Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine

Yassi Press­man’s brand of pos­i­tiv­ity is ex­actly what the world needs right now.

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Contents - BY AN­GEL­ICA GU­TIER­REZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAOLO PINEDA


When Yassi talks about in­spir­ing oth­ers with pos­i­tiv­ity, she says things that, com­ing from any­one else, would sound like some­thing straight out of a beauty pageant. But be­cause she gen­uinely means what she’s say­ing, it rings true and res­onates with ev­ery­one. A firm believer in strong friend­ships and good vibes, es­pe­cially when it comes to build­ing con­nec­tions with the peo­ple she works with, Yassi says, “It’s su­per im­por­tant for me that ev­ery­one is com­fort­able. If ev­ery­one gets along, it cre­ates a space full of pos­i­tive en­ergy.” The Ang

Probin­syano star is well known for her cheer­ful per­sona—ex­cept that it’s not just a per­sona. And that’s the thing with Yassi: her ex­u­ber­ance is real. “It’s re­ally the way I am,” she says. “I’m not pre­tend­ing to be bub­bly or happy. You can ask my team—with or with­out cam­eras, it’s the same. I don’t re­ally pre­tend.”

Do you think self care is es­sen­tial, or in­dul­gent?

For me, it’s es­sen­tial. Be­cause I al­ways say that you’re go­ing to be the first one to look after your­self and you’re go­ing to be the first one to love your­self. I used to think it was in­dul­gent. I felt like, “It’s okay, I don’t re­ally need it” since I’m very laid­back. But I don’t think it’s all about ex­ter­nal, phys­i­cal self care—of course you have to take care of your­self, your skin, all of that—but I think you can also care for your­self by mak­ing time for your­self and pro­vid­ing what your soul needs. For ex­am­ple, for me it’s ac­tu­ally tak­ing a break and go­ing up to a moun­tain, driv­ing, or go­ing to the beach. That’s very healthy for me. That’s the kind of self care that’s be­come im­por­tant to me.

How do you find time for it de­spite your busy sched­ule?

I ac­tu­ally don’t have that much time for it anymore, so what hap­pens is when I have a late call, I try to do some­thing in the morn­ing. Some­thing that makes me feel whole now is sports. For oth­ers it could be paint­ing, it could be yoga, it could be eat­ing yummy food, but now I’m re­ally into sports. I’ve been boxing for five years, then I stopped be­cause I lost in­ter­est. Then I said to my­self, “I have to find some­thing again to make it ex­cit­ing,” and I found mixed mar­tial arts. So that’s muay thai and boxing. It also comes with fight form, and I’m go­ing to start ar­nis soon.

In what ways do you feel MMA feeds your soul?

I al­ways look for­ward to do­ing it. If there’s some­thing that ex­cites you, it will also in­spire you. I used to think of it as just a work­out be­cause I would go to the gym to lose weight. Now, when I go to the gym, I have fun.

How do you deal on days when you’re feel­ing a bit “off?”

Sad? I was ac­tu­ally very sad last week. Bash­ers got a hold of me on a bad day and then it just kind of dragged on for a good three days, and I don’t re­mem­ber be­ing that sad in a while. I was go­ing through some­thing, and then there was bash­ing, and then I wasn’t very in­spired. And I was very, very, very tired. I was so up­set at how some peo­ple can be so brave just be­cause they’re hid­ing their face. Just be­cause they don’t have to be there in per­son. And then I watched 13

Rea­sons why, and it just made me re­al­ize how naïve some peo­ple can be about how hurt­ful words can get to some peo­ple.

You re­ally have to be care­ful on so­cial me­dia. I’ve read so much about cy­ber­bul­ly­ing and ac­tual bul­ly­ing. In this day and age, ver­sus my dad’s time—he was born in 1929—there was no so­cial me­dia, and you saw all your friends in per­son. With phones, now you come home after school and if you’re be­ing bul­lied there’s no es­cape. I just hope that peo­ple will be­come more sen­si­tive when it comes to the in­ter­net. So that’s why I was sad. Bash­ers are some­thing you get used to but on your bad days, I’m pretty sure it can still get to you. But I woke up one day and said, “Okay, I’m over it. I’m not go­ing to be sad anymore.” And I’m very happy that my team was there. They said “Enough na,” and they’d been say­ing it since the first day. So I got tired of dwelling on it.

You seem like such a drama-free artist. How do you stay out of show­biz drama?

I think you re­ally just sur­round your­self with good peo­ple. My

Probin­syano fam­ily is amaz­ing. My Viva team is amaz­ing. My fam­ily’s amaz­ing, my friends are great.

Are you the type who sticks to a squad, or do you pre­fer to have friends from dif­fer­ent groups?

