And Baby Comes Along

For Adrien and Is­abelle Daza- Sem­blat, it was a friend­ship that tran­si­tioned into love, and cul­mi­nated in a beau­ti­ful wed­ding T oday they are start­ing a new chap­ter to­gether, with a beau­ti­ful baby boy

Philippine Tatler - - CONTENTS - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AND ART DI­REC­TION BJ PAS­CUAL STYLING MONIQUE MAD­SEN SET DESIGN JUS­TINE ARCEGA-BUMANLAG WORDS MJ JOSE

Adrien and Is­abelle Daza- Sem­blat talk about en­ter­ing the next phase of their lives to­gether: par­ent­hood

RARELY DOES INLIFE EV­ERY­THING GO PER­FECTLY AC­CORD­ING TO PLAN

—and, on oc­ca­sion, for good rea­son, too. When Adrien Sem­blat and Is­abelle Daza­Sem­blat crossed paths a decade ago, fall­ing in love was the fur­thest thing on both of their minds. Is­abelle, who, at the time, was work­ing on build­ing a promis­ing ca­reer in show busi­ness, was not look­ing for any­thing long-term. Adrien, who had just moved to the Philip­pines from his na­tive France, was pre­oc­cu­pied with nav­i­gat­ing his way through a for­eign coun­try while start­ing a new chap­ter in his ca­reer. But as fate would have it, they wound up at the same so­cial g ather­ing and clicked al­most in­stantly. “Belle was in a group of beau­ti­ful women when I first saw her, but she was the one I was most cap­ti­vated by,” says Adrien. “I did not come her e look­ing for love; but life has a way of having you meet your spe­cial per­son when you least ex­pect it. And find­ing Belle was a pleas­ant sur­prise.” In April of this year, the cou­ple wel­comed their first­born, Balt­hazar Gabriel “Baltie” Daza Sem­blat (who was named af­ter Is­abelle’s late fa­ther), into the world. “Our lit­tle guy, too, was un­planned,” Is­abelle shares. “Adrien and I have been to­gether for a good num­ber of years; we ex­pe­ri­enced so much great things as a cou­ple, which is why we didn’t re­alise that it was pos­si­ble for us to be hap­pier than we al­ready were un­til Baltie came along. But life does get so much bet­ter with a baby—even though he keeps you up at night some­times.”

A PER­FECT MATCH

An all-around cool girl with a passion for fit­ness, ac­tress, host, and en­tre­pre­neur Is­abelle was a tomboy grow­ing up, of­ten play­ing foot­ball and bas­ket­ball with her cousins when not in school. She was ini­tially drawn to show busi­ness by the prof­its she would reap, but even­tu­ally grew to en­joy it be­cause it gave her a plat­form by which she could en­ter­tain oth­ers. Aside from her host­ing and act­ing gigs, Is­abelle is a part­ner at ind oor cy­cling stu­dio Ride Rev­o­lu­tion and mo­bile gam­ing com­pany Xeleb Tech­nolo­gies.

Adrien grew up in a small vil­lag e in Al­sace, spend­ing most of his child­hood look­ing af­ter his sib­lings ( he is the el­dest of five chil­dren) and, much like his other half, play­ing sports. He was 28 years old when he left France to take up the post of gen­eral man­ager for Adi­das Philip­pines, sol­dier­ing on de­spite feel­ing home­sick in a coun­try where he knew no one, miles apart from his fam­ily.

Though she gave him a bit of a har d time in the be­gin­ning (“I even brought Bea [So­ri­anoDee] to ac­com­pany me on our first dat e!” she shares), Is­abelle found her­self en­joy­ing Adrien’s com­pany. She liked that they shared the same val­ues and found him dif­fer­ent from the other guys that she had hung out with be­fore. They took their time get­ting to know each other and fall­ing in love, while grad­u­ally tick­ing places off a shared travel bucket list (they have done nine out of 10 so far, with Ice­land as the last item). Af­ter seven years to­gether, Adrien pro­posed to Is­abelle on a beau­ti­ful day in Cap­pado­cia, Turkey.

