You don’t need to look at Carmela Tyquiengco for more than a second to see that she is—in the purest definition of the word—beautiful. The sparkle in her eyes commands the same attention as the island Carmela grew up in, blending seamlessly with the pink sunsets, glimmering waves and powder soft sand. Just like appreciating the beauty of nature, one glance at Carmela will make you stop and realize, life is beautiful.
Images by Manny Rona | Words by Joan Awa
Styling by John Cortez | Makeup by Michelle Dotdot
Hair by Christina Brownlee Keyes | Wardrobe by Tommy Bahama
Location at Lotte Hotel Guam/Hansen Aviation Hangar
We know we’ve been dishing out pageant queens for the main course these past few issues. So this time around, Uno has found someone who may not have worn a beauty crown, but is nevertheless as delightful and refreshing. Born in Hawaii and raised on Guam, 20-year-old Carmela Tyquiengco is redefining what it means to be a natural beauty.
The Sun Will Come Out
Like in the Maroon 5 song “Sunday Morning,” the rain was pouring. But with an optimistic model telling you that everything will be just fine, you start to think, “Yeah, it will.” Carmela’s radiant and vibrant energy was so contagious, you couldn’t help but feel like you’ve got the sun on your side. Eventually, the clouds did decide they have to back off.
Carmela, who was born in Hawaii, moved to Guam with her family when she was two and stayed here since. She decided to remain on the island even after she graduated from high school at Guam Adventist Academy. “I moved to Hawaii for school but I didn't like the whole lifestyle there,” she revealed.
As we wrapped up her hair and makeup and exited the studio, Carmela proved she was right: the rain clouds were starting to drift away. The team set out for the penthouse at Lotte Hotel, where Carmela changed into the long flowy dress picked out for her. We couldn’t help but pat ourselves on the back for choosing the perfect lady to grace our cover. During her interview, we asked if she ever got nervous doing shoots. “I’m always nervous, but during the process I’m good and I'll model pretty much anything,” she answered. She can add this to her resume: Through any weather.
From the Big Island to the Rock
Carmela continues to travel back and forth between Hawaii and Guam, making it a point to constantly visit her dad, who still calls Hawaii home. At one point, she attended Kapi’olani Community College, but decided it wasn’t the right fit for her. “I didn’t know what to take, and I kept changing my mind,” she said. She also took a two-week course at UCLA in filming and editing but became bored of that too. “I have to find something that I really enjoy doing all the time!” she said. After several attempts at trying to find a college course of interest, she finally decided to give UOG a try this coming January. Take note, boys, you now have a pretty good reason for enrolling next semester!
Her constant trips between the two islands is not just to meet up with her dad, but to keep up with her career as well at Larson Talent Hawaii, an agency that’s helped her launch her professional modeling career and book her gigs. Just this summer, Carmela was chosen to rock the runway in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Miami for swimwear designer Meegan Elizabeth. She recalled it being “fun and crazy. I was scared. I was like, ‘Oh Lord, I did not prepare for this!’ and my stomach was freaking out,” she said.
The opportunity proved to be once-in-a-lifetime experience as she joined the likes of Adriana Lima, whom she had the chance to meet during the Fashion Week’s Night Out event after the show. “They had a meet-and-greet, and the other girls like Chanel Iman, Doutzen Kroes were there, but Adriana was really dorky, crazy, outgoing and funny,” recalled Carmela. She thought it was a very humbling experience, being able to mingle with this top model who is highly sought after in the industry, and seen as a symbol of beauty for men and women alike. Oh, we know, women aren’t the only ones enjoying Victoria’s Secret catalogues coming in the mail…
All in a Day’s Work
Who said people from Guam can’t reach national success? As long as you have the it factor, opportunities will find you no matter where you are. Carmela thanks her amazing genes for giving her the chance of a lifetime. “My dad was actually a model, and for a long time he was trying to get me into [the business],” she said. Not only did he give her advice, but would even take her to castings when she was as young as 14. Often though, she was told to come back when she was older. “I was still growing then so they didn’t know how I was going to look so they told me to come back when I started blooming.”
