Christmas is literally just around the corner (12 days to go!), and what better present to give you than have you get to know six young men and women who are totally changing the way we look at millennials just by being their authentic selves, in real life and on social media. Joining the star-studded roster of Bench ambassadors is this good-looking bunch that's got equal parts style and substance, and 100% determination to carpe diem their way through life and towards their goals: Angel Manzano, Arisse de Santos, Kahlea Belonia, Neil Dy, Emil Khodaverdi, and Mathew Custodio.
They may have a breakout billboard on EDSA, countless appearances in magazines and newspapers, and to-die-for Instagram feeds—on top of enviable lives that is, what with their achievements in school and their respective industries (Arisse is a successful blogger, Angel is one of the most brilliant students and leaders in Ateneo, Kahlea is a burgeoning model, Mathew is a varsity football player, Neil, and Emil's one of the fastest rising commercial models today) yet these millennials know that there's so much more to life than a large following and non-stop likes on your posts. They'll warm your hearts as they share with you their holiday wishes, gift lists, and thoughts on the generation now.
Angel Manzano, 20
Describe yourself in one sentence. "I'm your favorite kabarkada."
What's the craziest misconception about millennials? "Maybe the craziest misconception about millenials is that they're loners, that they dont care. Kasi like the older generation thinks, [millennials are] so caught up with themselves, they're so self-centered, they don't see what's happening. But, I don't think that's true because some people our age are really, really [involve themselves in the discussion of] issues that matter."
Who's on top of your Christmas list, why, and what are you giving him/her? "My mom because she's the most important person in my life, she's my best friend, my mom, my sister, all-in one. And the gift I want to give her, I want to give her the world, if that's possible, but then, I want to give her a trip around the world, both of us lang, bonding, food trip, and to go to different places."
Arisse De Santos, 23
Describe yourself in one sentence. "I'm up for anything, I'm spontaneous, like when I like something, I want to do it and get it done."
What's the craziest misconception about millennials? "I think it's probably we're so obsessed with social media and how other people view us and there are people who curate their lives well and are able to live their life okay. Kasi di ba, when people see that you have a nice feed, you don't really care much about life, but there are people who do not naman. I guess, you just have to be the better type of millennial instead on dwelling on how people view you, you just do it for you and nobody else."
Who's on top of your Christmas list, why, and what are you giving him/her? "My family and if I were to choose one, my boyfriend kasi he won't be here for Christmas and sana I'm there for him. Then, maybe I'll surprise him there."
Kahlea Belonia, 17
Describe yourself in one sentence. "I'm very optimistic, carefree, and a happy-go-lucky type of person."
What's the craziest misconception about millennials? "Siguro it's dealing with social media. Some [of the] youth kasi don't know how to use social media well. You need to guide some people pa so they can use it the right way."
What's the non-material gift you want to give others/the world this year? "Siguro, more patience, especially like with my family kasi we go through a lot. More patience kasi patience is a virtue.
What's the best lesson you've learned this year? "Always be contented with what you have."
What's your ultimate holiday dressing tip? "Wear something you're comfortable with but make sure it's holiday-friendly."
Emil Khodaverdi, 20
Describe yourself in one sentence. "I'm very sociable, confident, and fit."
What's the craziest misconcepcion about millennials? "The craziest misconcepcion about millennials is that they think that we know everything, that we tend to just sit around, too laidback and our thirst for knowledge is not as strong as to the people in the past generations, which sometimes I see it, but sometimes I don't believe it's true because there are a lot of hardworking young people today."
Who's on top of your Christmas list, why, and what are you giving him/her? "My lola. She's in Cebu and I'm planning to buy a ticket to go to Cebu and treat her to her favorite restaurant there. That's my Christmas gift to her."
Mathew Custodio, 19
Describe yourself in one sentence. "I'm funny, witty, and brawny."
What's the truest stereotype about millenials? "I think the truest stereotype is that we follow each trend, as in we try to be like everyone else. It's true, I think I'm guilty."
What do you want from Santa this year? "I want a denim jacket with a lot of patches and buttons kasi it's a piece of clothing that I never had."
Neil Dy, 23
Describe yourself in one sentence. "I'm tall and I have a big heart."
What's the truest stereotype about millenials? "We party too much, we're not conservative enough and I think we're wilder compared to the past generations."
What's your ultimate holiday dressing tip? "Do not be too fancy but make sure you look classy. Just keep it simple and neutral."
What's the best lesson you've learned this year? "Patience is very important, in all aspects and if you're patient the things will you want will just come."
Can't get enough of the Benchsetters? You'll surely enjoy this Kris Kringle game of theirs:
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Photographs by Vyn Radovan / Styling by Lorenz Namalata / Interviews by Red Dimaandal / Artwork by Jana Jimenez / Text Katrina A. Angco / All clothes by Bench