Tuesday, July 24, 2012


All three photos were shot for Cosmopolitan Magazine.
(Photo files courtesy of Karina Cabiling. Photo stitch by Meg for Scene It)

At first glance, you’d think she’s Nicole Scherzinger of the popular singing group, Pussycat Dolls. To some, she looks like Kim Kardashian.

Photo by Paul Borromeo 
of LeadFoto Studios
Karina Cabiling may be the lookalike of so many celebrities from different parts of the globe. Nevertheless, this 23 year old Davaoeña has made a name for herself on her own merits, and not for her semblance to someone famous. She has graced the pages of premier glossies, and has sashayed on the runway in creations by stellar designers such as Michael Cinco and staple brands of international leverage. She is one of the few Davaoeñas who has captured the interest of meticulous talent scouts in Manila, and, to date, she continues to bloom alongside a promising career as a professional ramp and print model.

Karina is beauty, with brains to boot. She juggles go see’s, rehearsals, photo shoots, and runway projects with her lectures and books in school. While some people would skip college degree to pursue their dreams, Karina is not one to let education slip out of her life. At this time, she is just steps away from claiming her diploma on Tourism Management. “Modelling has opened a lot of doors for me to earn, meet people, and appreciate the wonders of fashion. I love my job. In a way, it helps put me to school. I don’t see it as an easy way out of school just to earn money. I think I’ll do better with my career by accomplishing a fulfilled persona, well equipped with knowledge and valued experience.”

Photo by Ayie Hernandez
The family oriented upbringing and her level headedness are probably the catalysts to her surmounting success at such an early age.

Born and raised in Davao, no one in her family had any clue she’d end up in modelling. Little Karina was a shy one, though she did enjoy singing and gave it her best try. “I soon realized singing didn’t like me as much as I found it fulfilling. So, I resorted to doing private concerts in the shower every morning,” she quips.

She took the trajectory from coy to confident when she was introduced to a talent scout back in high school. Modelling was something she never did before, but a few stints here and there boosted her confidence and helped develop her flair to parade in front of a crowd. Her statuesque figure, standing tall at 5’9, accentuated by her mesmerizing eyes and cheshire cat smile, stood out from the crowd. The cameras seemed to agree, too. She became the favorite subject of top portrait photographers, and under the tutelage of Jon Nuñez, manager of Glam Model House, she made her breakthrough with print ads for a few notable brands.

From print to ramp. Modelling for Lulu Tan Gan (image on the left) and doing the ramp for celebrated Filipino designers. (Photo files courtesy of Karina Cabiling. Photo stitch by Meg for Scene It)

Photo published in Metro Weddings magazine.
(Photo file courtesy of Karina Cabiling)
Clever and observant minds once pointed out that she could be the perfect candidate to represent Davao in the Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant. Notwithstanding her appreciation for such complement, she decided to take the bold move to Manila in her late teens to advance her modelling career. With her brave heart, she summed up her all courage to face the dog eat dog world and diligently showed up in all go see’s. She blended in the industry with much ease, putting her self-taught skills to good use. Opportunities came from left and right, and soon she became a regular for top billed fashion events such as The Philippine Fashion Week. The rest is history.

(Photo file courtesy of Karina Cabiling)

As published in Metro Magazine.
(Photo file courtesy of Karina Cabiling)

Then again, maybe not. Karina has yet to fill more pages in her book. After all, she is only in her early twenties. What she has achieved now is equivalent to a milestone for those in her generation.

Karina discloses, “Anyone aspiring to be someone should first, and foremost, embrace herself. You should realize that you won’t get what you want unless you'll give it a try.”

For a person looking for thin-spiration, Karina shares how she has maintained her figure and glow throughout the years. “Healthy diet, workout, and happy thoughts. Sun block is essential in protecting your skin, but the real key to a natural and healthy glow is, simply, a positive outlook.”


Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1, INdulge section, Edge Davao newspaper, Vol. 5 Issue 102, 25 July 2012


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