Little Miss Sunshine
Yassi Pressman’s brand of positivity is exactly what the world needs right now.
SHOT ON LOCATION AT PATIO VERA, MARIKINA CITY
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.”