It was a regular day for 13-year-old Rita Gabiola as she roamed the streets to beg for change. But in one click, the beggar dubbed by netizens as “Badjao Girl” of the Philippines is now a model.
“Badjao Girl” became the talk of the town since she debuted on social media. Now, the young girl received a makeover from the local magazine TV show “Rated K” for her first ever photoshoot, ABS CBN News reported. “Rated K” wanted to give the “Badjao Girl” “an idea of how beautiful she is,” the publication wrote.
The results reaffirmed what most netizens already knew even from the earlier images shared by James Christopher Domingo. Gabiola looked stunning.
The overwhelming attention initially scared the young girl, Inquirer.net reported. Unlike other girls her age, Gabiola is not familiar with the Internet, much more social media. Thus, she thought the authorities wanted to arrest her for begging.
“I got scared. I thought I would be arrested by the police for begging,” Gabiola said. Photographer Topher Quinto Burgos spotted Gabiola in the southern province of Lucena, Quezon at the height of the Pahiyas Festival last May 15, Inquirer.net reported. Her “soulful eyes,” and poise, as the publication described, drew netizens to her over and above her natural beauty and slender physique.
This badjao nailed it without even trying.
© Topher Quinto Burgos pic.twitter.com/FO5SiJCEYN
— ＮＡＴＨＡＮＩＥＬくん (@dnpurz) May 19, 2016
A particular admirer who himself became the subject of social media attention is incoming presidential son, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte. The reluctant heartthrob, as described by Kami, revealed the looks of Gabiola is his type of woman, the publication wrote.
“You might be curious as to what my type of woman looks like. Here. Beat this #badjao #lumad,” Baste Duterte wrote.
However, beyond fame, “Badjao Girl” hopes to help her community and family. She also wants to finish school and become a teacher, CocoMNL wrote. Luckily, her beauty attracted kind hearts who are eager to help. “Rated K” host Korina Sanchez and the Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation granted Gabiola with a scholarship to pursue her education, ABS CBN News wrote in a separate post.