Feature: Ryan Chua Photography Model of the Month
Agency: CITY Models, San Francisco
I dedicate my first Model of the Month feature to my very dear friend Melissa Villarama, in honor of her recent signing with CITY Models. I remember when I first met her, she left a very lasting impression on me — charismatic, fun, and very professional when it comes to shoots. She knows how to make a photoshoot enjoyable and I have had tons of great moments with her. At some point, she was very discouraged with the way her modeling aspirations were going. Other photographers thought she was not model material, but I thought otherwise. I encouraged her to not give up her dreams and that I would help her to the best of my abilities to get her signed. She pushed herself to become a better model, doing her homework and keeping a positive attitude. Afterwards, she blew me away at our next photoshoot — she was totally a different model and hungry for success. I immediately signed her up for the LANY Handbags catalog shoot – where she proved to everyone that she can do high fashion and commercial shoots as well! 
Melissa is a perfect example of individuals who choose to improve themselves to reach their goals rather than focus on obstacles and doubts.
Our very first shoot was a swimsuit shoot in Ocean Beach. Makeup by Julianne Chai.
From our second photoshoot, all studio because the weather was terrible. Makeup by Julianne Chai.
From our third photoshoot: shopping, business casual meeting, and Victoria’s Secret-inspired shoots. Makeup by Ignacio Maciel.
From the LANY handbags shoot. Makeup by Ignacio Maciel. Hair by Shelly Ann Cross.
A quick interview with Melissa:
What INSPIRED you to become a model?  
I became inspired to model when the economy started to take a dive. I’d known a few girls who had been in non-speaking commercials and some print ads that made a decent part-time living off of it so I thought I’d give it a shot too!
Who are some of your favorite models that was part of your inspiration?  
Selita Ebanks (because someone told me I looked like her, minus the height), Jarah Mariano (because she’s Asian) and Marissa Miller (because she has a killer body)
How long have you been modeling for?  
I’ve been modeling for 1 year and 2 months (February 14, 2009 was the first time I stepped in front of a camera)
What’s your favorite part of modeling? 
My favorite part of modeling is during the middle of the shoot when everyone is cracking jokes, talking and overall, having a good time! It makes the entire experience worth it.
Favorite food? Favorite drink? Favorite Music? 
Favorite food: I’m kind of a food-a-sarus. I LOVE FOOD. 
Favorite drink: I’m a Cabernet drinker, but have recently been introduced to beer (model diet, i know, haha). On occassion, I’ll have Dogfish Head Midas Touch. Otherwise, I indulge in water 🙂
Favorite Music: My favorite music is 90’s RnB and old school Rap 
What’s next for you? 
Since I’m newly signed, my goals are to gain more exposure in modeling and to expand into bigger markets. I’ve always said I wanted to be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition but I wouldn’t pass up a Wal-Mart ad either…
If you could go anywhere on this planet, where you would visit? 
My current interest is to visit Machu Piccu, Mayan Ruins. That area fascinates me!

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