Interview by JOHN LEGASPI
In the latest trailer of the upcoming movie Little Women, derived from Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name, we saw the March sisters express their aspirations in life. Josephine dreamed of being a writer, Amy wanted to be an artist, and Beth was gifted with a musical talent. Though the teaser alone gives you tons of inspiration to wear prairie dresses all over again, the biggest takeaway on this is how these “little women” succeeded in facing life’s challenges, together or not.
These tales of women breaking away from fear and self-doubt are evident in other works such as Anton Chekhov’s play titled Three Sisters and the rule-breaking Pink Ladies of the musical Grease. All exemplify women in control of their paths and even themselves.
Keeping the same mission in mind, facial care brand Pond’s launched its #SeeWhatHappens movement together with five women of confidence in fashion and in show business: Heart Evangelista Escudero, Nadine Lustre, Gabbi Garcia, Kathryn Bernardo, and Ylona Garcia.
“The fear of being judged is the most common reason for Filipinas to hold back on their careers or their relationships,” says Kristine Reyes Domingo, senior brand manager of Pond’s. “It was with this in mind that we are shedding light on the #SeeWhatHappens stories of our own ambassadors, confident ladies whom you’d never guess would have hesitations and self-doubt.”
Strong-willed, bold, and fearless, three of these women behind the #SeeWhatHappens movement sit down with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle as they share their tales of uncertainty and demonstrate to every Filipina what happens when you conquer your battles.
As confident as you are, do you get insecure?
Heart: Of course, I get insecure because our job is 24/7, not a nine-tofive thing. Our job is basically how you look and when people accept you or like you.
Nadine: I had a lot of insecurities when I was younger. It’s part of growing up. It is also part of getting to know yourself. Kasi while growing up you don’t know who you are yet. You’re still discovering who you are then.
Gabbi: Yes. Everybody has this phase in their lives, even me. When I was in high school, I would doubt myself, my skin color, thinking if I fit society’s definition of beauty.
What’s the worst thing people said about you?
Heart: I have people telling me to commit suicide, telling me that my skin, my face, my body, and soul weren’t good enough. I think I’ve been scrutinized down to my very soul. But as long as you don’t do anything wrong or as long as you listen to only to the opinions of people who matter to you, then you’ll be okay.
Nadine: The worst comment I think that was said to me was during the time na fresh pa yung death ng brother ko. They were saying na I wasn’t a good sister, I didn’t help him, and all that. That was the time I learned to open up to other people and decided na I’m going to use this feeling to help other people who are going through the same thing. That’s the time I learned not to feel bad every time people said bad stuff about me.
Gabbi: I get bothered by what people say to me at times. Because, even if you put it in your head na it doesn’t matter, it still gets to you, especially reading comments on social media. I think I have to work on that more.
What do you do to overcome those feelings and thoughts?
Heart: I believe that I kind of discovered a formula to get rid of all of that. First is to be healthy. I want everyone I love to be healthy and happy. Everything else is just a bonus. Second is to focus on the true meaning of life. You need to see things in a better light and everything else will make you smile. Lastly, never expect anything in return. It is nice to dream big and I do dream big and I do work hard for my dreams. But I don’t expect much in return when I put out something. When you don’t expect anything in return, everything will be a sweet surprise.
Nadine: I said this during my speech in Young Critics Circle Film Desk: “At kung pilit ka naman nilang hahatakin pababa at babatuhin ng mga bato, huwag mo silang batuhin ng tinapay. Pulutin mo ang mga bato at gumawa ka ng palasyo.” I’ve learned not to feel bad every time people say bad stuff about me. It is a positive play na at least I know what to work out, look at thing in another way, and build a better me out of it.
Gabbi: I always go back to my support group—my family. It’s kind of a cliché, but it’s true. You kind of always want to go back to your family. You go back to the people you trust, the people who matter to you, people who will tell you straightforward if there’s something wrong with you. When they compliment you, they’re sincere. It’s so hard to trust nowadays so you always need to go back to your guard.
How do you think Pond’s has achieved their goal in empowering Filipinas?
Heart: For us, the people in the campaign, we stand for different things and we’ve all experienced different self-doubt situations. Somehow we also allow girls to relate to our stories with having us talk about our imperfections instead of us talking about how beautiful we should be, our skin should be, and how perfect we should be. Pond’s is doing the opposite by showing us as who we are in real life, not me as an actress, not me in fashion. They’re showing my soul by showing how I paint. Showing that side of me is not always about looks and fashion. I love that about Pond’s.
Nadine: Everyone wants to look beautiful. But with Ponds, the brand encourages everyone na it’s okay if you have flaws. You can build your own kind of beauty from those imperfections. I shared my struggle with this campaign and I feel like it has opened a lot of doors kasi people were saying na if you’re an artista, your life is perfect. Like it’s all glitter, walang mali (nothing wrong). That campaign has made a lot of people realize that it’s normal to have flaws, to have negative emotions.
Gabbi: I was surprised when they called me that they’re planning to do a campaign about self-doubts, hesitations, and empowering women because that’s what we need now. It also shows that artistas are human beings. People can relate to us. People can feel na we’re not perfect. In social media they may think na we live perfect lives, but it’s not true. We have our own sets of flaws and problems. So I’m glad that Pond’s did a campaign that people can relate to.
How would you define true beauty?
Heart: True beauty means being content with your life, being incandescently happy. Because when you’re happy you don’t have to say much. You don’t have to do much. When you’re happy, wherever they put you you’re grateful. I think that’s good for the soul. That makes you beautiful.
Nadine: Acceptance and being you, not afraid to show people who you are. Right now, I feel like we’re in a world where everyone is just commenting about everything pretty much. I think now is the time na we need to be honest with ourselves, to just be proud. Especially now with social media, there’s a lot of comparisons and everyone’s competing to stand out. The only way to do it is to be you. Kasi wala ka namang kaparehas sa mundo, nag-iisa ka. (Because there’s no one like you in this world, you’re unique.)
Gabbi: Acceptance is the key. It is the key for you to be confident. If you accept everything, then you’re going to be comfortable. And when you’re comfortable you’re going to be confident. I feel like, if you’re going to change something about yourself because you feel like you’re so different, then what will make you special? What will make us stand out if we’re all the same?