Joey Mead King: Fashion queen

Kai Magsanoc
Rappler's Kai Magsanoc chats with 'Asia's Next Top Model' model mentor Joey Mead King on superstitions, pets and — inner peace

DEEPLY HAPPY. Joey Mead King with husband Ian at the press conference of Asia's Next Top Model in Victoria Court, Pasay, on December 4. All photos by Erickson dela Cruz

MANILA, Philippines – A few years back, I had the pleasure of working with Joey Mead King (then Joey Mead) in a fashion show series that took us to different places in the Philippines. She was the host of the show that had a talk show segment with panelists; I was the stylist.

Joey’s presence has always been strong, perhaps because she is statuesque and her eyes are expressive. Her strong Filipino-Persian features make her seem mysterious and even intimidating. I didn’t dare approach her even if I would notice her sitting quietly alone backstage while waiting for our event to start.

I got a glimpse of Joey’s depth and compassion before our last show in Cebu where we worked with local models. She took the initiative to reach out to the shy models who were looking at her wide-eyed.

What was normally boring time backstage became an impromptu modeling workshop: Joey conducted a catwalk rehearsal and taught the girls how to pose at the end of the runway, how to project, how to carry the clothes well, how to walk as if wind blew against their hair.

That was at least 4 years back, and Joey was already a model mentor.

Joey with Stephanie Retuya, the Philippine representative in Asia's Next Top Model

Joey essays the same role today, officially, in the Asian franchise of Tyra Banks’ reality modeling competition: Asia’s Next Top Model. The show airs every Sunday at 8:55 pm on Star World. 

I took the chance to chat with Joey after the Asia’s Next Top Model press conference on December 4 at Victoria Court in Cuneta Street, Pasay.

My fellow animal-rescue-and-adoption advocate was glowing, her eyes bright. The last time we sat together and spoke was at the airport in Cebu waiting for our flight back to Manila years back. 

It felt so good to be in the same situation with her but years later, now that we’re also older and wiser.

The smile that Joey wore all throughout our chat #GoodVibe

To reconnect with Joey, I set out to know 10 new things about her. Here they are:

1) She is obsessed with vintage — vintage furniture, vintage boutiques, you name it.

“I can spend many hours in vintage places,” Joey said eagerly.

2) She is superstitious.

“I’m the type that when I hear the butiki (lizard) go ‘tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk” I go, ‘I’m going to receive mail!'” Joey said, laughing. “Then I realize that no one sends mail anymore and go, ‘I will probably receive email!’.”

Joey said that these are things she picked up from childhood that are still ingrained in her. “Like when you go to an open field, I do say “excuse me” to the little dwarves — Tabi-tabi po.”

3) She is obsessed with boots. She would prefer them over heels any day.

“Boots give security and the look feels tough, (they) make me feel tough,” said Joey. “You know how clothing and colors make you feel a certain way? Boots make me feel that I’m not gonna fall over but I can still strut my stuff.”

4) She has worn everything, including nothing.

Nude shoots don’t excite Joey anymore. “A few years ago, I was asked to do a nude shoot and I said, ‘You know what, guys? It’s really kind of boring. I’ve done that already. Let’s do something different’,” Joey recalled.

5) Her personal style is eclectic.

“I am boho chic to rockstar glam. I am obsessed with patterns, and I do like that rockstar look, that heavy eyeliner,” Joey said. “And then (I have) those days when I like to have my hair pulled back in a pony, be in a slouchy t-shirt, shorts.”

She said her style now is borne from many years of being dressed up and being put in super tight dresses, long gowns and the highest heels.

“I prefer comfort so much more,” added Joey. “Comfort really is key.” 

6) She is a sale-a-holic.

Getting stuff on a bargain at more than 50 percent off the original price makes Joey feel better.

“I come home and tell my husband that I got something for P1,500 when it was originally P5,000,” she said with a big grin. “There is some type of pat on the back that I give myself.”

“I think it’s the hunter in me; also my antique-loving tendency where I am constantly hunting for that unique piece.”

7)  She can’t pull of any outfit made out of rayon fabric.

“It’s shiny, it doesn’t stretch. I am not stick thin; I have curves and you can see everything in that!” Joey said, eyes wide. “It’s one of the materials I avoid because I don’t think it looks good on me.”

“I gotta accentuate what’s good and hide what’s not so fabulous,” she added with a wink.

8) She is known for her vegetable lasagnas.

“I like putting things in the oven. I’m a casserole baker,” Joey said. 

When it comes to her diet, she said that she and husband Ian King always try to do the “holistic approach.”

“But there are some moments when we enjoy a good steak, then I may have two months of no read meat,” Joey said.

“Nowadays, junk food doesn’t feel good anymore. I eat what makes me feel energized and what nourishes me mentally.”

9) She is a homebody.

Years of living out of a suitcase have made Joey embrace the life of a homeowner and homemaker.

“It’s kinda passé when women become mommas and all they wanna do is be with their child. I feel like my home has become my child,” Joey said, lifting her hands to her heart. “It’s something I’ve never had before.”

10) She loves castles although she hasn’t seen one.

I posted a photo of a castle I visited in England 3 years ago on Facebook, and Joey immediately posted a comment:

Screenshot from Facebook

“I’m obsessed with castles. I wanna be lost and go to a beautiful town, just be lost, take my time, look at the stuff at the estate,” Joey told me, her face animated and dreamy.

“Smelling the bricks, smelling history, imagining all those families. I think I was some Romanian ex-royalty who loves tapestry (in a past life).”

There is something really different about being around a person who has seen the world, literally and figuratively. Joey exudes an energy that feels good, light and calm, and I told her so.

“I hope so because I’m a real b*tch!” Joey playfully retorted, doing her best to be mean but, of course, she couldn’t.

Joey flashes the Rappler cam a Kim-Kardashian-esque 'smize'

I asked her where this compassion comes from — especially for animals — and Joey gave me an answer that has stayed with me since:

“As time goes by, you see more quality in life, more quality in living and how we want it shared. It’s important to know where your home base is, where your foundations are because — no matter what happens in life — those foundations are what you need to keep you going. 

“Right now, I like where I’m at. I’m really hoping that I can expand more and have more to give. There’s something about youth that you get to be more self-centered and selfish, and as time goes by you realize you don’t have to be that way.

“You’ve got many walls as a young one, and as you get older the walls go down.

“And you get more of that (sweeps her arm in a relaxed and happy way) — Whatever.” – Rappler.com