Discover How These 13 Talented Women Make A Difference Through Their Work
Whether it’s to touch, engage or entertain, these 13 women bring positivity and inspiration into the world with their unique voices and talents.
Get to know these amazing women who are taking a stand and making themselves heard in this special campaign for SM Woman. #WearYourStory
Reese Lansangan is a powerhouse at 27. She’s a musician, singer-songwriter, music producer, visual artist, graphic designer, and published author. Despite losing her father at a young age, she honors him by continuing his legacy and his love for music. Reese’s first album Arigato, Internet! debuted in 2015, her form of cathartic self-expression. She’s currently working on the second album scheduled for release this 2018, while also learning Japanese to celebrate her love for all things Japanese.
“Now, more than ever, we're more aware of gender equality and also empowering fellow women. In the music industry, women are still outnumbered. It's not because we're less talented, not at all. I feel like it's because many lack the confidence to come out and be heard. I would love more women to be more confident and open in expressing themselves and to be more visible. Hopefully, the music/ entertainment industry can be one of those safe places where they can."
BP Valenzuela is set to release her second album, Crydancer, after her debut EP be/ep in 2014 and debut studio album, The Neon Hour, in 2015. She continues writing, arranging, and producing her indie electro-pop songs - proving to herself and everyone in the industry that girl musicians are here to stay.
“I feel most empowered onstage or in the studio recording. There are two kinds of empowered. Being onstage is an external kind of power ‘cause some people are watching. But in the studio, it's the kind of power of making decisions and calling the shots and knowing what you want.”
From a young age, Niki Colet fell in love with songwriting and decided early on that it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter is now working on her second EP after releasing her first in 2014. Through the process of song-writing, Niki aims to crystallize moments in the most honest way and create something beautiful through art. In so doing, she continues to take part in the growth and evolution of the music industry.
“I think each woman has something different about her that's special and beautiful. So, every person is different. Something that you have, I might not have it, but I might have something else. I feel that feminine dressing is anything that accentuates that woman's assets that she feels are beautiful or anything that for her, that makes her feel like she's visually expressing who she really is through her clothes. It's important to show your assets. Accentuate the things about yourself that you like.”
Born Gyphertori Dimacali, but widely known as Frenchie Dy, this Star in a Million champion packs a punch with her larger-than-life personality. Frenchie is no stranger to the industry, having begun singing at the age of 14. Since then, she has persevered the difficulties of having Bell’s Palsy and surpassed the harsh criticisms about her plus-size looks. Today, she continues a career as a singer, while juggling being a mom and a barangay kagawad in Caloocan City.
“Kase nung 2004, noon, hindi pa nila tanggap na meron malaking babae na haharap sa TV na kakanta. Doon, medyo madami kang naririnig na ‘mataba yan,’ ‘hindi nyan kaya,’ ‘hindi tatagal yan,’ ‘hindi tatagal sa industriya yan taba niyan eh.” Yun yung isa sa mga pinakamasakit na marinig mo, yung lalaitin ka. Pero yun din yung gagamitin mo parang maging strong ka para labanan yun. In all fairness, hanggang ngayon, nandito pa rin naman ako. Kahit na nilalait nila yung katawan ko, I don't care.”
Bituin Escalante is a multi-awarded singer, but she considers herself more a musical-theater actress than just a concert singer. She recently starred in Ang Panahon ng Halimaw by Lav Diaz, which premiered at the Berlin Film Fest, and her next project will be with Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group in the Philippine production of Waitress the Musical. Through these productions, she hopes to tell more amazing stories and reach a greater audience.
“Confidence is key. You can wear anything if you feel good about yourself, if you're in the right headspace. Nothing – not even the most expensive outfit by a world-famous designer – can help you look good You have to believe that you’re beautiful.”
Having been in the music industry for a while, ex-Kulay member Radha has since learned to come into her own. After years, the powerhouse singer is finally working on new music and exploring other looks, defining her own rules for herself.
You have to go through things. If you don’t go through things, you don’t learn, you don’t grow. That’s why I’m not scared of getting hurt; I’m not scared of falling, or making mistakes. If it feels right for me at the time, then it probably is, and if it turns out that it’s not right, then I learn from it and be better the next time. Just do what you feel is right for you right now. There is no wrong decision.
Host, actress, model, and personality Issa Litton has mastered the gift of gab as she graces the country’s most high-profile events. With her charisma, glamorous charm and passionate energy, it’s no wonder that the mom of two is still kicking it.
