Olivia Medina in the limelight
As Olivia Medina—one of the country's most sought-after models, holder of the Century Tuna Superbod 2016 title—continues to bask in the limelight, she sets her sights on other accomplishments, including one that came to her in her sleep.
The sun is out and the sky is clear above a relatively slack EDSA on a weekday afternoon. It’s an unusual occurrence altogether, but it’s certainly not unwelcome. “You’re lucky, the weather’s good,” I am told by one of the people I was to meet that day at the Conrad. “Lucky” is right, but not just because it was the turn of the season, and every other day that week was marred by rain and gloom. Lucky, because sunlight falls well on Olivia Medina and her light olive complexion; and lucky, because on this occasion, I’m about to see her, meet her, and speak with her.
“No!” yells Olivia, when I ask her as politely as I can if I could pull her over for a chat after we’ve taken all the photos. So much for speaking with her. For just a split-second, I was left in the daze of rejection, like an awkward bachelor at a bar, running circles in my head thinking about what I might have done to offend this beautiful woman. But she quickly takes it back. “Just kidding! Of course you can!” she says, flashing a smile as she dashes back to the poolside to continue with the photo shoot. She nails pose after pose after pose, stretching her impossibly long legs, smoldering at the camera, tugging ever-so-slightly at her swimsuit. I run those circles again just to be sure.
If, on the same day, you were less fortunate than we were and found yourself stuck in traffic, you might have seen Olivia too. Since winning this year’s Century Tuna Superbods, she’s been on billboards all over Metro Manila, in a royal blue bikini, that you can’t miss when you’re inching along EDSA or SLEX. Apart from the exposure it comes with, the title is of little consequence when you considerthe obvious. Olivia is incredibly fit, her bod is indeed super—slim and toned and quite frankly, amazing—and it’s been that way long before she found herself on those billboards. In the four years that she’s been here in the Philippines, Olivia has been named one of Cosmo’s 8 Sexiest Models, landed several magazine covers, and starred in quite a few other advertising campaigns. You might also remember her from the cover of our July 2015 issue, where she stood to the far left of a huge Ringo Starr cutout.
“I’ve been really busy,” says Olivia, listing her projects and achievements since arriving here, her eyes lighting up as she gushes about how she is meant to be where she is today. The Filipino-Canadian (who is actually of Filipino and Ukrainian descent), grew up in Canada before setting out to become a model elsewhere in the world. “After a year of traveling Asia, I really just had it in my heart: I have to go to the Philippines, I have to see what it has to offer,” she says. “In the end, it was because of my roots, and it was in my heart.” She also runs down a bunch of reasons that she loves it here, the most confounding of which is her fondness for the hot weather and the humidity. “I don’t like the cold—I can’t even stand aircon half the time.”
Yet impressive as all these accomplishments are, Olivia still has quite a number of plots and plans she’d like to tick off her bucket list. “I don’t think many people can say this,” she says, squinting slightly as she second-guesses herself, “but I’ve achieved every dream and goal I had as a kid. I think right now in my life, I’m setting new goals; I have new dreams.” By that, she means literal dreams. “Call me crazy, but I had a dream one time that I enrolled myself into a school of art. I take those as signs, like maybe that’s where I should go.” It’s not an entirely unfounded direction for Olivia, who has always had a penchant for art, and used to take classes in high school, with acrylic as her preferred medium. “I want to explore more of that, since I’ve focused so many years on modeling,” she says.
Olivia goes on, about wanting to start a business, how she has been enamored by entrepreneurship, but isn’t yet sure about what kind she would like to put up. She dreams about traveling the world, recounting her trips around Asia and Europe, imagining what it would be like to experience the cultures of other countries. She even fields the necessary questions about showbiz, saying that she’s “keeping that option open,” and that “if the opportunity presents itself, [she] would explore it for sure.” All the while, she looks and speaks exactly as she is: an accomplished woman near the zenith of her career, on the brink of a breakthrough. “Change is inevitable,” she says, “and there’s always room to learn and to change and to improve.” Olivia speaks the truth, and dreams on as she looks out at an overcast sky.