Bianca Valerio Opens Up About Being Bullied And How She Found Healing Through Beauty
“Dumb and desperate, I drank a whole bottle of cologne thinking that was enough to do me over,” Bianca Valerio recounts the first of her countless attempts to commit suicide at 13 years old. “I was suspended from school for two weeks and I was punished because my teachers assumed I was being KSP (kulang sa pansin).”
What may seem like an attention-seeking, silly antic to adults was, in reality, a cry for help by the same girl who was the subject of bullying two years prior simply because she was the new kid in an all-girls school. “Rather than asking what my problem was, I was considered THE problem by my school. A delinquent who would never achieve much in life because my poor grades reflected it,” she recalls. “[They] punished me for the symptoms of the pain I was carrying for two years.”
She carried the weight of this ordeal for 14 years, until she graduated from college.
While most of us love to reminisce about our childhood and would long for our young and carefree lives to be back due to the many firsts that came with it, there are those few who choose to forget that phase, and if possible, totally erase it from their minds the way Clementine did to her memories of Joel in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
“Most people have such fond memories of school as [it is] considered their prime years of popularity and fun,” Bianca says. “I could never and still can’t relate.”
Filled with faith
For this runway and fashion model, style icon, host, and now a celebrated makeup-slash-inspirational book author, all it took to turn her from a “delinquent who would never achieve much in life” to the multi-hyphenate girlboss that she is now was one friend who saw beyond her perceived imperfections.
She held on to her friend’s words and held it tight. Filled with faith that things will turn out for the better, she inched and wiggled her way from being a caterpillar to a butterfly. “I prayed, A LOT. Who else could I talk to, really,” she tells Metro.Style. “As a freshman in college, a classmate shared that God never gives you trials He knows you cannot handle. It has been one of my core mottos.”
Her brother's passing
This faith was one of the reasons Bianca got through one of the most heartbreaking things to have ever happened in her life: Her brother’s death in 2017.
“My only brother, Miko, passed away suddenly from a stroke,” she shares. “It was and is the biggest trauma my family has experienced collectively.”
She then turned to emotional eating to cope. Before she knew it, she was around 30 lbs. heavier a year later. “I was unaware I was using food as a distraction from dealing with my grief. I was stuffing myself with food as if to fill this void that would never be satisfied.” As if those weren’t enough, she had also forgotten to take care of herself. “I didn’t do even one step of the 10-step Korean skincare unless I had to take off my makeup from work,” she confesses. “When my skincare routine went incognito for months, that’s when I knew it was bad.”
Opening new doors
Her faith is “truly the only thing that has kept [her] going stronger than ever." Bianca picked herself up and began the journey to healing with the help of vlogging.
“My brother had been helping me set it up, but my self-doubt kept putting it off until it was too late,” she says. “The vlog became my therapy and continues to be so. I also went and continue to go to counseling. It’s so ironic that someone, who’s always wanted to help people, never sought help herself.”
One of the doors of opportunity recently opened up for her, and she became the face and body of Belo Medical Group’s latest campaign. “As cliché as it sounds, I cannot imagine my life otherwise,” Bianca shares. “If I never got fat, I would never have had a reason to do the Belo 360-degree liposuction. As fate would have it, all roads led to this and even perhaps to EDSA where my billboard is.”
Bianca Valerio and Dr. Vicki Belo
The healing power of makeup
Among her many accomplishments as an empowered woman is her book Face to Face: The Healing Power of Make-Up.
“Self-help books consoled me in ways no person could so I made a promise to myself in senior high school that I would write one, one day,” she shares. This is proof of how she turned pain into power. Bianca wrote and produced this book with women, who have gone through a past like hers, in mind.
“As a model, makeup artists see a beauty in you that you yourself cannot see,” she shares. “Makeup first transforms us from the outside. But even after it’s been washed [off], its transformation inside of us remains forever. It was what solidified my calling even more to help others through beauty—be it makeup, skincare, body treatments, and enhancements.”
The book also featured stories of various personalities who have conquered challenges, diseases, and even abuses.
Despite all the numerous beatings she has received in the past, she has this to say to anyone who might be going through the same rough patches: “Find solace in small victories. If today you were able to accomplish one task like brushing your teeth, putting clothes on, or drinking a full glass of water at a time when you could care less about anything, that in itself is a victory. Let’s try again tomorrow.”
Photos from @bianca_valerio