Karylle puts on judge’s hat for groundbreaking tilt for transgender women
MANILA, Philippines — Karylle has been a “hurado” (judge) for the daily singing competition “Tawag ng Tanghalan” on the Kapamilya noontine variety show “It’s Showtime” which she also hosts. Now she will put her judge’s hat on outside the TV show. But her expert ears will take a break as her eyes will do the judging for her new gig.
The TV host, singer, and theater actress was tapped to be one of the judges for “Slay Model Search Asia,” the region’s edition of the groundbreaking modeling competition “Slay Model Search” in the United States, that is exclusively open for transgender women seeking their place in the modeling industry.
The contest is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based Filipino Cece Asuncion, founder of Slay Model Management, an agency devoted exclusively for transgender male and female models. The competition has had three successful seasons in the US already. The winners earned exclusive modeling contracts with his agency, and the same prize package will be given to the eventual winner of the Asian edition of the competition.
“I wanted to support Cece. Slay is something that I’ve known about for a while now,” Karylle told the Inquirer at the sidelines of the contest’s launch program held at Revel at The Palace at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City on April 22.
She said when she did a shoot in LA with Asuncion’s team, she was amazed when she learned what his agency has been doing for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and others) community. “And the fact that [Slay Model Search is] coming to Asia, where a lot of people are very conservative, is a big step forward,” Karylle shared.
She acknowledged there will still be challenges, but surmised that with LGBTQIA+ allies like herself, perhaps others may start to open their minds. “Being a judge here tonight, it is a step towards that, another person who can see things this way,” Karylle said.
“Even when I work with children who are sick, for example, I always just look at them as children. So I think we just have to train our eyes and our hearts also to see people as just people, right?” she said. Karylle said having this perspective may help take away so many “preconceived hate” or “preconceived notion.”
She added: “I think it takes years to train yourself [to] see children as children, see people as people. And when you do see the world with those kinds of eyes, then it will be easier to love people.”
The first edition of Slay Model Search Asia has attracted 24 contestants from Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, who all paraded at the launch wearing slinky crop tops and shimmery shorts. They later appeared in glamorous evening gowns by Filipino designer Nat Manilag, who is also one of the judges.
The Slay Model Search Asia final competition may be viewed via streaming apps and on YouTube on April 27, at 8 p.m. EDV