MY NEW YORK: JUSTINE MAE BITICON

MY NEW YORK: JUSTINE MAE BITICON

MY NEW YORK: JUSTINE MAE BITICON

Justine Mae Biticon skates through Prospect Park's Ice Rink and stops for some afternoon tea at Prince Tea House in the latest episode of "My New York."

Justine Mae Biticon skates through Prospect Park's Ice Rink and stops for some afternoon tea at Prince Tea House in the latest episode of "My New York."

Photography: Joshua Charow

Text: Sam Tracy

Booked and busy. That’s Justine Biticon, the social media influencing wiz and rising model who has defined the phrase since landing at JFK just six short months ago. A quick scroll through her socials shows a budding it-girl with a growing fanbase. Since replanting her roots from her home in Los Angeles, Biticon has blossomed in ways she couldn't even imagine. As New York's latest transplant, Biticon has been catching the eyes of every major casting director from Mugler to YSL after embarking on a cross-country move to pursue a modeling career. “I've lived in LA since I was a child, I was born and raised there,” says Biticon. “I had already milked so much out of California that it was time for me to leave. I realized that there was so much more for me in my future...so much more in New York” And thus, a star was born.

Biticon is one of the next generation of fashion insiders who are igniting a spark for greater representation. With Filipina roots, Biticon is trailblazing a new path for a more inclusive generation of fashion, refusing to kowtow to the whitewashed narrow beauty standards of her industry’s decision makers. “The biggest goal that I have in my career is to represent Southeast Asian women and Asian women in general and show them that they can succeed in this industry despite not having features that are normally put on magazines.” And the fashion world has been taking note.

With over 1.3 million devoted followers across her social media profiles, she’s garnered an audience that eats up her every post (not to mention she’s verified, too, which comes with extra bad bitch status). Whether it’s a hair-flipping TikTok beauty campaign or a bare faced morning selfie, Biticon’s comments are flooded with heart eyes, fire emojis and of course, “step on me”. But the 5’10 stunner takes it in stride—there’s only one thing she wants to step on and that’s the runway.

“God has blessed me with this height and I have to at least apply it somewhere. And I did not get bullied for 14 years to not do runway.” Watch this space because Biticon is taking over fashion in the Big Apple.

Check out the fifth episode of V Magazine’s second season of  “My New York” created in collaboration with Milk Makeup.

Stay tuned for new episodes launching every Friday here on Vmagazine.com, the series will spotlight NYC's movers-and-shakers as they guide us through the formative spots in the city that have inspired and cultivated their craft.

Read the exclusive interview with Justine below!

V Magazine: You moved to New York City pretty recently. How have you adjusted from Los Angeles? 

Justine Mae Biticon: I think the biggest adjustment would be the weather.  But since I was a figure skater, I'm a little bit more acclimated to that. I also think the walking. I have a really hard time walking around in New York. I absolutely cannot stand walking because in LA you're going to walk a couple of blocks to get to a place and here you take the train or you walk. Not having friends has also been interesting and trying to make new friends. I’m also trying to figure out who I am in New York. It has been a process for sure.

V: Yeah, for sure. Why did you end up moving to New York City? What drew you here? 

JMB: I feel like everyone says LA is really fake or that California is super bougie or superficial. But I think that's not true. I moved from California to New York because I felt like California moved too slowly. You have to drive everywhere to see people, you can't just get on the train and do something. But also, I feel like sometimes the quality of work can get a little bit muddled, especially with the over-saturation of transplants. When I first started modeling, I realized that there was this whole other world outside of LA fashion and I felt like New York could embody that a lot better than LA could. I've lived in LA since I was a child, I was born and raised there. So I had already milked so much out of California that I felt like it was time for me to leave and go. 

Justine wears Milk Makeup, on skin Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30 & Lip + Cheek in Dash, on lips KUSH Lip Balm in Nug

V: Like it was a natural progression. How did you first get into modeling?

JMB: There was this kid in my class and he saw me in the corner of the classroom. Back then I had long, beautiful hair all the way down to my waist. So he came over and he was like, ‘You're so pretty.’ And I was like, ‘Thank you so much.’ He told me I should model and I was like, ‘No, that would not be my thing.’ But then he asked me to model for him and I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ So we took pictures and they look absolutely nothing like who I am today. I used to wear blue contacts and curl my hair – it was crazy. It was from that moment that I realized that I could do something other than figure skating. 