“Right af­ter a hot air bal­loon ride, we went to have break­fast, but he seemed on edg e the whole time,” says Is­abelle. “He in­vited me for tea; and when I stepped out­side, there was no one there but Adrien, down on one knee. And I started cry­ing. I couldn’t be­lieve that it

was hap­pen­ing un­til it fi­nally did.” It took him awhile to get around to pop­ping the ques­tion, but Adrien wanted to wait un­til Is­abelle was fully ready and more set­tled in her ca­reer since she had just bro­ken out into show­biz at the time that they met. He did not want mar­riage to limit her op­tions. De­clares Adrien, “My feel­ings for Belle did not fade over time. In­stead, they grew even stronger. I went all-in be­cause I could clearly pic­ture a fu­ture with her. I was, with­out a doubt, in love.”

In Septem­ber of 2016, they wed in an in­ti­mate cer­e­mony at St Fran­cis Church in Tus­cany, Italy. It was a charm­ing, DIY sort of af­fair, with many of their friends and fam­ily members mak­ing their own con­tri­bu­tions. Rather than sim­ply cel­e­brate them­selves, the cou­ple wanted to bond with their guests to truly en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties.

As they had lived to­gether prior to get­ting mar­ried, Is­abelle and Adrien al­ready had a good work­ing dy­namic. The big­gest change, ac­cord­ing to Is­abelle, is how they now man­age their fi­nances. When they were dat­ing, the what’s-mine-is-mine-what’s-yours-is-yours prin­ci­ple was what ap­plied. Now, ev­ery­thing they do is in con­sid­er­a­tion of each other with joint fi­nances. Says Is­abelle, “We don’t count any­thing any­more. When we were still boyfriend and girl­friend, it went along the lines of, ‘Oh, I picked up the cof­fee last week; can you do it this time?’ Now, he or I can pay for the cof­fee the whole week, and it’s no longer a big deal.”

ALL IN THE FAM­ILY

Both were look­ing for­ward to even­tu­ally be­com­ing par­ents, but a baby was not quite in the cards just yet, even af­ter they had tied the knot. Is­abelle, who had been booked for a new show, was floored when she found out she was preg­nant just a few days be­fore the first tap­ing. “That night, I was having din­ner, and Belle, with­out a word, just stood up and went up­stairs,” shares Adrien. “And then I heard shout­ing, so I ran up, think­ing I had to kill a spi­der for her or some­thing! There she was, sit­ting in the bath­room, go­ing, ‘Babe, babe, look!’ while wav­ing what looked like a ther­mome­tre at me. It turned out to be a preg­nancy test, and the re­sult was pos­i­tive.” Nei­ther could quite be­lieve what they’d seen. Adrien was try­ing to rein in his hap­pi­ness, keep­ing a re­al­is­tic at­ti­tude to­wards the good news (“It felt too beau­ti­ful to be true at the time!”) un­til they could ver­ify it with a physi­cian. When her preg­nancy was con­firmed, ev­ery­thing made com­plete sense to Is­abelle, who had been feel­ing un­der the weather for about a month.

For Adrien, who was used to look­ing af­ter small chil­dren, the thought of be­com­ing a dad was an eye-opener. Though he had been around for when his mum was preg­nant with his younger sib­lings, he did not r ealise how dif­fi­cult having to carry a child truly was and how es­sen­tial the sup­port his fa­ther pro­vided had been. “There is noth­ing that can pre­pare you for be­com­ing a par­ent—any­one who has a young child is now a men­tor. You find your­self lis­ten­ing to your own par­ents more be­cause there is a new­found re­spect for what they went through while rais­ing you now that you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it for your­self,” he adds.

Many of Is­abelle’s friends and fam­ily members came to her with all sorts of ad vice about be­ing a first-time mum. “I appr eci­ate ev­ery­thing that was shared to me, but what I think res­onated the most was my un­cle telling me that I shouldn’t spoil Baltie,” she re­calls. “I was a lit­tle bit con­fused in the be­gin­ning , but now that I have him, it makes so much sense—I look at him, and I w ant to get him 10 of each toy and 10 of each bib. I’m still very new to this; I’m still try­ing to learn and un­der­stand what it all means. Strik­ing that bal­ance is a process.”

