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Isabelle Daza says 'don’t go broke trying to look rich'—here’s how you can do just that

By CHUCK SMITH Published Jan 30, 2023 4:07 pm Updated Jan 30, 2023 4:26 pm

Sage advice or an example of masterful internet trolling? Isabelle Daza got the attention of the internet after giving her followers good advice about not spending a lot to look rich—while seemingly on vacation at one of the country’s most exclusive resorts.

In a recent Instagram post, the actress can be seen lounging by the beach, with a plate of what seems to be a tapsilog meal on her table. She is also showing off her baby bump in the photo as she wears a two-piece floral swimsuit with a coordinating blouse cover-up. Her caption for the photo reads: “Note to self: Don’t go broke tryin’ to look rich.”

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A post shared by Isabelle Daza (@isabelledaza)

Her Instagram followers seemed to have resonated with the advice, with one even saying: “A big, Filipino trait that needs to break. Very good advice.”

Another netizen commented: “Best advice po 'yan lalong-lalo na po sa mga Pinoy, sa Pinas man o sa abroad. Andami po talagang mga pa-cute, pa-rich image sa (social media), wala naman laman account sa bangko.”

But what really got the attention of her friends and followers is the irony of her Instagram post, as she is proclaiming the virtue of frugality while the post is geotagged in “Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Philippines.” 

Amanpulo, operated by one of the most exclusive luxury hotel chains in the world, Aman Resorts, is a luxury beach resort in Palawan, Philippines. Room rates start at $1,500 and can go up to $8,000. That’s around P82,000 to P437,000 a night. Not exactly where you want to go if you don’t want to go broke trying to look rich.

Isabelle’s husband, French businessman Adrian Semblat, posted a photo of the actress with their children Baltazar Gabriel and Valentine on his Instagram account, so it seems the family did go to the exclusive beach resort over the weekend. “Family time, sun and charge of vitamin D in the Philippines,” he wrote.

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A post shared by Adrien Semblat (@adriensemblat)

Celebrities Liz Uy, Georgina Wilson, Pia Guania, journalist Karen Davila, and even Indian model and actress Lisa Haydon seemed amused by the post, probably catching the joke or irony of the post.

Some of her followers, however, noted that Isabelle was probably well-off enough and pretty enough to afford to look rich without really trying.

“Rich ka naman talaga,” a netizen said. “You will never look broke,” another commented.

Ironic or not, the post does contain a nugget of wisdom. 

After all, there is still something to be taken from Isabelle’s advice. There is no need to exert effort to look good or rich on social media if our wallets cannot afford it. While the norm in social media seems to be the flaunting of affluence and the good life, it should be remembered that what people present on social media profiles and platforms is curated and not always authentic.

Journalist Jia Tolentino, who has written extensively about internet culture for The New Yorker and in her book Trick Mirror, described the internet as an endless performance with no backstage. “If you are obeying the incentives of what these platforms hope you do, you are performing in an increasingly attractive version of yourself so that more and more people will (step) into the auditorium. And that auditorium will stream into that 500 acquaintances that is normal for a person to have a thousand to 2,000 to 3,000 to, if you are incredibly lucky or unlucky, millions,” Tolentino said in an interview. “And as humans, we are not meant to live like this. We are not meant to live in a realm of the obviously unhealthy mechanism of celebrity.”

On the other hand, everyone has the right to look good and feel good—and sometimes, that may have to entail having to “look rich” (as long as you don’t get broke doing so). Here are some tips on how to “look rich” without breaking the bank. 

  • Vogue suggests mixing and matching your wardrobe. Mix your printed tops or bottoms with your plain pieces in neutral colors and tones such as black, white, and beige. This way, you can wear your more expensive pieces of clothing over and over again while having a good deal of style options.
  • Invest in quality clothing, which Vogue Australia’s Miguel Urbina Tan considers the foundation of an expensive-looking wardrobe. 
  • Town & Country notes that "polished looks expensive." Your clothes need not be always luxury brands, but make sure to keep your clothes stylish but simple, your hair and makeup neat, and your shoes spotless. Shoes are considered by many as the "hardest working" piece of your wardrobe as they can pull an outfit together, so invest in a good pair. Make sure your clothes have no nicks, tears, or dirt. 
  • A good-looking bag can also make your attire polished.
  • Simple is better, especially when you want to "look rich." Bags or pieces of clothing with huge logos can place undue attention on other pieces of your wardrobe and may clash with the polished elements of your attire. But a simple bag can make an outfit look sophisticated.