“I think it’s all about being true to what’s inside you. Because if you’re faking it, people can spot that a mile away. But in the end, you’ll find your place in the sun. As long as it’s really what you want to do and you’re working on it, and quite frankly if you’re good at it, you’ll find your own niche.”
After 10 fulfilling years in media working as a host, Nikki Vernon yearned for a new challenge, and she found it in a surprising place – finance! She made the shift to corporate banking and is seeing the numbers game more than thrilling.
“Enjoy every stage, every period of your life; and don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t ask, ‘Hey, am I doing the right thing?’ Just know that in your heart of hearts, you’re always gonna be in a good place.”
Say Tioco Artillero
With over 195,000 subscribers on YouTube, over 2,000 videos uploaded, and over 39 million total views, Say Tioco Artillero, one of the country’s most famous beauty and lifestyle vloggers, has no plans of stopping. While creating fresh content is always a challenge, she remains undaunted as she has so many stories and adventures that she wants to share.
“One of the biggest challenges of becoming a vlogger – especially when I started to gain more following – was the online haters. They don’t just throw random insults, they really hit home with the personal. It got me depressed at one point, but I realized that I love what I do. And nothing should stop you from doing what makes you happy – not even haters.”
Veteran host and anchor Winnie Cordero has been reporting for 25 years now, yet she’s just excited to go to work as if it’s her first day. She’s celebrated many career milestones and has no regrets with any of the decisions she’s made, because, to her, these have made her into who she is today. And with an insatiable appetite to learn more and do more, there’s more to expect from this dynamic woman.
“When I started, I was just thinking, ‘Trabaho lang ito.’ But eventually, you’ll have to ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ May pagkakataon na gusto mong gawin ‘yun because it fulfills your personal goals. Other times you do it because you feel that you’re contributing to a greater cause. There are times that you don’t want to do it at all. But I always remind myself – especially on days when I feel lost and uninspired – ‘you need to do this because you’re committed to this.”
Lexi Schulze Berenguer-Testa
Host/ TV Personality
Lexi Schulze Berenguer-Testa is a multi-talented writer, host and TV personality, whose compassionate soul and wit makes it easy for her to instantly connect with others. Her openness and gift of gab have led her to many interesting opportunities, and even more so life-changing encounters.
“When it comes to conversations, always listen. Because if you don’t listen, you miss the opportunity for genuine connection… Remember, a good conversation is really about giving each other the chance to share a little bit of themselves.”
In an industry that places emphasis on looks, Ruby Rodriguez has never been fazed by the norm. The long-time Eat! Bulaga host knows how to play her strengths, fully embracing her role as the “mom” in the sea of newer and younger talents, a quality she draws from being a mother to her children.
What makes me most passionate about what I do is when I see the reaction of the people. I’m a funny girl, I’m supposed to be the comedienne. When you see them laugh with what you’re saying, it triggers you, parang nililiyaban yung pwet mo. Parang bumibilis ‘yung makina mo, mas patawa ka nang patawa when they laugh. That’s what keeps me going.”
affair with the spotlight by joining beauty pageants, but the MIS (Management Information Systems) graduate and a former employee at an I.T. company is proving once more how multi-faceted she is. Apart from being an actress, she is also getting involved in their family company by taking on the marketing side of the business and flexing her creative and corporate side. She’s definitely not a stranger to pressure.
“There will always be a pressure to always look your best. But the thing is, looking your best is always so subjective. Beauty standard nowadays is so subjective that’s kids are so pressured, making it difficult for them to see how beautiful they really are. Sometimes [in the media], it seems like they’re selling the product, but in reality, they are selling the feeling of getting that product. It’s making a lot of girls insecure. Instead of appreciating what they have, they’re trying to get something that’s basically unattainable. I guess the only way to cope is to accept who you are, appreciate who you are, what you have and to don’t give in to the pressure of looking a certain way. Kasi lahat naman tayo special. We all have our own beauty na pwedeng i-emphasize.”
Produced by Ide8 team and Lorenz Namalata
Photography by Emerson Leonor
Styled by Myrrh Lao To and team
Makeup by MAC Cosmetics PH
Hairstyling by Muriel Vega Perez and team
Production Design Princess Baretto and team
Shot on Location at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
Interns Roline Red Ricafort and Jan Adriel Salvatierra