I have so many friends. The peo­ple I work with, my glam team to­day, my road man­ager, my work­ing fam­ily in Ang Probin­syano— they’re all my friends. I think there are dif­fer­ent groups be­cause it’s not like you can al­ways be with your high school

barkada. I’m never re­ally in the same place a lot, ex­cept for my tap­ings. So my Ang

Probin­syano fam­ily aren’t just friends, they’re re­ally fam­ily since I see them ev­ery day.

What are your thoughts on the #Squad­goals men­tal­ity?

I think that’s cool, too. I think that’s good that you have a crew you can al­ways stick to, and it would be nice if they’re al­ways there for you. My non-show­biz friends have been my rock and have been with me no mat­ter what for al­most 10 years. So it’s good to have some­thing solid like that.

How do you main­tain all of those friend­ships given your sched­ule?

For me, it’s a given that friend­ships are some­thing you can put ef­fort into, but if you don’t get to keep in touch, if it’s some­thing real and some­thing strong, and if it was some­thing good, it’s never go­ing to die. So if you have a su­per close friend you haven’t seen in a long time, I’m sure when you see each other again, it’s still go­ing to be the same. My non-show­biz friend and I kind of drifted apart for a year, but then when we saw each other again it was the same. And now we’re still best friends.

Do you think it’s im­por­tant to have non-show­biz friends to keep you grounded?

Yeah, it is. For me, it will al­ways re­mind me of who I was. I don’t think I’ve changed much—i hope I haven’t. I mean, I like chang­ing for the bet­ter, but at the same time al­ways re­mem­ber­ing where you are and keep­ing your feet on the ground, since it’s easy to get your head up in the clouds.

You’re friends with many other suc­cess­ful young stars. Does com­pe­ti­tion ever be­come an is­sue?

This in­dus­try is very, very, very com­pet­i­tive. It’s

“If ev­ery­one gets along, it cre­ates a space full of pos­i­tive en­ergy.”

ac­tu­ally quite dif­fi­cult at times, to be hon­est. But I’m not re­ally here to com­pete with any­one. I’m re­ally just here to in­spire, hope­fully— es­pe­cially when I was danc­ing. Now I hope I’m able to in­flu­ence in a lot of ways, and share the beauty of life the way I see it. There are so many neg­a­tive things that are hap­pen­ing in this world right now. There’s so much we have no con­trol over, but I hope we can take ad­van­tage of what we do have. I’m so busy but I hope I’m still able to show my fam­ily how much I value them, spend time with my friends, and live a life out­side of work as well. Like I said, things that would feed your soul—i think if you can make your­self happy, and ev­ery­one else feels the same, and we are all like a huge ball of en­ergy that is pos­i­tive, and we help each other, I think we can slowly make the world a bet­ter place. I know it’s very cliché but as they say, for a good coun­try, it has to start with the home. So make a great ball of en­ergy; it has to start with one­self.

So it’s like your pos­i­tiv­ity is what you con­trib­ute to the world?

I hope so. I hope I’m able to do that. It’s fun when I get to read com­ments be­cause I read al­most all of them. Some­times I read even the mean­est ones but I push those aside, then I fo­cus on the good com­ments. For ex­am­ple, “I tried surf­ing be­cause I saw your post to­day,” or “Ikaw ’yung dahi­lan kung bakit ako sumasayaw.” When I post about my dad I get a lot of com­ments like “I miss my dad; I’m go­ing to visit him soon.” Those are the things that make me happy.

How do you stay above the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the in­dus­try?

I al­ways say I have a good team around me. I think it’s also be­cause of my dad. He never taught me to be bet­ter than the per­son be­side you. It was al­ways, be bet­ter than who you were yes­ter­day. And for me per­son­ally, I don’t like feel­ing that this is a race. If I don’t have that men­tal­ity,

“I’m very com­pet­i­tive, but I never step on any­one.”

I feel like it can be friendly com­pe­ti­tion where I ac­cept con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. But I’m never gonna push some­one to the side in or­der to climb the lad­der. I’m never gonna do that. Have you ever en­coun­tered some­body try­ing to step on you? If you have, how did you deal with it? I think it hap­pens. Not just in show­biz but in life, in school, and what­ever job you have, right? I try to not dwell on that be­cause it can get ex­haust­ing. I have a ten­dency to over­think some­times. But I al­ways tell my­self, “Okay, what­ever’s go­ing on, let it be. Just fo­cus on your own progress.” I don’t think

dedma’s the word be­cause you can rec­og­nize it but then stay fo­cused on your own goals.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m very com­pet­i­tive. But I never step on any­one. Say with MMA, I don’t let my trainer push me down—i keep on get­ting up and push­ing harder. I’m com­pet­i­tive in that way. When it comes to this con­cept of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween girls, there’s this quote that I ac­tu­ally just read this morn­ing. It went some­thing like, “Girls try to be bet­ter than one an­other, but women try to em­power each other.”

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