Growing up as the eldest daughter of showbiz veterans Vic Sotto and Dina Bonnevie, it was virtually impossible for Danica Sotto to escape the limelight. She made her film debut at just two years old in the film Mama Said, Papa Said I Love You in 1985. Fast forward to this year where she now not just a doting mom to her two kids Anielle Micaela Pingris and Jean Michael Pingris, but also busy as one of the directors of Technoglass Curtainwall Systems, a glass company she helped put up four years ago with her husband Marc Pingris and their friend.
“Actually, it was Marc's ideam," Danica tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle. "Ever since naman, even if Marc is a basketball player, he has always been thinking what to do next. My business partner is our contractor, so he said why don’t we try putting up this kind of business. I saw that there’s potential and there’s still a lot of projects because, of course, we know from the developers nakikita na namin that there will still be a lot of condos and villages na gagawin. Ang dami pa. So, may future in it."
Having to make the decision to pursue a major investment for the first time was a leap of faith for Danica, who admits she still has a lot to learn when it comes to business.
“To be honest, although it’s not easy parang hindi ko pa na-fi-feel yung fruits of our labor kasi parang pinapaikot lang ng pinapaikot yung money. So, parang patience din, eh. Parang you have to be patient and trust your partners. My orientation talaga has always been something to do with the arts like acting and singing and media—okay, alam ko yan. And another thing would be culinary because that was my course. I have a diploma in culinary arts. So, pagdating ko dito parang whoa, nosebleed!" she jokes. "Even to this day, may mga terms sila na sobrang technical. Pero the key is, maybe because we are business partners with our friends for a long time, hindi na ako nahihiya to ask. Ano ba ibig sabihin ng ganito? Parang I’m very honest sa kanila. Hindi ako nagmamarunong lalo pag hindi ko alam,” she shares.
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While managing people, Danica admits she has also learned mmore about herself as an employer, especially in times of crisis. “Even as a boss I don’t see myself as somebody na typical na masungit like sa Devil Wears Prada na ganun. I feel like I’m more of an encourager also. So, kunwari may nakatrabaho ako na hindi ko gusto, sinasabi ko in a nice way but with conviction naman. I tell them, ‘Sana next time mas maayos or you have to make sure bago mo i-deliver ganito.’ Pag may crisis sa office naman, I pray and then after parang kailangan bago kami mag usap usap ng partners namin, I make sure that I’m not angry before I go to a meeting. Kasi if you’re angry you might say stuff that you’ll regret,” she shares.
A big influence on Danica is her mom Dina Bonnevie, who also runs a business of her own. “Siguro kasi nakikita ko din mom ko how she runs her business. But I think my mom’s more strict than me (compared to my dad). Kasi sya talaga perfectionist. I wouldn’t say naman that my mom pressured me, pero between the two of them, sya yung magtatanong, ‘O, anong gagawin mo?’ Hindi naman siguro pressure but maybe that’s her way of encouraging us on what we want to do. She tells us we have to take care of our ourselves, we have to eat well. Ako kahit papano meron pa akong room for konting errors. Mainly, because sometimes I get away right away so naaawa rin ako," she adds. "Never ko pa na-experience manigaw ng employee, hindi pa naman."
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When she’s not working, Danica admits she enjoys being a regular mom and doing domestic duties like homeschooling her kids. But even if she was born with a lot of blessings in life, she will also be the first to admit that her life is far from perfect. Just like with her pragmatic approach to business, Danica says parenting is a constant learning process as well. “I struggle also as a mom. I would say I still have a lot of things that I’d like to learn. I’m currently discovering more about how to understand my children kasi iba na ngayon. It’s different right now kasi kalaban mo na yung technology and social media. So, raising children right now is very different from how they were raised before. Kung ano yung struggles ng ibang mom, ganun din ako. May times din na ang saya saya ko, feeling ko ang galing ko. May times din na umiiyak ako, na parang feeling ko, ‘Tama ba itong ginagawa ko? Ba’t ba ganito?’ Yung feeling na minsan meron kang decision tapos feeling mo palpak and then naiiyak ka na lang. I cannot say na parang my life is perfect—na lahat ng bagay plantsado. I think that’s how we learn naman in life di ba? It’s when we go through stuff,” she explains.
Even when she has a lot on her plate, Danica admits she never forgets to set aside time for self-care. “Wala akong fixed schedule. Pero definitely, naka-prioritize yung family ko. And then I try to squeeze in yung me time ko, which is working out. I try my best to do at least three times a week, pero minsan pag may lakad ang mga bata,” she says.
For busy moms like her, Danica says they should never lose sight of their goals even if they cannot put up their own business right away. “For me timing is everything. Sa totoo, I still would like to put up my own cafe. But as of the moment, my reality is hindi ko pa kaya. Ang advice ko is wait for the right timing. Kahit gusto mo, pero kunwari hindi talaga kaya ng budget at saka ng oras mo, tingnan mo din. And if you feel that the timing is right, then go for it. Kahit minsan kinakabahan ka na ganun. Ipag-pray mo. For those who are married, make sure also na may approval ni hubby kasi I’ve heard of a lot of mga stories na nung lumago na yung business dun na sila nag-away at naghiwalay. Dapat may sort of agreement pa din,” she adds.
Another successful passion project of Danica is her cooking channel on YouTube KusiNica which also takes up her time. “When I started it, I really didn’t think of it as a business. It was more for fun. And then when some of the brands starting tapping us and then nagkaroon ng monetization din on YouTube, dun ko lang naisip na puwede pala ito maging business. But it was just really a passion project of mine. So, since it’s something that I really, really loved to do, which is hosting and cooking and interviewing people, it comes naturally. I don’t feel like I’m working. Making a cookbook is also part of the plan. Ang dami ko pang plan also for that eventually,” she admits.
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Just like how she is with her employees, Danica treats her social media followers with equal respect. The 36-year-old celebrity mom wants to live her life with a constant attitude of gratitude. “Kunwari may mag-se-send sa akin ng DM saying, ‘I love your family. When I see your pictures parang perfect family, ganyan.’ Sinasabi ko sa kanila, ‘Thank you for your kind words but we are really far from perfect. Like you guys, we also have our good days and bad days.’ I believe kasi na in any situation, it’s knowing that apart from God’s grace, you really cannot do it on your own,” she says.
Taking to heart the saying that no man is an island, Danica finds strength in acknowledging that she is happy to find love and support with the people around her. “Hindi mo kaya mag-isa lahat yan. Kahit sobrang talino mo or sobrang galing mo. Even if kaya ko mag-interview and pose for the camera, I wouldn’t look like this right now if not for the glam team, if I didn’t have a good makeup artist and a good manager. Ang hirap i-take yung credit, eh. Kahit sa house when someone says, ‘Ang ganda ng house mo ang linis linis,’ tapos parang ako, ‘No, hindi ako ito. We have angels or helpers who help us,’” she admits.
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On Danica: Cardigan, SM Woman; trousers, Kashieca
Produced by Camille Santiago | Photography by Vyn Radovan | Makeup by Jackie Rodriguez | Hair by Kevin Inciso | Styling by Poy Villamonte | Shot on location at The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences | Special thanks to Carissa Gomez of The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences and Vania Edralin