kelsey merrit
Photo: Kelsey Merritt Instagram and @_dianakris Twitter

Kelsey Merritt Is Being Called Out For Not Looking Filipino Enough

Kelsey Merritt is being called out for not looking Filipino enough by the online community. This comes at a time when Kelsey Merritt will become the first Filipino model to walk the Victoria Secret Annual Fashion Show later on in 2018. The half white half Filipino, 21-year-old model who was born in the Philippines and got her modeling career on Instagram quickly rose to fame and even tweeted out that her dream modeling career was to be a Victoria Secret Model. Just a year later her wish came true. Merritt who proudly claims her Filipino heritage got the support of many in the Filipino community but there were some who believed she didn’t represent what a true Filipina looked like.

On September 7, 2018, Kelsey Merritt got the call from Victoria’s Secret that she would walk the 2018 Victoria Secret Annual Fashion Show. She posted on her Twitter a picture of her in tears holding flowers with the words, “WE DID IT PHILIPPINES!!!!!”

She then posted up a video of her receiving the news.

The congratulations poured in from her fans with some saying, “I’ve been waiting for this, someone from the Philippines will be IN VS!” and “Your beauty and humility are so genuine which made us Filipinos very proud of you.”

Kelsey Merritt congratulation tweets


kelsey merritt congratulations tweets

kelsey merrritt congratulations tweets


But Merrit was called out by some who believed this just further perpetuated European beauty standards and this wasn’t actually a win for diversity. @_dianakris tweeted, “Y’all only celebrate diversity when it’s somebody who has European features – Why do y’all consistently get Filipinos who look European to represent us? Media is so quick to praise Kelsey for being the first Filipina to walk VS but are you honestly surprised?” 

Kelsey Merritt backlash tweets

@chrisOOk tweeted, “She looks white lol”.

Kelsey Merritt backlash tweets

kelsey merritt backlash tweets

kelsey merritt backlash tweets

@ababaneil_ tweeted “hiiii. i don’t think people are mad @ kelsey meritt (is that how you spell her name???) I think people just want MORE representation of PURE filipinas without the eurocentric features and i think people just kind of got “mad” because most of us still think that being matangos + maputi or being half-foreign is the standard beauty??? pero i just think that??? i might be wrong”

kelsey merritt backlash tweets

kelsey merritt backlash tweets

Kelsey Merritt got wind of what people were saying and she tweeted out her response.

kelsey merritt tweets back

Which translates to, “I was born in the Philippines and raised in Pampanga. I finished my studies in Manila before I moved to the US last year. I’m more Pinoy than even people who are blood “pure” who never stepped on the Philipines. I love my country and I’m proud of where I came from.”

And many came to her defense. @karlzachary_ tweeted, “i think people are really unfair to Kelsey Merritt. She lived in the Philippines, studied there, speaks Filipino, advocates for good causes, and doesn’t shy away from her cultural identity. Yet some of you wanna shame her because she shares a few features of Westerners.”

people defending Kelsey Merritt

people defending Kelsey Merritt

@Gabe_Legaspi tweeted, “Kelsey Merritt having eurocentric features doesn’t take away the fact that she actually identifies as Filipino & grew up in the Philippines. That’s a whole lot better than how twitter forces brown Fil-Ams as the token Fil rep when they don’t know s**t about Filipino culture.”

people defending Kelsey Merritt people defending Kelsey Merritt

@CaliforniaMaqui tweeted, “People are clamoring for representation in a realm where it’s not necessary. @kelsmerritt got in a fashion show. Not a film where she plays a Filipina, nor a pageant as “Ms. Philippines”- AND YET, she dedicated the achievement to her home country. What more do you want?”

people defending Kelsey Merritt

Let’s be honest. Kelsey being half white has certainly helped her career and European beauty standards are held on a pedestal. However, Merritt proudly wears her Filipino side. At no point has she been embarrassed by it or tried to hide it. She was born in the Philipines and got her Communications degree at Ateneo de Manila University. She only moved to the United States to further her modeling career. So I got to say she’s as authenticate a Filipina as a Filipina DJ nurse telling people how good adobo is.

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