Phoemela Baranda: Fighting her way to the top
By Anne Dela Cruz
People Asia Magazine 09/14/2006
She has made the successful transition from being a model to a television show host. However, there are just some things that Phoemela Baranda still needs to get used to. She still needs to get used to the fact that she will, in one way or another, be the subject of a lot of rumors, intrigues and controversies now that she is part of the showbiz world.
Phoemela, or Phoem as she is more fondly called, now knows that there will always be someone out there who will be watching her every move and pitting her against people who are viewed as her rivals. She has discovered that the showbiz world is so different from the world of modeling that she is so used to. Phoem started in the modeling world at the age of 13 when a talent scout spotted her in the mall and asked her to do a VTR. She was later tapped to do commercials for brands such as Nizoral, Pantene and Century Tuna. After that VTR, Phoem landed a modeling contract to do four commercials for Extraderm. Four years later, she started doing ramp modeling in Manila and around Asia.
"In anything that I do, I make it a point that I will do my best and succeed," she related. "With modeling, it just happened. I was young and I was doing it for fun and I got very lucky that I was able to become a very successful model not just here in the Philippines but around Asia."
She added that she was very lucky to have been able to follow in the footsteps of top models Tweetie De Leon, Apples Aberin and Tina Maristela-Ocampo, people she looks up to as icons in the modeling world. "We are all members of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines and very few models can penetrate tri-media – TV, print advertisements and ramp," Phoem said. "Tweetie was able to do that and so was I."
Even while she was busy with her modeling career, Phoem is proud of the fact that she was able to graduate with an AB in Interdisciplinary Studies from the De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde back in 2001. This, she said, was her gift to her father because this was the condition he gave to Phoem if she wanted to continue modeling. Unfortunately, Phoem’s father passed away a month after she graduated. She is sure, though, that her father passed away a happy man because she was at the height of career at that time. Only a few may recall that it was also in 2001 when Phoem had her first taste of the showbiz world.
"Not too many people remember that back in 2001, I tried for the very first time to do a soap opera. It was Pangako Sa Yo and I played the model friend of Ina, who was portrayed by Kristine Hermosa," Phoem related. "After a while, my character disappeared. But for (that) month (when I was on the show) my dad was watching me and he was very proud of me."
Phoem also tried her hand at hosting in Eat Bulaga with Derek Ramsey, but her stint in showbiz was short-lived and she returned to modeling. It was only in 2004 that she returned to showbiz and tried out as host for GMA 7’s Extra Challenge.
When Miriam Quiambao was set to leave the show, the producers came up with a series of episodes to search for her replacement. The episode "Ang Kapalit" featured five contestants – Phoem, Reema Chanco, Ethel Booba, Joanna Pe