And oh did she blossom. Carmela told us that she scored the cover of the Women of Hawaii calendar for the following year. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to be telling anybody…I honestly don’t know how I got it; there were prettier and more luscious girls.”
Yes, Carmela is not one to brag. Although she may seem very confident when modeling, she said, “I have a very low self-esteem, and I’m shy. But when it comes to getting work done, I’ll do it.” Her mom, who is just as bonita as her, is one of Carmela’s biggest supporters and her avid travel buddy. The mother-daughter duo even traveled to Fashion Week together. And when we looked at their pictures, we could’ve sworn that the two could pass as sisters.
Before her big boom, Carmela started off her modeling aspirations by booking shoots with local photographers. The pictures speak for themselves when you see Carmela’s portfolio. The versatile model can be seen photographed in bikinis by the beach, looking casually cool in street gear for Crowns or with just a close-up of her envy-worthy chiseled face while her hair is being swept to the side by the wind. Carmela’s passive attitude towards everything gives her the girl-next-door effect. “I laugh at everything, and that’s what I’m known for. I always tell people that I’m going to live 10 times more because I laugh more than anyone.”
The Ultimate Island Girl
Growing up down south, she probably has had one of the best playgrounds on the island. Carmela agreed 100%. “Merizo is my favorite part of the island. It’s where I live, and I spend a lot of time at the pier.” Damn, this girl just keeps getting hotter and hotter in our books, and to add on to this ‘wow’ factor, she’s all about family. “They’re one of the reasons why I decided to stay on Guam, to be close to my family, and they’re my priority,” she declared.
When she’s not on a plane bound for Hawaii to visit her dad or to attend a fashion shoot, Carmela’s working the tables at Mosa’s. “It’s owned and operated by my family so I just help out with that,” she said. That, by the way, is a really good excuse to run into this brown-eyed beauty. So the next time someone asks you, “What’s for lunch?” head down to Mosa’s for the best burgers and the nicest view.
What’s your bloodline?
I’m Italian, Chinese, Chamorro and some other little things…
What’s your height?
Has your height ever worked against you?
I didn’t think I was going to walk for Mercedes-Benz because I’m actually too short for the runway, but when the designer saw me and put me in wedges, she said, “Okay, you’re doing it.” I consider myself lucky.
Did you ever doubt your modeling abilities?
When I was doing the Women of Hawaii calendar, we all had a ‘lay-down’ shoot just in case you did get the cover, and when I saw my picture, I was like, ‘Okay…I am so not getting the cover.’
How do you prepare before your photo shoots?
I try to keep a strict diet, but I pretty much eat whatever I want. If I have a photo shoot, I prepare two weeks before or a week before of exercise.
Since you’re a model do you have a favorite model yourself?
I like Cindy Crawford; I wish I could look like her when I’m older.
You have some pretty funny memes you’ve posted on Instagram, where do you get your sense of humor?
I think I get my sense of humor from my dad; he’s really crazy, especially when we’re together, we laugh at everything.
What’s your weakness?
I eat a lot of sweets and it’s hard, it’s what gets me. I indulge in everything, every kind of sweet you
Do you play any sports?
I’m always walking, playing soccer. I play for Stryker’s Women’s league; I’ve played since I was younger. I love soccer. I was super into running when I was younger. I ran every weekend, and I did so many marathons and 5Ks then I started getting back problems and knee problems and even heart problems. The doctor was like, “You’re only 15 and you’re too young to be getting this stuff,” so I stopped.
So you play soccer…were you into the World Cup when it aired, and did you have a favorite team or player?
I was so into the World Cup. Netherlands was my favorite team. Favorite player? Yes, but I don’t know his name. He’s the bald one, he’s older. I don’t think he’s cute BUT he is a really good player.
What do you think is cute then?
When they’re funny, I automatically like them. They can be laid back but the humor thing is what gets me in the first place. Or they can look so dorky, but I’ll be attracted to them just because they’re funny. A sense of humor makes me calm, not nervous around them.