I started posting on skin because I felt like there was no representation in the skincare community of someone who looked like me, especially in the Philippines. In the Philippines, people are very into skin whitening and flawless skin. It’s frustrating because I don’t have that, and growing up, people thought I had problematic skin. However, that experience inspired me to represent people with acne and to show them that they have nothing to be ashamed of. Our skin represents our journey.
In the Philippines, both men and women use skin lightening. Right in front of your face, you’ll see ads that basically say - “You need to be white and fair to be beautiful.” That was the mindset I grew up with. I’m so happy that women of color are speaking up on social media and trying to normalize skin color because obviously we’re not born with fair skin. People have started to embrace their natural look, but I want people to embrace who they are not because it’s a trend, but because they truly love who they are. We are born with tan and brown skin, and we should celebrate that. I’m not against people who whiten their skin but imposing that people need to have fair skin in order to be beautiful is very unacceptable to me.
I feel strongly about this because I have firsthand experience with how problematic beauty standards can be. There have been opportunities I’ve missed because of my skin texture, and I don’t want that to happen to other people because it can greatly lower your self-esteem and confidence. I set out to normalize skin texture when I got rejected for a courtside reporter application in college. My best friend and I applied together. She got in, and I did not. I asked the producer why he felt like I wasn’t a fit. I speak and communicate very well, and I’ve hosted many events before. So, I wanted to know what I could improve on. He just said that I was not camera-ready whereas my friend only needed minimal makeup.
So... I wasn’t pleasing to his eyes.
That’s why I didn’t get in.
Right in front of my eyes, I experienced a missed opportunity because of how I look. While beauty standards do not lessen my talent, I could not go ahead with my dreams and goals because of them.
Instead, they gave me the task of retrieving the basketballs for the players when they went out of bounds. I felt like I needed to prove myself so I took the opportunity. I thought the role of assisting the team would help me progress to my dream role, a courtside reporter. I could see my friend reporting, and I was standing there waiting to pick up the ball for the players, and it wasn’t the nicest feeling. In that moment, I began to question my worth. I wondered if I was enough and if my dreams were a fit for me.
My mental health was suffering so I sought help. And in turn, this incident helped me understand that it’s actually okay to ask for help if I need it. It helped me grow as a person, and it changed my thinking about others as well as skin. I became determined to speak out on beauty standards. I know it’s impossible to change the world, but if I can change just one person’s thinking, they will change the perspective of others, and so on and so forth. Cassandra really influenced me as well to change the perception of people on beauty.
I want to stand up and represent people with acne because it’s wrong for people to bully you for your skin texture. People have told me that my skin “is bumpy as a road.” I’ve even had people say - “You need to clear your skin so people will like you.” It’s hard when the people around you think that acne is a flaw.
For that reason, I used to be so shy to talk about my skin or to even go out. In truth, I was ashamed of it. But, when I spoke to a dermatologist, she said textured skin was normal. If it’s so normal to have textured skin, why do people make fun of it? That’s why I want to help people embrace themselves, and that’s why I’ve gotten into skincare. My platform doesn’t really surround being a big content creator. It surrounds letting people know that that they deserve knowledge on acne prone skincare and real representation.