by Maan D’Asis Pamaran
Allison Harvard’s stiletto heels are now considered as firmly planted in the fashion industry, after emerging as runner-up for both “America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12” and “America’s Next Top Model All-Stars.” The usual model adjectives such as “fierce” and “glam” fit her slim frame like a glove, as do the designer outfits she gets to wear for her shoots and catwalk stints.
She is currently in the country as the host/judge of the ETC show “Mega Fashion Crew Reloaded,” where week after week, she dishes out style advice to those who want to start making a mark in the local industry.
The MB team recently caught up with Allison for an exclusive interview, where she spilled some of her beauty and fitness secrets that fashion fans should take to heart. Her first surprise was a big one – she of the waif-like figure loves to eat. “It is super good to eat healthy and I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, grilled fish and grilled chicken. It is a great thing to do — but I’m not trying to never eat pizza again,” she laughs. “I love cakes, and pretty much everything that’s bad for you. Plus, here in the Philippines, every time I order something, I ask ‘can I have it grilled?’ and they say yes but add, ‘but we can fry it…’” she gives a naughty grin to illustrate that she often goes for the latter option. “In fact, I can’t wait to eat a lot after this shoot!” she gestures to her body-hugging outfit, and laughs heartily again.
To burn off those calories, Allison does not have a regular fitness routine, but would rather hit the pavement to walk the pounds off. “I love to walk! It is a little bit harder here, not as much as in New York or California, so I just eat the right amount of food, so I don’t have to necessarily worry about having to go to the gym. But there’s a gym at the place where I am staying here, so I walk a mile or two — a couple of miles a week and just try to eat healthy as much as I can. When I am working, and I know I am going to be busy, I maintain a healthy diet. That’s what I‘ve been doing for years, and it works for me,” she grins.
She gives a few tips on skin and hair care as well. “For the skin, the key word is moisturizer. I wish that I had known about moisturizers earlier on – and the need to take off your makeup before going to sleep. I used to sleep with makeup on!” she gives a tiny grimace. “Always remember to wash your face and moisturize. I don’t really go under the sun – I’m a ghost!” she jokes. “As for my hair, I have been doing my hair for so long, even on shoots, just because I know the routine of it so I can do it really quickly. When I go blonde, I go for lavender shampoos, to keep the brassy color from coming back.”
Her beautiful blue eyes get really big and round when she is asked if she feels pressured to look good at all times. “I would say yes and no. It’s still a weird feeling, because I’ll never get used to people who stop and stare. I am quite shy about it. Nothing about that will ever seem normal to me, especially when I am not working. But it comes with the territory. I am super flattered by it, but have trouble showing it. When caught off guard, I sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable.”
What she does is to make sure that she is always well-groomed and presentable. One of the things she does is to have clean nails, which she admits comes as a challenge. “I am such a tomboy when it comes to nails! My mom once made me get a manicure before Homecoming, and by night time, I had already scratched the color off! If you are in the fashion industry or on TV, you have to have a clean presentation, whether you go for crazy nail colors or not. I prefer a nice clear coat on my nails or sometimes those nail art things. It is always nice to have a manicure, though I‘m really bad at keeping it on!”
It is perfectly understandable that her pretty Posh Nails manicure won’t stay on for long, as she keeps busy with her art during her downtime. “I do commissioned paintings. Painting is both a hobby and a side job, and it is really fun for me. I didn’t take formal lessons, but my mom was an art teacher, we were always doing arts and crafts growing up. I feel like I am bad with words – I stumble over words a lot, but I feel so comfortable with painting and drawing.”
Her art is solitary work, and she says it sort of suits her personality. “I am really laid-back, relaxed kind of person. That is how I enjoy being, I guess. It is fun to play dress up – I’ve done that my whole life and I’d still do that in my room by myself. But I also really value simplicity and clean style.” She adds, “There is nothing wrong with not being the loudest person in the room, oftentimes not saying a lot is saying quite a bit. There is a misconception that you have to be literally the loudest person n the room to be the center of attention. A little mystery is a wonderful thing… people have to be a certain way to be extroverted or outgoing, but I think it is totally ok to be a little shy or a little more soft-spoken.”
Another thing that she emphasizes being okay with is your own body type. “I think that there are so many different shapes for women and I think each of them are honestly so beautiful and many people feel the same way. You are only given one body, take care of it and treat it as such.”
Yes, she says that magazines give an image of what a woman should look like, but, “there is a difference between a magazine and real life. Nobody wakes up with their hair and makeup done and their face and body photoshopped. It’s a fantasy. It’s fun and exciting to play dress up, but don’t think that it is real. Be happy with yourself.”
Inner beauty is sexy, she adds. “What makes a woman sexy is confidence, cliché and cheesy as it sounds, you can’t fake confidence. When you are comfortable with yourself, happy with yourself, and you know that you are valuable, it resonates with people and they are drawn to that. I think being confident is also having a strong backbone, and not falling apart the moment you hear something you don’t like. Knowing what you want and knowing what you don’t want is also good.”