Summer has always been identified as a season for exploration—a time to go out, let your sense of adventure take over, and try new things. During our shoot with Kiana Valenciano, she revealed that she has always been a summer person through and through, forever preferring the warmth over the cold. So it didn't come as a surprise that the young artist looked right at home with her toes in the sand and head under the sun as we captured her in her natural habitat by the sea.
After spending hours giving her A-game in front of the camera, we were able to sit down with Kiana as she let us in on everything that makes her summer extra perfect!
Chalk: Based on your Instagram feed, you seem to be quite the beach babe. How do you usually spend your summer?
Kiana: I spend most of my time at the beach or in a pool or travelling with my friends. This summer is probably going to be a bit different since I’ll be spending more time in the studio because I’m working on my album. But summer to me, ever since I was a kid, has been beach, pool, family, cousins, friends.
C: Can you tell us more about your fondest summer memory?
K: I grew up in a compound with five of my cousins so there were six of us. Every summer, every day was like a different adventure. Think Neverland—we were like The Lost Boys. Or think Narnia—we were the kings and queens of Narnia! So, those are my fondest memories because until this day, we still talk about those afternoons and those
mornings where we would just do the craziest things, and it would be so much fun.
C: We know you also travel a lot. What's the earliest memory you have of traveling?
My dad’s tours. Just going on tour with my parents and being so sad about having to leave my cousins abroad and having to come back home. But I was also excited about coming home to my cousins that live here. That’s what I remember the most about traveling when I was a kid.
C: What about now? Do you have any exciting stories from your favorite escapades?
K: My favorite country that I’ve ever been to is Spain. During my first time there, I went to Madrid and Segovia. I absolutely loved it—the culture and the beauty of the city. I just ended up getting lost a few times while walking, and I didn’t even mind because I loved it. I also love London in the summer. I love it there because I experienced being alone there for three months, and it really forced me to grow up. I met a whole different side of myself while I was there. That’s like a personal attachment. Locally, there’s El Nido, my favorite. What else? I like Sagada. I love the outdoors so I love hiking, going to the beach, and surfing. So anywhere that I can do that, I’ll be there.
C: If you could move to one summer destination for the rest of your life, where would it be?
K: I’m thinking I might say El Nido. I could say El Nido but I’ve never been to Siargao, and I have a feeling that if I go to Siargao, I might want to live there.
C: Clearly, you feel right at home by the sea! So, how are you planning to take care of your skin this season?
K: Sunscreen—not to stay white but to protect myself from the harmful effects the sun. I’ve already suffered white spots and dark spots. Although I love to tan, I really do have to lather on sunscreen and make sure I protect myself. It’s not about skin color—the sun is very harmful. Water is also my best friend during the summer. You can put all sorts of stuff on your skin, and it won’t even cling if you don’t have water backing you up.
When it comes to my daily routine, I just make sure to remove my makeup with micellar water, and then I follow it up with facial wash. My other skincare essentials include eye cream, moisturizer, and serum. It varies depending on what my skin needs at the moment.
C: So, we take it you're proud of your morena skin. What is it about it that makes you so appreciative of your skin color?
K: I think what makes me proud is that people haven’t been to be morena for so long. I never understood why people thought there was something wrong with it and why people didn’t embrace it. I was made fun of—but only picked on, it was never bullying. But people would make fun of me because I was so tan. I was an athlete, too, so I spent a lot of time under the sun. This is nothing; I was way darker in high school. I never saw it as a bad thing. I would travel a lot and people would tell me they want my skin color. So, I realized that people always think they just want what they can’t have. I learned that I just have to embrace what I have, and the more that I embraced it, the more I empowered younger girls who have this skin color as well to do the same. That’s what makes me really proud to be one of the not many morenas standing up and empowering others like us.
C: And how important is it to you that Filipinos are finally beginning to realize the beauty of morena skin?
K: I think it’s really important that Filipinos embrace it because it’s our natural skin color. For so long, we’ve been kind of being brainwashed to go lighter and that lighter is better. I’m not saying that lighter isn’t beautiful. I’m just saying that you have to learn to love who you are and appreciate what you have. If you’re not happy with yourself or don’t love yourself, it’s going to show.
C: That's so true! Aside from your sun-kissed skin, another thing we're loving about your look right now is your new haircut! What inspired you to go short?
K: Oh my god, everyone’s been asking me that! Honestly, I dyed it too many times and it was really dry. I honestly wanted to dye it some more but my stylist recommended against it so I said, “Okay, just chop it off.” I was bored! I wanted to do something new. I went in initially to get a new color and they said "No." So I was like, “Okay, just chop it off. There’s nothing else we could do with it.”
C: Would you ever go shorter than that?
K: You know what? I was planning to go for a pixie cut. I just chickened out, so I feel like I will eventually. Let me just get used to this length first.
C: Well, that's something we're looking forward to see! Thanks for spending the day with us, Kiana!
K: Thank you as well! I had fun!
ALSO READ: #ChalkLovesKiana: Kiana Valenciano Lets Us In On Her Aspirations As A Musician
Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Styled by Matt Panes
Makeup by Janell Capuchino using BYS Philippines
Hair by Jaat Dela Paz
Words by Niko Dacanay
Shot on Location at Crystal Beach Resort