Mia is known for her strong advocacy on self-love and body positivity, but it was not always this way. From feeling lost on who she was and what she wanted out of life, her healing journey has transformed her into the confident and self-loving woman she is today, with an advocacy that is heard throughout generations.
How old are you?
What do you do for a living, and what are the things that make you feel more alive?
I’m a model, content creator and student. I absolutely love my job. I feel very lucky to be able to make a living doing what I love, which is make up and fashion. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for my job which allows to me to go to beautiful places and experience wonderful things.
I am most known for:
My content on body positivity and encouraging everyone to wear whatever makes them happy.
I am most proud of:
My healing journey. The past year, i worked on not just healing my relationship with food and exercise but also on healing my heart and mind. I’m in my late twenties and I went through a crisis of figuring out who i am and what I want in life. I’m very proud to say that I’ve learned so much about myself and i finally like who I am now.
What do you think is the biggest challenge, and the best thing, about being your age?
One of the things that still make me sad is the fact that I still haven't earned my college degree. I’ve been delayed for almost 6 years now and it was a struggle coming back. All my classmates were younger than me and I honestly felt like I didn't belong. I also felt like I was running out of time because people my age were already off achieving different milestones while I got stuck in college.
It took so much inner work to make peace with my past. I wouldn't be where I am today if not for the delay that I experienced. I don't think I would have become a model and a content creator if I graduated college on time. The best part about reaching this age is the clarity and wisdom. I have always felt very deeply about things and as a kid, it was difficult processing these big emotions. The best part about growing up is that I finally have the capacity to process the emotions and the experiences I went through before.
I used to be so afraid of getting older but now that I’m here, everything finally makes sense. I’m so grateful to reach this age.
How have you grown wiser in the past two years?
I think most of my growth happened in those 2 years. My long term relationship ended and at the same time, I started going to school again. I felt so lost because at 25, I thought my life was over. I was alone and I really thought I was too old to find anyone ever again. I was also adjusting to my classmates and professors-- I was old enough to be their professor. I think it was the shame that really brought me down. I felt like I hadn't achieved anything in life.
I’m still single now and still working on my degree but I no longer feel the same way because I learned that we all have different timelines. I have learned to enjoy and appreciate whatever part of life I am in.
What are the best pieces of life advice you have ever received?
“What’s meant for you will always find its way to you.”
For a long time, I had this anxiety that I was missing out on life. Whenever I saw people achieve things, It always made me feel hurt and jealous. I treated everyone as competition because I thought that the more they achieved, the less there was for me. This mindset put me in such a defensive mode, I was always on edge ready to fight. The phrase above became my daily affirmation. I think that’s how I found peace. I stopped looking at everyone as competition. No one can ever take away what’s mine so why fight? There is no rush to achieve, which means all I have to do really is just be present and do what I can in the moment. Everything will come to me at the perfect time
Who are the women you look up to and how have they helped shape your life?
I still remember the first time I saw a plus size model online. I was in awe because I rarely saw big-bodied women portrayed so beautifully. I grew up with the Filipino standards of beauty that preferred white skin and a small body and I spent so many years of my life trying to achieve just that. I don’t attribute my journey of self love and body positivity to just one person. Honestly, what helped me the most was seeing other women that looked like me- Normal people just wearing whatever they wanted and living their best lives. I saw these women who had stretch marks and big arms and thighs like me, who wore crop tops and skirts and I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I? If they can look beautiful and be happy in their bodies, maybe I can too.
I am who I am because of all the women around me who decided to live their lives and be happy in the body that they had.
Is there a turning point in your life that helped you transform into the person you are today?
2 years ago, I was alone in my room crying because I was so angry at life. I felt like I didn't deserve all the things that happened to me. I felt so hurt and betrayed. I don’t know who I was shouting at but I remember saying, “I will not go down like this. I refuse to lose.” I refuse to be unhappy. I refuse to be miserable. I deserve better and I will give myself better. I stopped waiting for someone to save me. That was the day I made a decision to save myself. That anger helped me realize that I deserved more in life and that It was up to me to make my life better. After that, I helped myself with journaling, meditation, and some therapy and it led me to where I am today- happy and at peace.
Do you have favorite practices that help you strengthen your self love and body positivity?
My favorite practice is to look beyond my body and to look within. I am more than just a body. I have an old soul, a kind heart, a wonderful mind and a warm spirit. Whenever I feel bad about my body, I look within myself and think about all that I am beyond what I look like. I tell myself that I deserve to be happy and at peace, no matter the body that I am in. Life is too short to spend it at war with my body. I'm going to wear whatever I want and do what makes me happy.
Do you have a message for anyone who may be going through a similar self-love and body positivity transformation to you?
I used to reserve happiness for a future version of me that doesn’t exist yet.
“I'll wear this when I'm thinner, I'll do this when I reach my goal weight. I’ll be happy when-”
I always had conditions because I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy just because of what i looked like. To anyone reading this, I hope you know you deserve love, respect, and happiness just because. There is nothing you need to do to earn this, you just are worthy. It doesn't matter what other people think, it only matters what you think about yourself. You are beautiful exactly as you are and you deserve all the best things this life has to offer.
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