135,000: That’s how many likes Vice Ganda’s no makeup, no filter selfie, which he posted on Instagram with the hashtag #ProudToBeMe, got in just 24 hours. This followed the surprising and inspiring turn of events on an episode of It’s Showtime, after the chosen audience member for the segment AdVice Ganda spoke about her struggles with being bullied because of her looks. Besides giving empowering advice to 16-year-old Pamela Reyes on being comfortable in her own skin, Vice made an even stronger statement by wiping off his makeup and taking off his wig, contact lenses, and false eyelashes to show everyone that though he’s far from perfect, he’s proud of who he is.
Every day we are bombarded with images of perfection (on television, magazines, movies, on billboards along EDSA, among others), so to see someone as famous and influential as Vice Ganda go against this norm that pressures us to conform to certain standards (and chase certain ideals just so we can be considered beautiful), is refreshing. Here are three truths about beauty we highly agree with the Unkabogable Star on:
1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—and the most important beholder of your beauty is you. What’s beautiful for me may not be beautiful for you, and vice versa. While we cannot control what others think of us, we have to break free from the thinking that the loveliest of them all are the ones with immaculate complexions, proportionate features, lustrous locks, and slim physiques. Cliché but true, each one of us is uniquely beautiful, and we must believe in that.
“Hindi pwedeng pilitin ang mga tao na magandahan sila sa’tin pero tayo dapat lagi tayong nagagandahan sa sarili natin. Kailangan mas makapangyarihan ang sinasabi ng puso mo kesa sa sinasabi ng bibig ng ibang tao. Kailangan mas makapangyarihan ang paniniwala mo kesa sa paniniwala ng ibang tao tungkol sa yo.” said Vice.
Beginning today, why don’t you start appreciating your features when you look at yourself in the mirror? Stop being critical of how you look and letting others’ opinions get to you. We’re so with Christina Aguilera on this: “You are beautiful no matter what they say…”—so please don’t let anybody’s words bring you down.
2. Inner beauty is still what matters most. Vice couldn’t have put it better: “Kahit maitim ka maganda ka na agad basta ‘yung kulay ng balat mo hindi sing-itim ng budhi mo. Kahit hindi makinis ang mukha mo maganda ka, basta hindi kasing gaspang ng mukha mo ang paguugali mo.” I’ve interviewed so many celebrities and models over the years and I kid you not, each and every one always stresses the importance of being beautiful on the inside. They tell me that no amount of makeup can ever mask a bad personality and that a kind heart gives you an incomparable glow. Easy for them to say because they’re beautiful, you think? Not quite, because a lot of them have actually suffered from bullying as young girls (either because they were dark-skinned or gawky-looking or had frizzy hair…the list goes on) but they did not let the cruel world keep them from achieving their dreams nor let it harden their hearts—and that optimism, resilience, and strength make them truly beautiful.
3. Embrace and celebrate your unique beauty, and those of others as well. This whole debacle in pursuit of perfection will not end by simply being comfortable in your own skin: Help other people embrace their unique beauty as well. Stop judging people based on their looks, stop making fun of people just because they don’t look a certain way—sometimes even the subtlest comments (“Parang umitim ka” or “Mahangin ba sa labas? Anyare sa hair mo?”) can make a negative impact on someone’s self-esteem. Focus on a person’s good traits (whether physical features or personality characteristics)—kind words have an incredible way of turning around someone’s view of herself.
We’re not saying you should stop putting an effort in taking care of ourselves and looking good. Put on makeup, dress up the way you want—do what floats your boat, but do it out of fun, do it because you want to and not because you want to change yourself to fit into someone else’s ideals. Only by having a mastery of yourself and believing in your beauty—no makeup, no filter—will you truly be free.“Kahit anong sabihin niyo sa kin hindi na ko mabibigla. Sabihin niyong pangit ang buhok ko, alam ko. Sabihan niyo akong pangit ang kutis ko, alam ko. Pero ‘yang lahat ay sa paningin niyo, para sa akin maganda ako. Maganda ako at maganda ka,” concluded Vice on It’s Showtime.
Repeat after me: No one is perfect, but each one of us is beautiful—bad hair days, breakouts, uneven teeth, and all, so chin up, beautiful.
Lead photograph courtesy of M.A.C Cosmetics