The Fil-Aus community celebrates the winner of the inaugural Miss & Teen Runway Supermodel 2021 event. The winner, Abrienne Macari has a Filipino heritage from her mother Lilian who hails from Makati, Philippines. Her father is Italian-American from New Jersey,USA.
Abrienne was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 2001. Her sister and brothers were all born in the Philippines. She moved to Australia with the family when she was nine years old around 2010. They joined her mother's family and her half siblings here.
She studies full-time at JMC Academy, one of Australia's leading private colleges offering courses in the Creative Industries. Prior to graduating high school she was a student at St Andrews College Marayong and Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School.
Not only did Abrienne won the title of Miss Runway Supermodel 2021, she also received additional special awards for Darling of the Brands, Miss Photogenic and People’s Choice Award.
Abrienne takes great pride in being of Filipino- Italian heritage and glad to answer a few questions for our readers to get an insight into her persona.
*What does winning the title of first Miss Runway Supermodal and the other special awards mean to you?
Winning the title and these specials awards mean a lot to me. I have a lot of family and friends who have been so supportive of my journey over the past two years so it was very important for me personally not to let them down. I wanted to make my parents proud especially my mum who has been amazing! She has been relentless with all her hard work and support and helping me work thru my challenges.
*Aside from winning the title and several awards in RSA, what else do you hold fondly in your heart as your achievements so far?
Growing up I knew I wanted to do something out of the ordinary like a Veterinarian and helping animals. Though that dream faded away due to me being allergic to most animals I’ve always had big aspirations to do something that will make my parents really proud. Achievements I hold dear in my heart are getting my second dan for my black belt in Taekwondo, being accepted into a Performing Arts High School, staying strong during my high school years, graduating high school and being given many opportunities to perform, both in singing and modelling.
My parents made a lot of sacrifices and let me take on board those opportunities to chase my dreams. I am so blessed to have so much support from my family, especially my parents who work so hard to see me succeed. Music has always been in my blood especially on my dad’s side. I’m very passionate about music because that’s all I’ve ever known.
*On the flip side, what challenges have you faced and overcome?
When I was just a kid in America I was bullied. I continued to experience bullying from school to school even when I migrated to Australia. Sadly, even at University today and because of this I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have learned that you cannot run or hide from a bully. No matter where you go, there will always be someone who won’t like you or something about you. You just need to learn how to turn that negative and hurtful comments into white noise and use it to better yourself. Never compare yourself to anyone apart from the person you were yesterday.
* When did you realise that your passion is in the performance and creative arts? which was your first performance in public?
When I was younger and still living in the US my mum would dress me up in designer brands and take me to New York for the day. We would go shopping and buy lots of clothes. I remember we would shop so much that we’d have to hide it from dad and take it out of the car while he was at work!
I loved putting on a fashion show whenever mum and I went shopping. I always loved playing with make up too and having mini photoshoots at home for fun as a toddler. I was mum’s little supermodel. My mum is the one who sparked that passion for me with fashion. Even for my Christmas present one year I got a Project Runway toy where you can draw your designs and bring them to life. It was really cute.
As for music I used to be very shy when I was younger because of bullying and my social anxiety. I started singing from a young age in the church choir. I didn’t really start taking music seriously until I moved to Australia. I remember I was in third grade and I was around nine years old at the time, I was singing whilst practicing guitar and my music teacher noticed I could carry a tune. From then on, she started teaching me basic scales like ionian and harmonic minor scales during lunchtime. She later included me in the school choir to help me get more comfortable with my voice. She inspired my love for music as she would take time out of her lunch to teach me how to sing. My love for music has always been there but her seeing potential in me is what sparked my passion for music.
*Who are other creatives in your family? who is the biggest influence in your stage performing journey?
My Dad’s side of the family is very creative. My Grandpa was very musical according to my dad but I don’t know much about him since he passed before I was born. My Dad was in a Cuban Merengue Salsa band in his early 20s and my Aunt’s dream was to pursue music professionally but later chose to go into dentistry and open up her own practice.
My cousin Rudolph (Rudy) Tanzi is a neurologist and night-time musician. Rudy is a Professor of Neurology at Harvard University.In musical pursuits, Rudy is a studio keyboard player for Joe Perry and Aerosmith. He worked alongside Will.I.am and Joe Perry for Rock Stars of Science™ 2009 PSA. He co-wrote the song tribute to Alzheimer's patients titled"Remember Me", performed by singer Chris Mann. He’s performed with the legendary opera star, Renee Fleming and enjoys jamming with Bon Jovi’s guitarist Richie Sambora in his free time. Last but not least he made the list for Time magazine’s The world’s top 100 most influential people in 2015.
I don’t really have an influence in my stage performing journey but for fashion and modelling I’d have to say my mum.
* If there is anything that you can change of what you have done in the past, what would that be?
I wouldn’t change a single thing. All that I have experienced in the past are lifelong lessons and made me into a stronger and better woman today. I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am today without those experiences and opportunities.
* What else do you wish to achieve in life?
I wish to one day be a successful singer songwriter and with that I would love to use my platform to bring awareness to Mental Health and Bullying.
I’ve also had a massive passion for fashion since I was young so I’d love to one day be a bankable model too. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to build a brand for myself.
* Now talking about RSA, what was the process of getting into the competition ? How many were in the competition ?
My mum and I met with Crystel and Lovely to sign the competition contract in Sydney. Prior to that I was a student of theirs at Runway Academy for a modelling course and Lovely at the time, encouraged me to join Runway Supermodel Australia for more experience.
There were about eleven candidates but over time as the competition progressed to The Pre Finals we ended up having eight candidates. Then by the Finals three candidates.
*What are the aspects did you enjoy the most in what you did in RSA? On the flip side, were there challenges?
The part of the competition I enjoyed most was making beautiful, life long friendships with all the other amazing candidates who joined RSA 2021. They will forever hold a special place in my heart.
As for challenges, battling with my anxiety and mental health was a big factor in my journey; however with all the love and continued support from my family, friends and fellow candidates, I was able to overcome, for which I am truly grateful.
* If you are given the chance to choose a fashion show that you could do and the venue to perform at which one would that be?
Probably one day walking for Victoria Secret as a VS Angel and performing my own music at Madison Square Garden.
*What advice would you give those who would like to join similar competitions but are hesitating?
Just do it and believe in yourself. Even if you don’t win you’ll end up coming out of the competition with more experience and friends than when you started. It’s a great starting point to get your foot in the door for modelling.
*Lastly, how do you define "success"?
It is the ability to reach your goals in life. These being goals for family, relationships, education, sports, finance and spiritual. These are just a few areas where I strive for success. My individual definition of what success varies but today I define it as being fulfilled, happy, safe, healthy, and loved in all aspects of my life.
Abrienne's parents, Lilian and Anthony have supported their daughter throughout the various stages of the competition to the end. At the close of the event, Abrienne's mother Lilian commented:
"I was so happy and in tears when they called her name as the winner. I am a very proud mother."
The Australian Filipina wishes Abrienne more success in her pursuit of her passion for modelling, singing and songwriting. No doubt the Fil-Aus community would love to see more of her in community events.