Wednesday, April 16, 2008


“There is so much talk about Lily as a seasoned and articulate model, I thought that would be a good switch for me as the past 10 years of fashion week it's been about a different kind of hype.”
Charlie Brown (Fictional character from the comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts.)

It was in the 1970s when we had the first Persian “invasion” here in our University Town. Then, a political crisis in their country stopped them from coming to study in our city’s pride, Silliman University. In 2003 the Iranians started to grow in number again, becoming the second largest group among the 22 nationalities presently represented at Silliman (the welcoming colors near the Gate of Service are to celebrate the international presence in the campus by the sea).

Looking through the old yearbooks, the students from Iran then were not as fashionista as the present generation. The Iranians today go around town with statements from GQ and their simplest fashion expression would be the glamrock of today’s Hollywood icons. One or two of them present a glimmer of metrosexuality every Friday or Saturday night in El Camino or Why Not.

It was not really surprising news for me when I heard that an Iranian student from Silliman University won a national fashion contest advertised in Metro fashion magazine. I have actually worked with some of them in fashion shows mounted by Maria Havranek of Cuttin’ Loose. I feel proud that Pooyan Hasan Poor, one of the models we had at the Café Antonio fashion launch last year, is now one of the new faces of
Ray-Ban Philippines after having won the Ray-Ban Rockstar Model Search 2008. Happy to be chosen in the finals at Warehouse 135 Makati, a popular gimmick place, last April 5, Mechanical Engineering junior student Pooyan is thankful to the force behind
the glory: his girlfriend Ann Margarette Viente, a senior Mass Communication student of Silliman who was the photographer of the fashion profile they submitted through e-mail. Ann’s lovely self-portrait also had her in the Top Ten finalists. But it was her shot of her handsome boyfriend in a soaring animation that got the nod of the judges. The portrait that captured the win means a lot to Ann for it could be her launchpad to a possible career in fashion photography.
So proud of their achievement, I took time to have the goodlooking couple in an interview:
Mojo: Back home in Iran , did you have experience in modeling?
Pooyan: No, because situation in Iran is much different compared here in the Philippines.
Mojo: Beauty concepts vary from culture to culture; what is your concept of a male beauty?
Pooyan: For men, it’s not enough to just have good physical looks; what makes the package complete is the power of mind and good personality.
Mojo: Were you popular with girls back in high school?
Pooyan: Yes, I guess.
Mojo: How was the Ray-Ban experience?
Pooyan: I’m happy that I was able to represent Silliman University and Dumaguete City in the awarding night because some of the people there were not familiar with our place.
Mojo: Ann, do you consider yourself an experienced photographer?
Ann: I’m not that experienced. I started delving into photography in 2005 –it was purely experimental. I never had formal lessons in photography. I greatly rely on my own artistic instincts. It’s a combination of a skillful hand and an imaginative mind.
Mojo: What's your preference, being the subject of the photo or being the one behind the camera?
Ann: Both. However, it’s often hard for me to just plainly follow what the photographer would instruct me to do. Once I’m into it, I just can’t help but inject my own ideas. On the other hand, I also love photography and I totally enjoy doing it especially if the subject can portray my desired concept well. I may be a perfectionist at times, but I’m easy to work with.
Mojo: Do you have plans of becoming a professional photographer?
Ann: Yes. Hearing people’s appreciation of my works is actually the main aspect that convinces me to push through with this.
Mojo: You are a beautiful Filipina, but does one have to be as beautiful as you to be a good subject in a shoot?
Ann: We are all beautiful. Picking a model for a photo shoot would basically depend on the theme. Anyhow, I always work on making my subject feel comfortable during each shoot.
We say thank you to Pooyan and his friends from home for the added handsome presence in our University Town. But our Iranian friends could actually be the ones who are more thankful that Dumaguete’s welcoming public has an eye for culture and fashion – and in this Ray-Ban glory, we also thank Ann for such an excellent representation.

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