Martine Cajucom: Little Miss Creative
Martine Cajucom has been a prolific face and name peppering social media, news features, and even magazine covers. Whether the post is about her outfit, a lunch she ate, a vacation destination she’s enjoying, or what random knick-knack has caught her fancy, you can bet that thousands of people are paying attention. Having been labeled as an ‘it’ girl, her claim to fame is sort of the social media fairy tale: A spritely teen girl starts a blog, gets a lot of online following, which lands her into her dream job in fashion. That’s the gist, but like any good success story, the big lessons are in the details.
“The funny thing about blogging is…,” Martine starts, and then goes off-tangent, the way a friend would when she’s about to share some gossip. She was around 15 when she started her first blog; it was at the peak of MySpace. “I was really just keeping it to document [my updates], so that my family could keep track of what I was doing with my life.”
Martine was living in California then, oceans away from her close-knit family in the Philippines. As a student, Martine was generally active and well-rounded, juggling academics with creative pursuits. But like most teens in the United States, she had her fair share of being bullied, which actually inspired the tongue-in-cheek title of her blog, “I Love Martine.”
After installing a blog tracker in her computer, Martine was shocked to find that her bullies were the ones checking her updates daily. “So I thought, how funny would it be, since they like to lurk [around] anyway, to make my blog “I Love Martine,” she shares mischievously. “Because even if they didn’t like me, or are even hating on me, they physically had to type out they love me!” Clever.
Martine’s early brush with online lurking is juicily funny, but it’s also a fascinating reveal into the mind behind the ‘it’ girl persona. Blogging may have ushered her into a creative management position in American Apparel, which eventually primed her to become co-founder and creative director for Sunnies Studios, arguably one of the most hip and current, affordable eyewear locally. But it is her savviness in navigating the online human psyche, and consequent love-hate culture within it, that has honed her into a social media personality.
Martine's a pro at putting outfits that are the perfect balance of feminine and sexy
“I try not to let it affect me so much if people leave mean comments. But yeah, I do understand that that is the negative side of being so public online,” says Martine, weighing the thin line between, love, hate, and obsession.
Contrary to what people assume, Martine and her other ‘it’ girl cousins do read through the dozens of comments left on their feeds, some of which can be shockingly hateful. There were bullies in her early blogging days, and there are certainly more now. “I’ve learned to just tune it out at this point, and it’s for the better,” she says as she shrugs off the vitriol. “I can’t let one negative comment, out of the dozens of awesome things people say [in my feed], affect me. It’s something I had to learn and grow a thick skin for.”
In the end, Martine’s greatest strength lies in her ability to engage and gauge people, both online as well as in-person, which has made her such a joy for many creatives to collaborate with. “The feedback that I got was, people love working with me. And generally, everywhere I work, people really enjoy it,” she says, stressing the importance of meeting and listening to people in a creative environment. With so much buzz and collaborations under her wing, others ask if she is an artist.
Some of the things Martine loves: Sunnies Studios sunglasses, a good book, tortoiseshell earrings, a handy camera, and a small day bag
“I’m definitely not an artist. I’m somebody who puts people together,” responds Martine, with a sense of pride in the team cohesion of Sunnies Studios. Having dabbled into many artistic exploits, from makeup artistry, photography, modeling, theatre, design and even painting, she can affirm herself with an unwavering assurance, a tangible quality that many of her followers, and even haters, find irresistible. “I’m a strategist. I recognize talent, and put people together. Right now, the Sunnies Studios team is so strong, because that’s my job.”
We're keeping our eyes peeled for this one!
This feature originally appeared in Metro Magazine October 2017 and was repurposed for Metro.Style
Photographs Andrea Beldua
Produced by Gelie Manansala
Makeup Mac Igarta
Hair Suyen Salazar