Apples’ constant evolution is one that many of us have been fortunate to witness: from being one of the country’s first supermodels and then heading the PR efforts of one of the world’s largest multinationals to being a writer and creative entrepreneur. With multiple accomplishments under her belt, her continued growth proves that age is really just a number, and never a barrier.
What do you do for a living, and what are the things that make you feel more alive?
After a twelve year career leading PR for Unilever, I decided to retire in 2021 during the pandemic. Although I continued to work as a consultant for some brands immediately after, I realized that I needed time to be still, reflect and spend time with loved ones. So, I dropped everything that I was doing and concentrated on nurturing relationships and taking care of myself and those around me.
After around a year of semi-retirement, I’m back on the saddle as a marketing and communications consultant and lifestyle writer.
I feel alive when I’m spending time with the people I love most and we’re laughing over the most mundane things, discovering the world together or learning and growing from new experiences and the people around us. I also feel vibrant and energized when I’m near the ocean and chasing sunsets.
How old are you?
55 and starting to love the stage I’m in.
I am most known for_______________________________.
I am most known for my work as a fashion model, my career in PR and communications, and as mother to Sam and Martin.
I am most proud of ________________________________.
I am most proud of being a mother to two grown children, who are both kind, compassionate and responsible adults. On another note, I am also proud to have proven that there’s no timeline for success. Over the years, I was as a model, fashion editor, Project Runway resident judge, entrepreneur, and started my career in the corporate world at age 40! This proves that we all have our own unique journeys and age should never be a barrier.
What do you think is the biggest challenge about being your age?
There are physiological challenges like menopause, a less agile, sometimes aching body plus changes in my physical appearance (white hair, wrinkles, weight gain, for example). Then there are deeper social issues like ageism.
But there is a way to age gracefully through a positive mindset, healthy lifestyle and the company of individuals with the same values and goals. It also helps to practice waking up each day with a grateful heart.
What is the best thing about being your age?
The best thing about being my age is that I’m finally learning to love myself by celebrating my strengths and accepting my imperfections. Not an easy task as I am quite the perfectionist so it is a work in progress. But more and more, I’m practicing self-compassion, going with the flow (after I’ve done the work, that is), lifting it all up to God and bolstering my faith. It’s the only way to gain peace of mind and heart.
How have you grown wiser through the years?
It has not always been easy but I have been blessed with people who’ve stood by my side and believed in me, even during my lowest moments. Knowing this helped me want to do the right thing and work hard to prove them right.
Life’s many challenges has also taught me to be more forgiving, not just of others but of myself. I gained freedom to be my best self once I decided to embrace the journey to forgiveness.
Whenever you reflect on your life so far, what is one experience that truly shaped who you are today?
There is no singular experience that shaped who I am today but two things come to mind. One was the day I became a mother and started to truly experience the meaning of unconditional love. And second was when I had to move to Singapore to start a career in Unilever Global at age 40. I had to learn not just how to navigate the corporate world, but how to adjust to a new independent life away from my children. It was a rude awakening because aside from not being with my raisons d’etre, I had to acquire basic life skills like cooking Filipino favorites such as adobo or sinigang, or how to use the washing machine, among many other seemingly simple things! They weren’t kidding when they said that life begins at 40!
What are the best pieces of life advice you have ever received?
From my mother, always be kind and take the higher road.
From my friends Karen, Techie and Odette, “Trust in Him.”
From my friend Myrza, “Go lang nang go.”
Who are the women you look up to and how have they helped shape your life?
My mom because she’s one of the kindest, most loving and generous women I know. She seems vulnerable but I see a quiet strength that has helped her through difficulties. She is the one who taught me to act with kindness and compassion.
My dearest girlfriends and constants who are all strong, purposeful individuals with a strong faith in God. There’s nothing like the support of empowered women to make you believe that you, too, can achieve whatever you set out to do, and inspire others while you’re at it.