Karina Afandi: Indon teen model in Manila

THE willingness to listen, the patience to understand, the strength to support, the heart to care and just to be there. That is the beauty of a lady.”

Words of wisdom you might think are coming from a mature woman. But they are the life philosophy of a 13-year-old on the cusp of breaking into the big time in the world of modeling and pageantry.

That Karina Aliya Afandi, a first-grader in junior high school at Elyon School Surabaya, Indonesia, chooses to hone her catwalk and projection skills in Manila (by the iconic beauty Patty Betita) is an inspiring story.


“OUT of nowhere, last year I decided to join a beauty contest in my city Surabaya. It turned out that this kind of contest needed me to prepare well in order to win. Everything started from there, I enrolled in classes for modeling and public speaking, and private tutorials. I also studied about the fashion world, as well as getting close to the media. 

“All these preparations led me to winning the title of Putri Anak Indonesia Budaya 2022 [Princess Kid Indonesia Heritage 2022 for below 14 years old category].”


“SINCE I won the pageant, I have been given lots of opportunities to do some commercials, become an actress and be a fashion model for some brands. Some of them are:

“Taking part as an actress in a famous film, Lara Ati Series 2, which the first series got a record of 35 million viewers at Vidio, a streaming site. I also have done some online advertising, mainly on Instagram. 

“Being a fashion model in fashion shows across Indonesia for Indonesian brands including Eko Rudianto, Danny Dwa, Zriel, and Verraly. I also modeled [for] an international brand, Diana Putri Couture, which was named best designer at Couture New York Fashion Week and whose clothing designs have been worn by BlackPink.

“I love Ivan Gunawan, a fashion icon in Indonesia.  He is a designer, model, producer, coach, and other stuff that relate to pageantry. If possible, I want to follow his career path and do even better.”


“AS for my interests and hobbies, I currently play roller blades and do some shooting sports during the weekend. I do play some music instruments such as piano and violin.

“My passion is always and has been fashion and its world. Honestly, I haven’t thought about joining other pageants competitions since I am still holding my current title until October 2023. 

“I also go from school to school [junior high schools] to educate students my age to not forget our traditional games, since new technology such as mobile phone has almost replaced our traditional games these days.

“I am also an appointed ambassador of the Bureau of Indonesian Customs for my generation my age to educate ‘Not and Never to Use Drugs.’”


“I AM the kind of person who really likes to experience new things, positive things. I have modeled in some big cities across Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Jogjakarta and other major cities. I do have wishes to model overseas as well. 

“Since I was 8 years old, I have admired Catriona Gray when I watched her win Miss Universe 2018. 

“I dream and wish to have some opportunities to be a model of famous Philippine designers and become a commercial model for Philippine products. I will definitely work hard to achieve that.”

“I have been a fan of supermodel-beauty queen Patty Betita and Renee Salud, a great fashion designer known as the ‘Ambassador of Philippine Fashion,’ since I entered the fashion world. My Dad has a business in Manila and he has some friends to hook us up with them. “Thanks to God, I am given the opportunity by Renee Salud to join his fashion show in Tagaytay [on April 22].”


DAD Leo says: “As parents, we are always supportive of our kids, my daughter in this case. We always have this parenting rule, which is, ‘If you want to pursue something, we will support you 100 percent and we will put all the effort in to make you succeed.  However, you can not quit in the middle of the process before you reach your goal.’ That also applies to other passions.

“As parents, we will see her final results in class and also ask for her teachers’ opinions about her, not to mention her friends also. Most importantly, we always put her happiness above all else, so we always give her time to mingle with her friends during weekends or some holidays. “Since Karina is still 13 years old, she can not really do anything by herself. So her mom must always be with her on any modeling occasions. Her mom serves as her ‘manager’ to manage her time, events, limitations, going places, studying time, music tutorials, etc.

“Karina even has a special name for her mom:

‘Mamager,’ as in ‘Mama Manager.’”


“SINCE I am still at school, I need to be able to find time to manage my activities in fashion. I have my own checklist for my wishes in modeling.  Some on the list have been checked and done such as modeling in major cities in Indonesia, becoming an Ambassador for the Indonesia Bureau of Customs for Anti-Drug Campaign, and being an actress in respectable movies. “Next on the list would be modeling overseas and knowing and working with some international models. I also have to be able to balance my studies. Currently, I am also the class president at my school.”

Image credits: @karinafandi

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