A Victoria’s Secret model is facing backlash after becoming the first Filipina woman to appear in the lingerie brand’s annual televised fashion show.
Earlier this year, Kelsey Merrit took to Instagram to celebrate her milestone casting with her more than 914,000 followers.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, the 21-year-old said, “It feels like a dream. Getting [into] the show is a dream come true but being the first Filipino woman to walk in the show means I’m making history. The show is broadcast on more than 190 countries with models from 20 countries and I got chosen to represent my region. I feel blessed!”
However not everyone is happy for the Philippine-born model, with many people from the Filipino community discrediting Merrit’s hire for her “Western” appearance and ability to “pass” as white.
The criticism prompted Merritt to take to Twitter and defend her achievement.
“I was born in the Philippines and I grew up in Pampanga. I finished my school in Manila before I moved to the US last year. My blood is more Filipino than the ‘pure’ who have never set foot in the Philippines,” she wrote.