There hasn’t been anyone recently, who has made such an impact upon entering the industry the way professional model, and Pinoy Big Brother Otso third placer Lou Yanong has. Aside from the bubbly and attention-drawing personality she has, the controversy that followed her stay in the Big Brother House allowed her to show everyone that she is more than just beauty, but also someone who exudes resilience and grace under pressure. From her well-rooted upbringing, she shares how, despite any adversity, she still firmly knows and believes in who she is.
“Growing up, I was friendly. Kahit sino kinakausap ko, matanda man o bata because I started modeling when I was 7. Dun palang, I experienced rejection, which is why my mom would say that, 'If ever ma reject ka, don’t get discouraged, because it means God is planning something bigger for you.' I was a happy kid. Even if someone didn’t like me, it was okay, I’ll still like you. I try to find the good things in a person," she recounts.
As jolly as a kid she was, she still experienced her fare share of bullying, as she shares that almost everyone normally has to go through growing up.
“I think everyone's been bullied before. Yung mga bullies, na-bully din yan before. That’s why they became bullies. For me, I was tall, and anything from the usual. I'm very loud and dark skinned, and yun yung mga inaasar nila sa akin before. I was also very boyish—running around, may sipon. I didn’t care what I looked like," she recounts.
"I was in 5th grade when I wanted to transfer schools because I was bullied. There was one time I was locked in a room by five guys. In a dark room. They were ganging up on me, so I kicked one of them, and ran. Hindi ko alam kung alam ng parents ko yun.”
But those experiences were just a part of preparing her for what she has recently been facing, from the heels of her stay at the Pinoy Big Brother House.
“Until now, from everything that happened inside the house, there are good, and there are always gonna be bad things. I believe in yin and yang. There’s no good without bad, and there’s no bad without good. So I accept that going inside the house, it was going to happen,” Lou says.
Despite all she endured in and out of the house, she reaffirms how all these are a part of life, and even if at times she gets affected, she still maintains her grounded perspective on life, and even towards those who have spoken against her.
“What I always tell myself is always be the bigger person. What can you do? It’s already done. They know the consequences of what they’ve done, I know the consequences of what I’ve done inside the house, and I just accept it," she muses. "The best thing you can do is accept it and forgive. Pabilog kasi ang buhay. Nasa taas ka, nasa baba ka. What goes around comes around, so whatever you do to people, babalik din sayo. But I don’t wish that on those that bashed me. I just wish na may magmahal sa kanila na tao."
"The good thing about it is, I know myself. Even before, I’ve accepted myself. It was my father who told me that no one’s perfect. Laging sinasabi ng dad ko is, ‘It’s not always our academic status that will dictate our future. It’s our personality, perseverance, commitment, and hard work.' Those are the things you don’t learn in school."
"If I’m gonna change, it’s only for the better, and I won’t change just because someone told me to. It takes time to love yourself, and it takes a lot of bad moments and bullies. So I’d really consider my bullying a blessing, kasi kung wala yun, I wouldn’t be who I am now."
"I would say, invest time and effort to get to know yourself. Once you know yourself, no one can tell you who you are, but yourself. No one can hurt you if you know yourself, if you love yourself, and if you accept yourself. It’s very important because dun nagsisimula lahat.”
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Produced by Camille Santiago. Photos by Vyn Radovan. Video by Lui Jimenez and Kang Garcia. Makeup by Chuchie Ledesma. Hair by Sam Corbillon of Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon. Styling by Aldrin Ramos. Shot on location at Privato Hotel Quezon City. Special thanks to Pinoy Big Brother, Gabriel Perez and Katrina Luz-Lincuna.