top of page

About Nona Refi

Nona’s deep understanding of art modeling has grown from her lifelong fascination with the human body as a tool of creative expression whether in motion or in stillness. As a dancer and an artist, Nona reveres art modeling as an art form.


A dancer since childhood, Nona continues to find time in her busy schedule to stretch at the barre and perfect her tendu. This is a ritual she has maintained all her life from her birthplace of Manila to New York City to the Bay Area. Nona also teaches ballet in the Bay Area. Nona stumbled upon art modeling as a Fine Art major at New York’s School of Visual Arts and at the Art Students League, where she drew her first live models.

As a featured model in Nathan Oliveira’s “Dancer” series created between 1997 and 2008 and printed at San Francisco’s Crown Point Press, Nona has synergistically connected the worlds of dance and visual art as an inspirational art model.

Nona has served as booking coordinator and president of an art models guild for eleven years. Its business grew ten-fold by reaching out beyond the traditional sources of model bookings. Nona booked models for film, animation and videogame companies, and created a pool of talented and professional models selected from numerous model auditions. 


In 2004, Nona produced for the models guild a juried figurative art exhibit at UC Berkeley’s Worth Ryder Gallery. The show featured over 80 selected artworks by Bay Area artists, all based on the guild’s working models, and culminated in a symposium tracing the history of artist and model relationship from its origins to the 21st century.  This was considered to be an eye-opening event in the art community.

Nona also founded the ongoing low-cost drop in Berkeley Life Drawing workshops held at UC Berkeley’s Kroeber Hall and has organized the workshops for nearly a decade.

Merging Nona’s deep experience as a model, dancer, and artist, BAMA is the birth of a new vision and a greater enterprise.




“Thank you again for supplying the Masters Workshop with exceptional models. Things went well, the models exhibited exemplary professionalism and stepped up to the challenge of some difficult poses. We appreciate your help, and look forward to working with BAMA again in the future.”

    -Edward Eyth 
      Director, Masters Workshop
      Richard MacDonald Studios
      Monterey, CA

BAMA models Denise and Jennings with Richard MacDonald and participants at the Masters Workshop 2010 in Monterey, CA.

bottom of page