If you watched the last season of Asia’s Next Top Model at all, you’d know that Maureen Wroblewitz has had more than her fair share of bullies. After being picked on for weeks for being “just a pretty face,” she edged out the other finalists at the National Gallery of Singapore to claim the title on the 13th episode.
We caught up with ANTM’s first Filipina winner a month removed from her win as she was on a whole day shopping trip at the SM Store in Makati. “Not deserving,” the 19-year-old says, when asked of the first thing she thinks about when she hears the word “bullying.” “I don’t know. They’re just not deserving.During and after winning Asia’s Next Top Model, you had a lot of people supporting as well as those who don’t.
I just really just focus on the positive things. I don’t dwell on the negative. You should just focus on those who support you and love you.
What do you think about the online hate that you sometimes get?
I don’t understand it. You shouldn’t just hate someone. You shouldn’t be so negative. I don’t block them, but I block off their comments in my head.
And as for facing the so-called “mean girls” in the competition?
I really wanted to win so I just focused on that. I told myself that I shouldn’t mind them and I shouldn’t let them win. I wanted to prove them wrong. That’s what I did and what I do up to now. The people who look down on me, you are my motivation. I’ll just prove you wrong.
Did you have a hard time trying to understand things from their perspective?
I don’t like to judge people. There’s always a reason why they do what they do. Maybe they feel better about themselves when they do it. You don’t know what’s happening in their life right now. Maybe they’re just kind of like trying to distract themselves and making themselves feel a bit better so that’s why they hate on other people. So I just try to understand them. It’s hard but you have to be open-minded all the time no matter what.
You were labeled as an underdog. How did that make you feel?
Well it shows that being one isn’t all bad. It actually makes it even better. Especially at the end when you get to show everyone what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come.
Since a lot more people are getting to know you, what can you teach them about bullying?
I can use my platform to promote and spread positivity. You really shouldn’t mind bullies. Just focus on the people you love, the things you want, and the people who support you. They’re just sad people. Focus on yourself and what you want to do in life.
How was your experience coming back here to the country?
It has been amazing. It’s unbelievable, and I still can’t really process everything right now. It’s crazy that so many people are looking up to me and are supporting me. I didn’t expect that at all. I’m just thankful for them for accepting me as the winner because it’s been said that I’m not really Asian and I’m not deserving. But I think what matters is that you know what’s in your heart.
Photography by Kris Cuaresma