V: And now that you’re signed with an agency and have been the face of a few campaigns, what are your dreams or goals in modeling? 

JMB: I want to do runway so bad because God has blessed me with this height and I have to at least apply it somewhere. I did not get bullied for 14 years not to do runway [laughs]. I also want a billboard. I want the Calvin Klein billboard on Houston Street [in New York City]. I really want to create Asian representation, especially Filipino, Southeast Asian representation. I grew up not seeing women that looked like me. Because even if they were there, a lot of them were very whitewashed. No one looked like my mom or my aunts and when I first started my modeling career it was very discouraging. A lot of people told me that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do because of my features. I think the biggest goal that I have in my career is to represent Southeast Asian women, or Asian women in general, and show them that they can succeed in this industry. 

V: How would you describe your fashion style?

JMB: I only wear black now. I don't wear a lot of colors, which is actually something that I might have to change once I get my footing here in New York. I try to build my outfit based on silhouette rather than off of a brand. I also try not to wear fast fashion because it's really detrimental to our environment. I thrift as much as possible and that's really great here in New York. 

V: You’re also a very prolific figure skater, which a lot of people don’t know. How did you get into ice skating? 

JMB: When I was 11, my mom was a caregiver and the lady who she was taking care of–her daughter was a figure skating coach. My mom asked her if she could coach me. After a few months, I decided to take it really seriously. From 11 to 16, I trained and researched everything about ice skating and really dove deeply into it because I felt like if I was going to go into that career, it had to be all or nothing. 

V: What do you love about ice skating? 

JMB: What I really love about ice skating is that I don't have to put on this persona of, ‘I'm this or I'm that.’ You don't have to be a certain kind of person. You don't have to look like anything. When you're on the ice, it’s purely about how you feel. I think that kind of transfers into regular life. It just makes me feel so free, especially when life cages you in. I feel like I can be whoever I want to be when I’m on the ice. I feel like I've always been this like really lanky, awkward girl. But, my view on everything is really romanticized. There's just some kind of illusion. Everything that I do, whether it be hobbies or other things, I really love being very graceful and beautiful. I feel like ice skating is just absolutely everything about that. 

V: How did you find a bit of home and solace at Prospect Park? 

JMB: I found Prospect Park one night when I was going out with my friends. I had just finished a photoshoot and I was kind of broke at the time. So I took a ride-share from Manhattan to Brooklyn and by the time I stepped out of the car, my phone had died and I ended up outside of Prospect Park, which was not the club that I was supposed to go to [laughs]. I couldn’t find my way home so I just decided to walk around the park. That time was really tough so I just walked around the park and found the lake. I was like, ‘Wow, this place is really beautiful.’ So that's how I found prospect park.

V: What do you love about the Prospect Park rink in particular? 

JMB: I started going there because it's actually so beautiful, next to the lake. [The ice rink] is also not as crowded as it would be in Manhattan and they let me do all my spins and all the things that I want to do without bothering me. 

V: We also visited Battery Park, how did you find this park? 

JMB: When I came back to New York before moving here, I had a new group of friends. I had a new outlook on life. I ended up staying in Battery Park, which was right next to my best friend. There was this moment when I had finally booked a really big campaign and I realized that there was so much more for me in my future. It was here where I got the news and I just started dancing and having fun. My life was changing and I needed to accept this change. That was a very pivotal moment for me.   

V: And finally, what does being a New Yorker mean to you? 

JMB: I think to be a New Yorker, you have to be fearless and brave. You also have to be confident in who you are, because if you're not, the city's going to eat you alive and I'm not trying to be that. I've only been here for six months, but hopefully, in like a few years, I can say that I'm definitely a New Yorker. And in that time, hopefully, I'll be more fearless and brave and confident than I was before.

Credits:

SERIES CREATORS: SAM TRACY & CZAR VAN GAAL

DIRECTOR: JOSHUA CHAROW

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: KALA HERH

FIRST AC: KELLEY GRADE

VIDEO EDITORS: NICK FREEMAN & JOSHUA CHAROW

SERIES BEAUTY DIRECTOR: MITCH YOSHIDA

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: CARLOS CHINN

SPECIAL THANKS:

PRINCE TEA HOUSE

PURPLE PR

PHOTOGENICS LA

THE WEBSTER

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