It didn’t take a lot for the Swiss-Filipino actor and model Raphael Kiefer to stand out in a small city like Cagayan de Oro. Theater led him to modeling work in Cebu, where he met top fashion director Jackie Aquino, whose advice he took: He bought a oneway ticket to Manila and never looked back. A true veteran of the modeling industry, Kiefer debuted in MTV Fashionista’s Best Model competition in 2003, went on to represent the country in the Best Model of the World tilt in Turkey the following year, and proceeded to conquer Manila’s fashion scene. He then became a modeling agent and a producer of shoots—all a large leap ahead for a guy who slept on the floor of his friend’s pad for three months, waiting for callbacks. He says, “I was lucky I met the right people at the right time.” This year, Kiefer took on the role of mentor as president of the esteemed Professional Models Association of the Philippines (the fourth guy to take the top job in an industry dominated by women) and judge in the recently concluded Philippines’ Next Top Model. His latest evolution has given him a bigger perspective on life as a mannequin. “I look at modeling as a career. I hate when people say it’s raket. Models have this access to the industry not a lot of people have,” he points out. “Longevity can be yours.” —MARBBIE TAGABUCBA
Jacket and sandals by Paul Smith; Cat’s Paw chinos (P6,500), Buzz Ricksons bucket hat (P6,500), and UES bandanna (P1,450) at Regiment; eyeglasses by Ray-Ban.
Jacket (P27,650) and pullover (P17,650) by Diesel; eyeglasses by Ray-Ban.