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Niccolo Cosme Immortalizes Empowered Women Stories At SM Supermalls Women's Month Photo Exhibit

After a month of discounts, surprises, and freebies in all SM Supermalls in celebration of Women's Month, the festivities have culminated with a beautiful and inspiring photo exhibit by internationally acclaimed photographer, Niccolo Cosme.

At the heart of the SM Megamall Fashion Hall atrium stood the exhibit in pink and white, showcasing 31 fierce and breathtaking women, their stories immortalized on canvas by Niccolo. It features popular women of substance from beauty advocates Dr. Vicki and Cristalle Belo, beauty queen Megan Young, and TV correspondent Jing Castañeda, to the women who have stayed behind the spotlight but with equally colorful stories to tell like cancer survivor Maria Lourdes Bernadette Zaragosa-Banson and Honey Sumndad-Usman, who has started a peace education movement for children in Marawi. The exhibit also featured regular shoppers who submitted their portraits and stories on the SM Supermalls website during the #WorldofWomenAtSM campaign and got their portraits photographed by Niccolo.

The exhibit was launched on March 22 and will stay on the venue until the end of March for customers and shoppers to view and be motivated from.

Grace Magno, VP for Advertising of SM Supermalls, said that SM wanted the whole of March to become a celebration of all things women. That's why they have filled every day of the month with promotions and freebies, and packed every Wednesday with special women-only discounts. “Not like in other countries, women in the Philippines are lucky. We're a matriarchal society, we love our moms, we love our wives. We wanted to focus Women's month on celebrating them, thanking them, congratulating them, because they deserve it.”

The 31 women whose portraits hang in the exhibit stand for all the Filipino women who have showcased beauty and strength in their own ways, touched other people's lives, and changed the way society looked down upon women. Niccolo, himself, a passionate advocate of women's rights, is so thankful of the opportunity to sit down with each of the women, hear their stories, and immortalize it in a photograph that he knows will touch anyone's hearts.

“Women go through so much. Women give birth, they nurture, they keep our houses. This is a symbol of resilience,” Niccolo says about the photographs and why he used crumpled pink paper as background. “Because even if it's crumpled, even if it has gone through so much, it can still be beautiful.”

Ultimately, the thrust of the exhibit is for women to continue feeling empowered and doing their part in empowering other women, even beyond Women's Month.

Dinah Salonga, a mindfulness advocate and co-founder of Yoga+, says that for her, empowerment is about women getting equal opportunities. “It's that you can be what you want to be and do what you want to do, na walang restrictions just because you're a woman,” she says.

For Lyn Pinnugu, Co-founder of Mano Amiga Philippines and She Talks Asia, an empowered woman is “someone who is collaborative, someone who works together with other women, someone who is kind, someone who embraces a mission, and connects people.”

Jing Castañeda, a journalist, organic produce entrepreneur, and now the program director of Bantay Bata, believes that to be empowered is to be informed. “Information is empowerment. It's about being armed with accurate information and using it to find your passion.”

Just like how beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, empowerment comes in all forms and ways. Through the exhibit, SM Supermalls, Niccolo, and the inspiring women emphasized that one cannot move the world alone. Every woman, everyone, can contribute to the betterment of society through their own personal advocacies and ways.

There's still one last chance to take advantage of the #WorldOfWomenAtSM promotion at all SM Supermalls. Today, women will still get the opportunity to shop at great prices and discounts in any SM mall nationwide. On top of that, all women who manage to spend at least P3,000 will also get a special loot bag containing beauty and wellness products and gift certificates from SM's partner brands.