In the excerpt below, Heart Evangelista-Escudero talks about the magic of unapologetically being yourself.
“But the moment I became myself and I wasn’t afraid to be more kikay or maarte, I felt that I could take the punches that go with it. Because I knew this was just who I am, and I can’t keep apologizing for who I am.”
“And that’s why I don’t hurt as much as I used to because I know that this is me. I’m more unbothered now because before I felt that I had a certain image to portray. That if I did something that wasn’t part of that image, I felt that I had so much unfinished business of explaining to do because it’s not me.”
Another masterpiece that recently came to life with the graceful stroke of her brush was her fruitful experience in Paris Fashion Week. All across social media, the subject was sensationalized for being Heart’s first solo flight, and shall I say, fight in overcoming the manic bi-annual event.
Her recounting of the experience from last February came with candid takeaways. “It was different because again, I grew up in showbiz and I always had people around me. I had my mother who was such a doting mom as well. I didn’t know how to do anything. Now, I do know how to do a few things but I’m still covered with anxiety because I’ve never done it alone.”
“So it was really nice and refreshing to face my fears and do things that are unknown to me. And that’s not because I’ll do it again, but because now, I know that in case something happens, I can still do my thing even if I’m alone. So I am not as afraid anymore knowing that I am a tough cookie and I can do it on my own.”
In her own terms, Heart was simply taking heart. And for that, the universe bestowed a gift that she never anticipated to come into reality this time around. Her present came neatly packaged as meeting some of her fashion heroes, renowned Vogue editors Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful.
“Although it was planned two or three years ago, I didn’t expect to meet them both. I was supposed to visit her [Anna Wintour] first in her office in New York but of course, the pandemic happened. And I was also supposed to meet her a few fashion weeks ago. I also was supposed to meet her during my last trip to Paris but there was this spike with the [Covid-19 variant] Omicron and everything. She was very very gracious. It was nice because you know her a certain way but I saw a different side of her that was smiley and warm. ”
Despite being a fixture and icon in the fashion sphere herself and securing a spot in the prestigious Vogue 100 last 2019, she still touted the experience as surreal. “Meeting all of these icons in the fashion industry is overwhelming. You kind of feel like you’re floating and that it’s not really happening. Growing up and seeing them, it’s on a different level.”
Doing so is one of her ways in blazing a path for Filipinas to follow suit and make their own strides in the global fashion scene. “I think modern Filipinas should be as polite, gracious, and kind as we are portrayed in photos and in our Filipiñianas. But I feel that being a Filipina in Fashion Week is a launching of a new way to do things. You can be independent. You can dress the way you want to.”
She finishes her stance strongly with, “I feel when I travel, I am more liberated and I can express myself fully. And I feel that every Filipino should be able to do that without anyone saying, ‘Oh, may iniiwanan ka na bata sa bahay,’ or ‘Marami siyang responsibilidad sa bahay.’ It’s time for us to express ourselves and not be afraid to do so.”
Being granted access to this thespian’s wavelength showed me that she utilizes countless platforms, like Paris Fashion Week, to invoke inspiration. To mention some, there lies her formidable career as a personality, brimming endorsements, and even her coveted lifestyle. Needless to say, also part of these are the businesses she helms, such as Pure Living.
This particular venture of hers with sister, Camille Ongpauco, serves not only as something to aspire to. It is also a literal platform that is a fillip to empowering others to jumpstart their entrepreneurship journey.
A clear representation of her experiences and desires, Pure Living at its core is all about achieving wellness—down to your personal needs to your home’s through affordable prices yet exceptional goods.
A patronizer of her own products, Heart has always been keen in sharing her favorites. A quick skim through her social media and you’ll find a frequent visitor from one of the Pure Living brands, Luxelle, particularly the Heated Eyelash Curler.
The CEO’s pride for the brand also stems from putting out products that are fueled with intention. Yes, some are already present in the market, but each creation sparks and boasts of something new. Take for example, Luxelle’s well-loved RF Beauty Wand and Dualuxe Facial Cleanser that takes innovation up a notch and pairs it with functional design and genuine intention. Heart also has her favorites from Ultima, a line of scented oils that are curated to complement everyday moments.
“I’m very very proud of Luxelle, which is all about beauty gadgets and skincare. Justin, my make-up artist, and I were very very hands on with that. Pinagpuyatan namin ‘yon. So I’m very fond of that whole line as well.”
Another that the co-owner is especially fond of is Vitasense’s best-selling Shower Vitamin Filter. “It’s like a detachable device that has vitamins and brightening elements. It also smells like different things—rose, tea tree, etc. I love the rose variant and I’m also fond of taking warm baths at night. So, my water smells like rose and I love that.”
“Again, it goes back to being authentic. Again, it also goes back to how I always wanted to fit in and eventually realizing that sometimes, it’s your uniqueness that will make you beautiful.
Evangelista’s testimony is a resounding echo of many other women’s plights to defy the status quo. It is a fierce gesture that speaks against living by the book, rigid societal expectations, and outdated norms. Because doing so rarely accomplishes and serves your purpose or other’s for that matter.
Photography SHAIRA LUNA
Creative Direction NICOLE ALMERO
Beauty Direction MIA CASTRO
Fashion Direction RYUJI SHIOMITSU
Sittings Editor JANN PASCUA
Makeup JUSTIN SORIANO
Hair JECK AGUILAR
Styling KAT CRUZ assisted by JOHN KARUNUNGAN
Photography Assistant LANCE VON LUNA
Set Design ROOSTER PRODUCTION
Shoot Coordination KZ FRANCISCO, MAVIC VEDAÑA, and IVAN PANGANIBAN
Shot on location BALARA CONTENT STUDIO