Live More Inspired By The Stories Of These 10 Confident Women
Strong is the new sexy, and self-expression is the new form of protest. Listen to what these amazing women have to say about beauty, having a voice, and making a stand, as they share their stories and journeys in this special campaign by Metro and
This is #MetroXSMWoman #WearYourStory
Hilda Amaral is a bionic woman of sorts. Aside from being a bodybuilder and a Spartan elite racer, she also heads her own company, EliteFit, which seeks to teach more people about nutrition. Whether she’s training or teaching, Hilda proves that hard work and discipline can go a long way, and that the strength of women is indomitable.
“A lot of people think that strong is not feminine. I think it’s the total opposite. When I say strong, it’s not about being muscular; it’s about being confident in your own skin.”
Ever since she was child, Kay Arazanso had always been drawn to the arts. But more than merely becoming part of her profession (Kay works as a graphic designer), art has evolved to become her preferred mode of expression, wherein she freely explores sexuality, gender identity, and intimacy through the different erotic forms of artwork that she creates.
“Art is always about creation, taking something from within yourself and putting it out there for the world to see. In a sense, art is also masturbatory. It’s excessively self-indulgent and driven by desire.”
Watercolor tattoo artist
Wiji Lacsamana is a watercolor artist turned watercolor tattoo artist, and her illustrations and tattoos have garnered her the admiration of thousands. Much like her art, Wiji’s style is quirky, colorful, and free-flowing, as she interprets nature and spirituality in a playful sense.
“What makes me most passionate about tattooing is how I make art permanent. From an idea simply residing in your head to something that’s forever displayed on your skin, I love the feeling when someone allows you to be part of their lives in that way.”
Visual artist Paulina Luz Sotto is drawn to simplicity, both in her style and her art. Complication, on the other hand, is her pet peeve. As an artist grows and hones her passion with time, Paulina is enjoying the freedom and flexibility of further exploring her craft.
“I think people underestimate how hard it is to be an artist. When I share my paintings, I’m allowing people not only to see my work, but to critique them. Art may look easy but it makes you very vulnerable, which, too, can also be empowering.”
Sel Guevarra wasn’t in the best of shape a few years back, smoking at least two packs a day. But when she was hit with a bad case of pneumonia, she was faced with the choice: either let her health disintegrate or take control of her life. She chose herself. Today, as a sportscaster, fitness coach and body builder, not only has she regained her well-being, she’s inspiring others to do the same.
“It wasn’t easy ditching the bad habits and learning to adopt the good ones. But you just have to suck it up. You have two choices: do nothing and stay, or choose the hard way, which leads to a better version of you. For me, always choose the hard one, because it’s usually the one that’s worth it.”
Artist and advocate
Artist, feminist and human rights advocate Nikki Luna is unafraid of confronting the truth, even if it means going out of her comfort zone. Turning her privileged background on its head, Nikki works with the masses and the marginalized, reflecting these truths through her art pieces.
“I grew into an artist who wants to talk about the world we live in. Because it’s really useless if we don’t talk about relevant things, and art is such a great tool. It’s the best vehicle to use to confront issues that you otherwise only read in the paper. When you are critical about something, you can use art to do this and you can actually make a stand, too. My only goal each time I share my work is to confront the viewer with an issue, and to make them think: Where do I stand? It is through those answers and reflections that we can inspire change and transformation.
Bea Alonso Te is breaking barriers as an urban, hip-hop, soul funk DJ. Dancing since she was five-years old, Bea’s no stranger to beats and knows what’ll make people dance. And this is what she aspires to do every time she stands behind the booth – to get people going and have them fully be present in the moment.
“You can’t escape it; everyone gets judged on social media - how you look, how you dress. But at the end of the day, what matters is how you feel about yourself. If you feel beautiful, sexy, confident, no one has the right to tell you otherwise.”
In a conservative country like the Philippines, Ina Jardiolin is doing important work, helping forward the conversation about gender identity and the ideals of femininity and masculinity. What is unique about Ina is her chosen medium – leather – a material very familiar to her as her family is in the footwear industry, which she uses to showcase her dexterity and flexibility as an artist.
“Empowerment and women - I feel that these are especially relevant in my work now. Through the androgynous figures that I create, I want to people to know that you don’t have to worry so much about trying to fit into the stereotypical feminine and masculine ideals. You can be tough or soft; you can be weird and different; you can be you.”
Passionate and curious, surfer Elaine Abonal has lived in different cities across the globe, but has now traded the city lights for the beach and the waves of Siargao. Translating her passion into entrpreneurship, Elaine runs the surf camp, Surfista, where she introduces people of all ages to the beauty of surf and the wonders of the island, through the eyes of a local.
“What I love about teaching people how to surf is when you watch someone stand up on the board for the first time. You’ll never know how one trip or one surfing lesson can change a life and open doors for others.”
They say to do the things that scare you the most, and that’s what calligraphy artist Tin Abejar did. After being diagnosed with anxiety, it was through conducting workshops that Tin found a hidden passion in teaching. Aside from teaching students of all ages, Tin also holds special classes for people with disabilities (PWDs), proving that despite what life gives us sometimes, we can all find ways of learning and pursuing our passions.
“Art helped me care for my mental health, kasi naging outlet siya. Whenever I paint or write, parang nakakalimutan ko lahat. Wala kasi kailangang ma-achieve and gusto ko lang siya gawin. Art helped me save my sanity.”
Interviews by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza, Sam Beltran, Grace Diez, Ronna Capili, and Maielle Montayre
Produced by Ide8 team and Lorenz Namalata
Photography by Emerson Leonor
Styling by Myrrh Lao To and team
Makeup by MAC Cosmetics PH
Hairstyling by Muriel Vega Perez and team
Production Desig by Princess Baretto and team
Shot on Location at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
Shoot assistants Roline Red Ricafort and Jan Adriel Salvatierra