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Rissa Mananquil-Trillo on building her self-identity

Updated: May 31, 2023

Rissa Mananquil Trillo has been a force in the Philippine fashion and beauty industry from her 20s, 30s, and now in her 40s. Today, she takes the most pride in being a wife, mother and women's advocate, and in living life according to her values.

What do you do for a living, and what are the things that make you feel more alive?

I’m an entrepreneur, author, and UN Women advocate. However, the most important titles to me are wife and mom because parents contribute to creating not just better citizens of the future but also confident, unstoppable women.

I am most known for:

Creating a game-changing Filipino beauty brand that encouraged women to embrace loving local and one that helped pave the way for other local beauty brands to enter the market. I am also known for walking away from it when I was no longer among shared ethics and values.

I am most proud of :

Always giving it my all, both personally and professionally. Doing a good job has always meant so much to me—not just a good job, but doing it with integrity. It’s not about tying my self-worth to work but rather my values. It never made sense to compromise what I believed in because that would mean compromising my respect for myself, too.

What do you think is the biggest challenge, and the best thing, about being your age?

Your 20s and 30s are the time when you’re still forming your identity, so it’s easy to be swayed by external validation. The best thing about your forties is confidence and experience now converge. Knowing who you are makes the opinions of others hold less weight. You don’t fear missing out, you get comfortable saying no, and you’ve already surrounded yourself with true friends. Best of all, you know you’re no longer starting from scratch in whatever you do, but rather from experience.

How have you grown wiser in the past two years?

I’ve always been an all-in type of person. When I commit, I give my everything— which is good for the output but not always for my own well-being. The past two years showed me what I was made of. They were also a reminder that mental vacations are just as important as physical ones.

What are some of the best pieces of life advice you have ever received?

It’s something my husband Paolo shared with me, which his father shared with him: “If you have even a 0.01 percent of doubt when getting married, then don’t.”

Who are the women you look up to and how have they helped shape your life?

I learn so much seeing the world through my daughters’ eyes. Celestia and Audra are always my reminders that age is not a measure of wisdom. We all have something to learn from everyone no matter what age.

Although not a woman, my husband Paolo is really the person I look up to the most. He is the one person I constantly learn so much from in every conversation. I fall harder for him even more every time I see how he treats other people and our children.

She Talks Generations celebrates wisdom-sharing among women; and highlights the different perspectives and unique strengths that we bring to the table at every life stage.

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