Women We Love

"In real life, I feel like I’m very normal" —Sam Pinto

...but if you've been voted Sexiest Woman in the World twice in a row, you're probably not.
IMAGE Roy Macam
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Sam Pinto sits down at the table with a tall glass of ice-cold water, a necessity in this desiccating heat. She’s just finished changing into more casual attire after shooting the spread you now see before you, that shows just why and how it is someone can be voted FHM Philippines’ Sexiest Woman in the World. Twice. In a row.

 She’s been doing more acting than modeling these last few years, but this is familiar territory for her. A full decade of modeling experience, starting from when she was a child. Less familiar is doing a shoot while a gaggle of construction workers next door peer over the wall and roof of the house they’re building whenever she walks out in a new out in a new outfit. The sounds of construction noticeably cease, and all eyes are on her. She takes it in stride. She takes it all in stride.

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ESQ: How did you start modeling at such a young age?
SAM PINTO:
The owner of a modeling agency just approached me and said “Oh, you can model!” And back then I was ten, so I said, “Um, can you talk to my mom?” And they started calling my mom, and then we’d go to VTRs. I think I got rejected more than a hundred times.

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ESQ: But you kept at it. 
SP: Yeah.

ESQ: Was it difficult being rejected that many times as a kid?
SP:
Yeah. After the first few rejections, you’re like, “Should I still do this?” It’s so tiring to just wait the whole day and not get it.

ESQ: But it wasn’t a big blow to your self-esteem.
For me, not really, because I was just doing it for fun. It wasn’t really hard work being a model; it’s not like that. It was more of, “Oh, I can do this pala, so why not try it?”

ESQ: When did you start treating it as your “career”?
SP:
Oh no, I never thought of it that way. I went to college; I took up fashion design. Maybe because of my experience in modeling, I got exposed to fashion and told myself that it was what I wanted to do. So that was really my path, to be a fashion designer. After Benilde, I planned to go to London and study there. But all of this happened, so pause muna ’yan. I mean, school’s always gonna be there, but this opportunity won’t be here all the time.

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ESQ: Is fashion design something you want to return to?
SP:
Yeah. This is Plan A, and that’s still Plan B. If I’m not so busy anymore, I would fly to London and study there.

ESQ: Who are your favorite designers? 
SP: 
I don’t really have favorite designers because I want to be myself, I want to be original.

ESQ: Do you think of yourself as a model or an actress?
SP: Well, I’m more of an actress now. I’ve been doing this for three years, and everything’s really going well. And modeling now for me is more of being an endorser, so it’s different.

ESQ: How long have you been interested in acting?
SP: 
Um, three years?

ESQ: So it wasn’t something in your mind as a model?
SP: 
Not at all. I mean, again, fashion design was really my goal. But when the opportunity came, I told myself, “Maybe I should try this.” At first I was like, “What am I doing to myself?” I kept asking why I was doing this. Because I don’t act, I don’t sing, I don’t dance, but here in the Philippines you have to do all of those as an actor.

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ESQ: When you told yourself you were going to try it, how did you go about preparing? Did you do workshops? 
SP: 
I did a lot of workshops and I did voice lessons. 

ESQ: Is there anything you find overwhelming about it all? There was this sharp rise in your visibility in the past three years. It’s not common to see someone voted “Sexiest Woman in the World” twice in a row. Is that something that you’re aware or conscious of, being “sexy”?
SP: 
Actually, no, I never thought I was sexy. Because I’m not the typical... not one of those va-va-voom, big boobs, big-butt type of “sexy.” I’m “model” sexy. So winning that title, I feel that it’s because there’s this new definition of sexy nowadays. That’s what I think. For me, that’s just work. I don’t have to be “sexy” all the time.

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IMAGE Roy Macam

ESQ: What do you like to do for fun, then, when you’re not working?
SP:
I like to go to the beach. Whenever I have, like, two days off, I go to the beach and surf.

ESQ: What’s your favorite beach?
SP:
For surfing, La Union is still the best because it has a sandy bottom, so it’s not scary to fall. I tried surfing in Davao; it’s so scary because it’s super rocky. When you fall, you have to fall flat. You can’t jump, or else...

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ESQ: Is it difficult managing your time with your family and your time for yourself? Or is it all work now?
SP: Now it’s all work. 

ESQ: What keeps you grounded?
SP: I think it’s my family and my friends. Until now, I still hang out with my old friends, and they make me feel like I’m still that girl back in college. And at home, I still do my groceries, I still do stuff myself.

ESQ: Did they start treating you any differently? 
SP: Not at all. That’s the good thing, that’s why I feel like, eh, I’m normal.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2013 issue of Esquire Philippines.

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