk with other models and see what gigs and shows are out there. Just practice being comfortable in front of the camera and your walk for the runway.”
For Lorenzo, he also confesses, “I don’t think there’s one single person that would be a role model to me in terms of modeling, I can learn just as good from any other model that’s not as high up in popularity.”
As he prepares for the world to reopen, with news that, at least for New York, shows could come back by July, Lorenzo remarks, “I am looking forward to that and even now, it teaches me to extend my patience.”
And for anyone curious? Yes, Lorenzo is single and not seeing anyone, by choice! But if pressed for an ideal partner, Lorenzo is hoping for someone who pushes him to be a better version of himself, and “Someone who will try to motivate me, someone who can help motivate me to pursue my own dreams.”
The World is Now His Oyster
Right now, he has a surprising future ahead of him. Lorenzo confesses he is open to anything, “Personally, I don’t think there is an end goal for me. I am just enjoying the process of becoming a model and striving to become a better, more confident version of myself. I enjoy photoshoots, I enjoy walking the runway, and hopefully I will continue doing that for as long as I can.”
With his next big show still up in the air, Lorenzo says a model’s biggest achievement would probably be walking the runway for top luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. But right now, “It’s more important to enjoy the ride to the top as opposed to wanting to be there or trying to get there as quickly as you can.”