Meet Ford Model, Aya Abesamis
In celebration of AAPI Heritage month, it is with great pleasure to introduce you to Mestiza’s Tastemaker of the week, Aya Abesamis. Born in the Philippines, Aya is a Ford model living in New York City and taking it by storm all while staying mindful to her roots and the role her family played in shaping her into the woman she is today. Her mother was a reigning Beauty Queen in the Philippines and not only was her apparent beauty passed down to Aya, but also her phenomenal work ethic and professionalism. Read our conversation where we discuss traditions, summer in NYC, fashion and some pop culture!
Your mother, Desiree Verdadero, was Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 1984 and Miss Universe 1984 3rd runner up. What values did your mother instill in you and how did she influence your personal style?
I believe that this quote personifies my mother, “I am a strong woman because I was raised by a strong woman.” My mother’s power and confidence in ways of presenting herself and dressing up in any occasion has influenced me in who I am, to have the confidence to wear anything fit for the occasion and knowing your own personal style.
Did your mother pass down any of the dresses or accessories she once wore and do you wear them?
Absolutely and I wear them often! Growing up, she would provide guidance in finding my own style. She also instructed me on how to dress correctly for different occasions. The most memorable outfit I borrowed from her was her gown from the Miss Universe 1984 Coronation Night. I wore it during my reign as Bb. Pilipinas Grand International 2019 and during a press presentation event in 2021. I was amazed how it fit and that it was intact, in great shape. It was a gown designed by Renee Salud.
Aya models the Caicos Pearl Shell Earrings and Mestiza's best selling Filipino heritage-inspired style, the Elliana Barong Mini Dress
What traditions of your Filipina heritage do you hold close to your heart?Being family oriented, having the strong cultural value of respecting the elderly and hospitable, and being flexible to any circumstances that you may encounter in life.
Aya models the best selling Georgiana Gown
What are some Filipino wedding customs or special outfits that are worn?Yes! The Pamamanhikan or the ‘official proposal’ is when both bride and groom's families meet each other. Also the Money Dance, typically it is during the first dance in which guests tape or pin money to the newlyweds’ clothes, as a way to help the new couple get started financially. As for outfits, most guests dress conservatively in the Barong Tagalog (for men) and Filipinana, or a white dress (for women).
Aya models the best selling Clara Midi Dress
As a model, you wear a lot of different fashions. What is it about Mestiza that keeps you coming back for more?
First, I must say that all the boss ladies behind this wonderful brand are such amazing people and I love working with them! When I wear Mestiza, it somewhat feels like home. Mestiza shares something close to me and that is my heritage as a Filipina. The designs and silhouettes portray the power of femininity (plus their earrings are so chic!)
Aya models the Sampaguita Cluster Earrings with the Maria Midi Dress, coming soon in the beginning of July!
You’re modeling Mestiza's Maria Midi dress (coming soon!), how does this dress make you feel?
The Maria! I connected with this dress as soon as I saw it during the photo shoot. Funny thing, my first name is, “Maria Andrea”. This dress is lightweight, the color is so fresh, and can be styled and worn many ways: to a resort beach, a secret garden tea party, a spring wedding, or styled with some boots and a cowboy hat. This dress is very “now."
Aya models the best selling Vivienne Mini Dress
Tell us your bucket list for this summer?
The bucket list for the summer is pretty simple:
-Stay fit and take care of myself
-Focus on my new business venture, AAYA
-Work hard and save money
-Enjoy the beach and explore
-Learn! Knowledge is power!
Aya models the Simone Dress, coming this Holiday Season.
Where are your favorite outdoor spaces in NYC?
Of course the beach, on rooftops and by the Hudson River (or any body of water)—the island girl in me and my love for the tropics flourishes during the summer.
Aya models the Delilah Bow Sweater.
What books do you recommend?
“The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and “Clever Girl Finance” by Bola Sokunbi. I am currently reading “Clarity and Connection” by Diego Perez.
Any tricks for keeping makeup looking fresh during a summer heat wave?First things first, sunblock: a good lightweight sunblock is a must and you always need extra protection under your makeup. Next, keep your makeup fresh and light. Don’t forget to set it with a finishing hydrating spray (remember that a little goes a long way).
Aya models the Jody Midi Dress, coming soon in this Blue & White Palm Toile!