While she’s find­ing her foot­ing as a par­ent, Is­abelle ac­tively sup­ports causes that mean a great deal to her. In July, she shared a video of her­self at a men­tal health aware­ness fo­rum,

“WE DIDN’T RE­ALISE THAT IT WAS POS­SI­BLE FOR US TO BE HAP­PIER THAN WE AL­READY WERE UN­TIL BALTIE CAME ALONG. BUT LIFE DOES GET SO MUCH BET­TER WITH A BABY” — IS­ABELLE

where she spoke of how close friends and rel­a­tives came to her with sto­ries about their bat­tles with de­pres­sion. “I feel so strongly about it be­cause many of the peopl e I love are af­fected by it,” she says. “The com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor was that ev­ery­one felt ashamed of what they were go­ing through, which re­ally got me won­der­ing be­cause need­ing help isn’t some­thing we shouldn’t be em­bar­rassed about. I called a friend— who was an or­gan­iser at the event I did my talk at— and said we needed to do some­thing about it. She in­vited me to come and speak if I f elt com­fort­able enough, but I had t o think it over be­cause it might not be of help t o have all this come from some­one who isn’t clin­i­cally di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion.” It was Adrien who of­fered fur­ther en­cour­age­ment, say­ing that many had ap­proached her sim­ply be­cause she’d of­fered a sym­pa­thetic ear by ask­ing how they were do­ing. “Some­times, sim­ply having some­one to talk to— not a yoga ses­sion or a visit to the ther­a­pist— is all they need to feel bet­ter,” he adds.

So­cial me­dia is partly to blame. “As soon as you go on In­sta­gram, you see photos of peo­ple trav­el­ling to all th­ese beau­ti­ful places, of fit girls in their biki­nis, of some­one with the new­est gad­gets. It can cre­ate a vi­cious cy­cle of not be­ing con­tented with what we have—and any­one can feel this way at any given point in time,” says Is­abelle. She wants to help re­move the stigma that comes with be­ing di­ag­nosed with a men­tal health ill­ness, and hopes t o rally sup­port sys­tems that are as strong as those for phys­i­cal ill­nesses like can­cer, which are backed by fundrais­ers and, most im­por­tantly, aided by com­pas­sion and understanding. “I was ap­proached by one of the aun­ties at a baptism, who told me that my talk be­came the topic of their Bi­ble study group dis­cus­sion and that their new mantra now is ‘it’s okay not to be okay,’” she shares. “I started this hop­ing to help out the younger gen­er­a­tion—I can only imag­ine how it is like to be a teenage girl in the age of so­cial me­dia—so it mad e me happy to know that older peo­ple can re­late to it, too.”

Is­abelle is grate­ful for her own sup­port sys­tem, as they keep her grounded and re­mind her not to put too much pres­sure on her­self to be a per­fect mum. She con­fesses, “When I was younger, I never imag­ined that I could love some­one this much—but here I am now, a clingy mum ob­sessed with her kid. But I’m mak­ing it a point to set aside time for just my­self, as well as time for my­self and Adrien.” She won’t be mak­ing an ac­tive re­turn to show­biz yet, but she is work­ing on putting up her own preschool (she grad­u­ated from De La Salle Univer­sity with a de­gree in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion), hop­ing to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where her son can blos­som. “The most im­por­tant thing right now is rais­ing this boy the best way we can,” she says fondly.

Adrien is pleased with the way ev­ery­thing has played out. A dot­ing hus­band and fa­ther, his eyes are full of af­fec­tion as he watches his wife and son, say­ing, “At this point in time, I have ac­com­plished pretty much ev­ery­thing I needed and wanted to do as a young adult. The events in our lives, for me, un­folded in per­fect or­der. And now that we have our son, we feel even more blessed. Some­times, I still feel like it’s all too beau­ti­ful to be true.”

BaBy’s day out Adrien wears a knit pullover sweater by Mas­simo Dutti and pants by Áraw; Is­abelle wears a white linen dress by Áraw; Baltie wears clothes by Pepa and Com­pany

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