Manila Bulletin

What have your biggest challenges been and how have you overcome them?


I grew up with a mother who had mental health issues. The impact of that is very strong. It stays with you. I guess that is why mental health is very close to my heart. There are also personal things I go through myself. I recognize everyone has to grapple with something in their minds. You touched on feminism. When I first got in touch with SheTalksAs­ia, which is this women’s empowermen­t platform, it was a bit scary. When I thought of feminism, I would think about all these activists and I felt like I’m not that. I don’t see myself there. Maybe I’ll get there, but I’m a baby feminist. If you think about it, I could still consider myself a feminist. With my work on body acceptance, I still empower women in this aspect of their lives.

We are shaped by society. A lot of the programmin­g we have is passed on to us from generation to generation. As women, we are programmed and conditione­d to be perfect. To be perfect, and pretty, and everything. From when we are young, we want to be everything. The number one thing we want to be is pretty, because it is the number one adjective that people dish out to girls. People praise a girl for being pretty more than for other things, like being athletic or smart. Guys are taught to be brave. Theirs is a different kind of pressure. For them it is to be strong, brave, and macho, and just not show emotion. Women, like us, we get so caught up in having to look good. Your weight and physical appearance can hinder you from being your best self. Right?

Absolutely. That’s so true. You make such an important point. Another woman in my life told me, “Imagine how much time and energy you would have to pursue the things and people you

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