Kelsey Merritt is living the dream. As you’ve probably already heard, the half-Pinay and half-American model made history, as she’s the first-ever Filipino to grace Victoria’s Secret runway, walking alongside Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel, and more VS legends.
Since the lingerie-filled extravaganza is premiering in a few days (catch it on Fox Life Asia on December 3 at 8 p.m.), here’s everything there is to know—and to love—about this 22-year-old stunner. P.S. We can’t wait to witness Kelsey kill that #VSFS runway debut!
10. Modeling wasn’t her first job
Before Kelsey was booking modeling jobs, she was serving a cup of joe! In a recent interview with the NY Post, the rising model revealed that she used to work at a local coffee shop when she was only 15.
9. Kelsey was scouted by the same man who discovered Coco Rocha
Fresh into her sophomore year in Ateneo De Manila University, the Kapampangan caught the attention of model agency director, Roman Young, through Instagram. Apparently, Young was also the agent behind the success of the iconic Queen of Posing, Coco Rocha. In one Instagram post, Kelsey wrote, “Fun fact: We both got discovered by the same guy who brought us together today @romanyoung”. Crazy, right?
8. She’s an avid Broadway fan
In the midst of all her #TrainLikeAnAngel fitness clips on IG, you’ll stumble upon occasional posts on the memorable Broadway shows she has seen, from the Lion King, Anastasia, Hamilton, and more. Lucky for her, Broadway is big in her current hometown, New York City, so there’s plenty more to see!
7. She moved back and forth from Manila to New York to finish school
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I can't believe I'm actually graduating in a few days!! 💙 I've been waiting for this moment to come for so long! 😂 I can say that one of the best decisions I've made so far is to finish my degree instead of stopping it halfway. Right after completing my second year in university, I moved to live in New York for a few months to model. My agency at that time asked me if I wanted to consider online schooling so I dont have to go back to the Philippines, and I have to say it was tempting.. But I chose not to. I stuck with going back to school, knowing I won't be able to be in NY for the most part of the year to do what I love. At the same time, I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for the choices that I have made. The choice was not easy, but no one ever said it was going to be. It was not easy always flying more than 15 hours and then fighting jetlag, going to work the next day, and having to go home after work to finish papers or study for a test. It wasn't easy trying to fight back sleep on the plane because I had so many readings to catch up on. God knows how hard it was to constantly fly back and forth New York and London while still in school. I had to miss classes, but still make sure that I was on top of everything. At the same time, I had no right to complain I was having a hard time because I was blessed with work. I was living my dream! People often ask me how I managed to do it, and all I say is that as long as you have your priorities straight and manage your time well, then it really can be done. Other people also think that I've missed a few semesters and I'm behind my batch, but that's not the case. I'm graduating with the same batch I entered Ateneo with. Now that I'm done with school, I can finally do what I want to do and live in the city I love most. Ateneo has played a great role in helping me become the person that I am today. I learned so much in Ateneo, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. AMDG 💙 Kelsey Alaine P. Merritt Bachelor of Arts Major in Communication Class of 2017 Ateneo de Manila University
When you’ve got a career ahead of you at an early age, it’s tempting to put school on hold and pursue your dreams; however, that wasn’t the case for Kelsey. Instead of stopping her studies, halfway through her degree, this Filipina managed to get the best of both worlds, accepting a few modeling gigs in New York while studying for her tests in Manila—yes, even it means having to fight back sleep on a 17-hour long plane ride!
6. She’s a huge advocate of going #PlasticFree
In fact, she has an entire story highlights on Instagram dedicated to all the little ways that she (including you, our dear reader) can help reduce plastic waste! From bringing steel straws wherever she goes to using washable cotton pads to remove her makeup, Kelsey is out to show her followers how simple and easy it is to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
5. One of her first major shoots was for Vera Wang
In between her busy student life in 2015, Kelsey jetted off all the way to New York to model for renowned designer Vera Wang’s Spring 2016 campaign, which was shot by legendary French photographer Patrick Demarchelier.
4. Kelsey is currently dating an Olympic swimmer
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I am so thankful for a lot of things that’s happened this year, but I’m really thankful for having @conorjdwyer in my life. This year I put a lot of pressure on myself that I would get anxiety attacks, something that I never had to deal with before. Conor was there for me, made sure I was ok, and was always just my shoulder to cry on. I learned how to be stronger because of him. We dont really share a lot about our relationship to the public and I prefer to keep it private. But I just wanted to share with all of you what an amazing human being this guy is ❤️ I love you babe x
Cheering her on every step of the way is her athletic bae Conor Dwyer, a 2-time Olympic gold medalist from the USA team. It isn’t clear when these love birds started dating, but Kelsey made the relationship IG-official when she started posting photos of their Japan trip last August.
3. Kelsey is all for body positivity
This stunner doesn’t shy away from displaying her toned bod—and even her stretch marks! Because, yes, stretch marks are perfectly normal and sexy, too.
2. Kelsey has signed to not one but four international agencies
Going beyond her hometown, New York City, Kelsey has also signed with modeling agencies in Paris, London and Milan, namely Supreme, Women Management, Wilhelmina, and Nomad; some of these agencies represent major names like Cara Delevingne, Fei Fei Sun, and VS Angels Behati Prinsloo and Lais Ribeiro.
1. ICYMI: She’s friends with Nina Dobrev
Social media went abuzz when Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev and Kelsey Merritt were spotted casually hanging out in Costa Rica, together with a bunch of other pals. A few months later, Nina showed her full support for the Pinay’s #VSFS debut, through an Instagram post, writing, “So proud of this girl. First time walking in the #VSFashionShow this week. She’s gonna kill it!!! @kelseymerritt #HottieWithTheVSBody”. We’re totally here for this blossoming friendship!