I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
During college, I had to drop out simply because I didn't have money to pay for tuition. During that time, my mom was an OFW and that life event prompted me to start my own online business. Doon nagsimula itong entrepreneurial journey ko. I would say that was the push that I needed in my life, which made me realize this is what I was meant to do.
Colourette was actually a spur of the moment thing for me. I started it because I wanted to fill a the gap in the market. It’s also because I am a makeup buff and I felt like the makeup I was using wasn’t made for me, not for Philippine weather, not made for my lifestyle, and definitely not for my skin tone. Not to mention, the campaigns were so unrealistic, and some beauty brands set unrealistic beauty standards for their consumers—and that was something that we wanted to work on as a brand.
And so, we want our customers to be able to relate to us. Whenever we have product developments we really test on a wide variety of skin tones, and then during our campaigns we do not use supermodels or “perfect people,” para makikita nila na, “Oh, that could be me. We have the same body type or color.”
“I have to deserve this platform”
But as you see, I don’t just use my platform to shed light on diversity, inclusivity, and the unrealistic standards of beauty. I also want to speak about social issues and political issues, simply because I know my voice means something to a lot of people.
I just don't want to be apolitical. I am privileged, but I don't want to act privileged because a lot of people need my voice. I keep on saying this. For those who cannot speak, I would like to speak for you; for those who are oppressed, I will talk for you. And I use my platform to talk about things that need to be talked about such as women’s issues.
In fact, becoming an influencer or getting this many followers isn't really in my bucket list. I never wanted this. But since we're already here, naisip ko na parang I have to deserve this platform that was given to me.
Women can be strong and independent, too
As women, we still experience discrimination here and there. “Ah, kaya pala nya yon? Ang galing nya, babae sya.” We’ve also been oppressed for too long. We are being discriminated in our everyday lives, we have extra steps and we do extra things, kapag uuwi tayo, we have pepper spray, we have balisong or tasers simply because we're women. And this is something that men do not experience.
I think that society still doesn't like strong and independent women. The things that I talk about or the things that I'm very vocal about, men also talk about these, but how come they don't get bashed as much as I do? Bakit mas nag re-retaliate sila pag babae nagsasasbi?
But also, sometimes, whenever I look at my comments section, it pains me the most when I see that my bashers are actually women. There’s still that hidden inferiority complex that sometimes women feel the need to pull down other women.
But in all honesty, I would say, let’s just not give a damn. We're women, we're strong we can do whatever we want to do. We don't need men in our lives. It's Women’s Month so it's nice to uplift our womanhood.
It's very, very important for us women to support each other because we understand each other—we understand each other's plates, our problems, all of the things that we go through. We should have a very strong support system for one another. Instead of tearing each other down, let's pull each other up.
[Women] should have a very strong support system for one another. Instead of tearing each other down, let's pull each other up.
I feel really, really accomplished whenever I get personal messages from people like, “Thank you for talking about this because I don't have the courage to do that.” And so kahit na maraming nag ba-bash na, “Why do you keep on voicing out your concerns?” At the end of the day, I don't really do it for those people, I do it for the people who need my strength and my courage.
This Women’s History Month, I want to tell women around the world: Abante, babae! We are very, very powerful. Imagine we've been oppressed, discriminated for far too long. But here we are, we are progressing.
We've gone a very, very long way. So don't let your insecurities and the doubt of other people manipulate you. Because as women, we can do whatever we want to do for as long as we put our minds and our hearts into it. And I can feel and see that in the future, more and more women leaders will be coming out—simply because women are awake already. Gising na tayo. Abante na, pagod na tayo sa pagiging stereotyped na, ‘Oh, maglinis ka, magwalis ka.’
While I’m really all for homemakers, and I admire you for that, hindi ko kasi kaya yon eh. Pero tayong lahat meron tayong sari-sariling goals in life. And for whatever it's worth, if you want to be a homemaker, if you want to be a mom, if you want to be a CEO, if you want to be a politician, if you want to be a leader someday, you can do it for sure. Don't let society dictate otherwise.
To women, especially the youth: don’t be afraid. A lot of people stay mum simply because they’re afraid. Everything comes with pros and cons. With great power comes great responsibility, so we just really have to be careful.
And for those who aspire to have a voice, for those who aspire to become a better version of themselves—it's not gonna be easy, but it's going to be worth it for sure.
Photos from Nina Dizon