By Mariel Abanes
Curly-haired, petite, and beautiful.
These words aren’t always used in the same sentence, but breaking society’s definition of a woman is Shanne Dandan’s cause. Embracing her supposedly "flaws" is her superpower, and it’s in her authenticity and bravery in baring her real-est self that get the approval of most, if not all, girls her age and beyond.
For instance, the 18-year-old’s impulse to post a selfie that shows her unshaved armpit made a mark in an unconventional way. “One day, I was about to shave my underarm. I felt really confident, so I took selfies, tapos pinakita ko sa mga taong close sa akin. Sabi ko, gusto kong i-post—pinipigilan nila ako,” Shanne shares. It made her realize how girls would be ashamed of such a natural thing as body hair. It urged her to do it anyway—albeit the inevitable negative reaction she might get.
But instead of bashers, she gained followers—throwing not shade but pride in her stand. “’Yun ‘yung post na nag-reflect talaga sa personality ko. I refuse to conform with the norms, with the stereotypes—lalo na sa mga babae,” the incoming Interior Design freshie explains.
It’s what gets stuck in your head when you grew up looking up to women of power, listing The Bell Jar author Sylvia Path and "Girl On Fire" hitmaker Alicia Keys as some of her inspirations. It helped her open her eyes to the real world, and as a teen, understand issues involving one’s gender and everything that comes with it.
Shanne had her share of self-doubt in the beginning, of course, her confidence taking a step back every now and then. Her glorious curls caused her scars as a child, saying, “Lagi kong tinatali 'yung buhok ko para hindi ako maasar ng mga tao.” Shanne continues, “I don’t usually wear what I want to wear kasi feeling ko hindi bagay sa akin. Dati hindi ako tumatagal kapag tumitingin sa salamin kasi parang I hated what I was seeing.”
Shanne deemed herself "not pretty" back then, until she decided to end all the negativity. Facing the mirror and really looking at herself for the first time, imperfections and all, she cried and told the girl in that reflection that she’s beautiful. It was an eye-opening experience. Now, we have the present Shanne Dandan, a strong-willed femme who’s confident to flaunt her perfectly flawed self to the world. And guess what—the world loves her for it.
Her photos on social media speak for the confidence she’s imbibing, and Shanne hopes that her message gets through her audience positively. She throws inspirational words in the picture as well, trying to power through her advocacy and encourage everyone to accept themselves for who they are. She does all these while pursuing her dreams in music and the arts, performing in gigs regularly, and taking side jobs in set design (If you didn’t know yet, Shanne’s been in charge for IV of Spades’ set in "Where Have You Been My Disco?" and "In My Prison!").
With over 100k followers on Twitter and Instagram combined and a voice (and beauty) that can positively affect others, Shanne may as well be the kind of beauty influencer we all need right now. “Lahat ng tao nagso-social media ngayon at sobrang galing maka-influence sa social media. So, why not use social media as a platform for your advocacy?” she reflects.
Shanne, with that glowing face, fierce pose, and vivid yet unassuming confidence, is telling you that you’re beautiful, and she means it. No matter who you are, what your skin color is, when you’re feeling loved, where your beliefs lie, or how you view yourself as a person, Shanne is here to assure you that you are amazing in your own way—and you should own it.
In her words, “Why would I hide something so natural and beautiful at the same time?”
Watch Shanne star in our 18th anniversary campaign #ChalkGen18 as part of this year's Chalk Bright Young Manila:
ALSO READ: #ChalkGen18: Meet The 18 Individuals Of This Year's Chalk Bright Young Manila
Photographed by Stephen Capuchino
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Madel Asuncion
Makeup by Janell Capuchino
Clothes by Bench