How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet

How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet

These days, you're more likely to find Sanya Smith thinking up ways to clean up rivers than strutting down a catwalk. Here's why.

Sanya Smith is one of those girls that seem to almost have "IT" in their DNA, that sense of cool, that natural magnet-like persona that you just want to hang out with them doing everything and nothing. It's as if genetics and the universe conspired to make it so, that this girl would be just the epitome of cool. But in spite of her It Girl status, she's the type that would sit and have cake and coffee with you without realizing how cool she really is. Or maybe she doesn't care?

There are some people who aren't just lucky — or talented — enough to get to the top echelon of their industry, but are also able to easily switch gears and make a name for themselves in another. The DJ Sanya Smith has left the modelling world behind and taken on a new adventure: environmental tech with an up-and-coming company. She recently joined a Manila-based startup called Botcoin, initially as part of the marketing team, but has blossomed into this entirely whole new role she and Ornusa Cadness (the other half of the DJ tag team powerhouse the Zombettes) are still, as of this writing, defining.

The company is all about the new movement of cryptocurrency and blockchain, and even more interestingly, how these can possibly save the environment. The first project on their plate: how to clean or help rehabilitate Pasig River, the main waterway that runs through Manila, which is seemingly polluted beyond redemption. But they are on a mission to find ways to bring this once clean and beautiful river back to life. A very tall order, but one that in Sanya's eyes seems to be completely doable. She isn't able to tell us how just yet, but she is deep into her research (it was so hard to schedule an interview with her!) on all these different ways she and the Botcoin team were looking into use. 

But first things first. Let's start from the beginning.

How did you get into modelling? 

A friend had a modelling agency in asked me if she could represent me. At first, I felt weird about it because I had tried it in the past and wasn't into it! After my first fashion show with Rajo Laurel [a leading designer in the Philippine fashion industry], I fell in love with the runway. There was something about that adrenaline rush you get as soon as you step out on the ramp. Shortly after that, I was invited to be a member of PMAP [Professional Model Association of the Philippines].  After about 6 years, I decided to retire from modelling full time.

So why did you retire, or quit?

I quit for many different reasons, but mainly I was really enjoying DJing and I felt that it was just time to move on. I still do projects here and there depending on what it is, who's behind it etc. I'm actually looking forward to walking for Rajo Laurel at the end of October!!

That's going to be an amazing show; I love working with Rajo and his team. I don't think I'd ever want to model full-time again but I'm pretty curious to see what it would be like working in the industry's very different from before. There's a lot of new talent out there and production for shoots and shows has definitely grown!

I don't know how I feel about the social media aspect of things though haha!! I have a love/hate relationship with it. It's an amazing tool but also can be very dangerous. Everyone is so wound up in getting likes and followers, they're forgetting why they're there in the first place. 

How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet The Zombettes doing their thing. Sanya Smith and Ornusa Cadness

How did you start DJing?

It all started at Fluxxe Whatever Thursdays which was run by Gian Romano and Kiko Escora. If it weren't for that, party we [Ornusa Cadness and I] would never have been given the opportunity so we're really grateful.

Between modelling and DJing, which do you enjoy more and why? 

Probably DJing. Met some amazing people in the industry and learned so much from them... my world of music was never the same after that! 

How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet The Zombettes in their natural state. Photo by Brendan Goco

What's your musical genre, if any?

It changes from time to time, but right now I think I would probably be anything with a low steady beat and no lyrics HAHAHA! That's where I'm at right now.

What are the things you'd never wear?

High heels.

Where / what would be your dream gig? 

Probably Burning Man or Ibiza.

What are the songs that get you pumped up? 

Anything by Queen.

What inspires you?

My brother and sisters, my hunger to travel, and my cat Tupac. Haha!

How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet Sanya Smith and her cat Tupac.

Who would you want to collaborate with, and for what project? 

So many ideas here... it's hard to choose just one. Maybe someone like Lil Miquela cause shes technically not even real. It's weird, but pretty fascinating at the same time. 

Who are the people in the local and foreign scene that we absolutely need to listen to and why? 

Local: Bawal Clan has been making some serious noise in the hip-hop scene lately. 

International: anything on the Chilled Cow Youtube channel.

How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet The effortlessly cool Sanya Smith.

What else is new with you? 

Taking a huge break from the music industry and started working for a tech company with Ornusa! It's so refreshing. Check out Botcoin if you guys have the chance. We're doing some pretty crazy stuff to save the environment! 

We're (The Zombettes) are taking a much-needed break from full-time DJing and started working for this super awesome tech company that aims to solve the plastic pollution problem and also help clean up the rivers and oceans. It's almost like being a Planeteer except there are no power rings involved, only power moves. LOL.

Do you have any other causes that you're part of and want to give a shout out to? 

Robin Hood Army PH gives food to those who need it by getting food donations from restaurants! The Red Whistle is also all about HIV awareness in the Philippines!

How Sanya Smith Left The Modelling World Behind And Started Saving The Planet A study in pink by Inez Moro.

Do you have gigs coming up we can watch? 

I'm off-duty for a while but really looking forward to DEF in Palawan in November! 

Written by

Aimax Macoy