There are bombshells and then there are Victoria’s Secret bombshells. But model Kelsey Merritt is special; the 22-year-old is the first Filipino to ever walk the iconic lingerie label’s runway, a victory she shares with the country where she was born and raised until she moved to New York City last year.
“It means a lot to me and the people back home because they’ve always wanted a Philippine model to walk,” she says in her Vogue Beauty Secrets video. “It’s not just success for me—it’s also success for them.” What’s more? Every step of the way, from the rigorous two-step auditioning process to the final days before the show, during which the model spent time perfecting chin-ups, side planks, even her boxing technique, Merritt has been hell-bent on making sure her home prideand natural beauty shine through. And so, without further ado, meet the beauty routine Merritt did for her Victoria’s Secret casting: “I wanted to bring out my best qualities—not cover them up.”
First off, skin: “Listen to it,” the brunette stunner says point-blank, as she massages a mixture of SPF and a light moisturizer onto her bare face. Her arms and neck get a coconut oil treatment (“I love everything coconut,” she says) and her hair gets a dose of aloe, courtesy of her very own plant. After gently scrubbing her chapped lips clean with a wet towel, she applies a gloss-like lip balm to glistening effect.
Now, a liquid-based foundation that is a shade darker than her natural complexion. “I love looking bronzed and sun-kissed,” she says before blending it in with her hands, careful not to cover up her freckles. “They’re my favorite part of my face.” A shimmering stick that she buffs in with a brush, along the cheekbone, jaw, and hairline, and a concealer for her under-eye as well as her blemishes (she counts five). “That’s what makeup is for,” she says, dabbing away as she masterfully makes a breakout disappear.
A few sweeps of rosy blush, bronzer, highlighter, and a veil of nutmeg-color eyeshadow above and below her lash lines, keep up that naturally tanned look, she says. Then, it’s on to her brows, which she obsessively brushes up with a clear gel because “I’ve been told by a lot of makeup artists that an Asian gene is for the eyebrows to go down,” she says, gesturing to the south-facing ends of her deep brown arches.
After a quick curl of her lashes, and an even quicker application of black mascara (“wiggle at the bottom and then drag [the wand]up,” she advises), she mists her skin with a hydrating beauty elixir—her favorite product of all, because it makes her “skin look like skin”—before applying a lipstick. The color? The perfect fleshy nude because, you guessed it, “it just looks like your own lips.” And with a quick dash of gold glitter along her lids, and a light tousle of her loose waves, she’s off, to celestial heights no doubt.
This article was originally posted on Vogue.
Minor changes have been made by the Quiet Curator editors.