When the FHM team was brainstorming about who to champion as the first-ever FHM Muse, a lot of names came up. Of course, with today’s roster of beautiful and talented Filipina women, who wouldn't have a hard time choosing a muse to best represent this new era of sexy?
The FHM Muse feature debuted exactly a month ago, and we made sure to find a woman who was alluring, intelligent, and dripping with personality.
That’s why Mariel De Leon—showbiz royalty, classical singer, actress, and beauty queen—was our first choice to kick-off this new chapter in FHM's story. We believe 25-year-old Mariel is a modern woman through and through: she's graceful, she speaks her mind, and she’s not afraid to destroy stereotypes.
The moment she arrived for the shoot, we knew we made the right choice. Fresh from a Euro-trip, Mariel had no qualms (and surprisingly, no jet lag) about the too-early-for-a-Saturday call time. She was all smiles as she greeted us with a beso and a hug. She excitedly shared the highlights of her tour, too—the places she visited, the food she ate, and the cultures that impressed her. It was during these discussions that we finally figured out the reason why people are enamored by Mariel: she has indubitable charm, an infectious giggle, and a sunshiny aura. And trust us, she’s not as intimidating as some might expect her to be.
During the actual shoot, Mariel moved with elegance. She nailed the poses—directed, of course, by photographer Mark Nicdao. It was clear that her background as a classical singer and beauty queen were able to help her be effortless in front of the camera.
Her natural sensuality was also mesmerizing—a trait punctuated by her candidness. During her interview, she confidently (and fearlessly) spoke her mind about pressing issues. “Growing up, I’ve always had my own opinion [and it would sometimes be] different from the popular opinion. It’s always hard for me to be neutral especially if I feel strongly about a certain topic,” she explained, when asked if she regrets being branded as an outspoken woman. Clearly, Mariel embraces those parts of her that allow her to be unique.
Thank you for being a breath of fresh air, Mariel. You're truly one of a kind.
Photography Coleen Oliva