Archive of ‘In Her Suitcase’ category

[In Her Suitcase] Breaking Down Walls, Building A Startup, and Embracing Culture with Smarla Angtuaco

Suitcases

In Her Suitcase is an interview section on Pink My Ride that turns the spotlight on women who inspire me, who can inspire you, and who try to create their best lives by coloring their journeys in their own unique and remarkable ways.

Smarla Angtuaco 6

I first met Smarla Angtuaco when i joined Culture Shock Philippines’ art and cultural trip to Angono, Rizal last year.  She was our assigned guide at the time and is Culture Shock’s resident food connoisseur.  As an advocate of Philippine art, heritage, and culture myself, it’s just natural that I’ve chosen to interview her for this segment!

Smarla’s excitement in promoting Philippine culture and hertiage is truly one of a kind, but what’s more admirable, for me, is her being able to overcome tremendous obstacles (most of which aren’t covered in this interview) to get to where she is now — obstacles that I’m not sure if I, myself, can overcome.  She continues to fight and push herself to break all walls just so she can do what truly make her happy — promote Philippine culture, take breathtaking photographs, and eat good food.  :)

Read on as Smarla shares with us her fondness for Philippine culture, and how she was able to break all barriers in founding Culture Shock Philippines.

——

So, what’s keeping you busy lately?

I recently went full time already in Culture Shock PH and crafting plans, establishing key partnerships, and responding to inquiries have been keeping me busy.

Can you tell us a bit more about your journey?  What has brought you to where you are now?  

My cheesy food blog started it all for me. When my partners, Guido and Osep, wanted to create a tour group that focused on Philippines culture & heritage tours with lots of hands-on activities and local interaction, they talked to me because I was tagged as the food girl!

Smarla Angtuaco 5

It wasn’t a quick jump for me. It took a while for me to really fall in love with what we were doing. I think what really became the turning point was when I met the Talaandig Tribe of Bukidnon for our dry run for the Talaandig Cultural Immersion Tour. Prior to the trip, I had no clue the Talaandig tribe even existed! But when I was there, I just fell head over heels for their deep rooted artistic culture. They have such a grounded sense of who they are; hence they are able to open themselves to other cultures without losing their identity. I was seriously culture shocked in a positive way! I wanted to share this same feeling to other people. The Philippines has SO MUCH to offer if only we go beyond the usual touristy photo taking fest and go outside our comfort zone.

What was the biggest bump or struggle that you had to go through along the way?  How did you overcome it?

I think it was really the belief that what we were doing was relevant and to keep pushing forward. Building a startup is INCREDIBLY HARD, so you really need the heart to keep pursuing it and to keep breaking down walls. It can get really tiring,especially after a string of rejections and failures.

Angono Rizal

It helps to have the best partners in the world who keep pushing you to continue on. I’m quite of an impatient perfectionist, which is not exactly always helpful when you’re building a startup. The impatience helps with the eagerness to execute right away, but you need all the patience in the world to wait for the seeds that you planted to grow at the right time.

Also when we started meeting the right clientele who were outside our circle of friends, their enthusiasm for our tours and our personal discoveries fueled us and inspired us to keep exploring and then creating itineraries out of them to share them to the rest of the world.

Any amazing discoveries about yourself along the ride?

I’m a nerd and an introvert so it was such a revelation for me when I learned that I can actually guide a tour group. I thought only extroverts can put themselves in such a position!

Smarla Angtuaco 8

Also, I learned that my genuine curiosity & sassy and crass nature actually allow me to connect easily with people from the province. I’m not sure why but I guess they appreciate my sincerity and admiration for their art & culture.

Who or what inspires you to keep going?

The people we meet along the way: our partners, clients, fellow culture & heritage advocates, locals, etc. Their love for the country is just so infectious; we have been bitten by the bug quite badly. =P

What’s in store for the road ahead?

We want to make Philippine culture & heritage fresh, young, and hip, to make it more relevant and attainable to more people rather than just the “educated elite snobs” or the older crowd. We are expanding our tours to cater to those with less time to spare, so we are making shorter 3-6 hour tours and more workshops. We also plan to make more specialized tours like a Pampanga Culinary Tour where you actually get to cook 2-3 Kapampangan dishes with local cooks or an intensive Angono Art Workshop with the local artists.

We are also expanding to merchandise to reach more people like maps, shirts, accessories, mugs, and the like to feature different facets of our culture, especially regions and tribes that are less popular. There’s so much more to the Philippines that what our country is already marketing, we just need to keep exploring!

Smarla Angtuaco 4

We’re also building strategic partnerships to push our advocacy further at a faster pace. We need more like-minded people to team up with!

For me, Culture Shock PH is really my baby so bulk of my time will be spent traveling and creating itineraries, since I’m now in charge of tour development. So if you have any tour requests, let me know!

What does “coloring the journey” mean to you?

 I think coloring the journey is really living a full life, a discerned life. =) It’s not going about your day like a zombie and just going auto pilot. It’s really living a life of intent by exploring the world around you and in the process, discovering your unique self as well. It’s really making your life a product of your conscious choices to make it your own.

Smarla Angtuaco1

Life is a journey and in every trip or journey, we bring suitcases.  Inside our “life suitcases” are the lessons we have picked up along the journey that we take with us wherever we go.  What’s in your suitcase?

1. Live curious. Albert Einstein puts it perfectly, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination embraces the entire world!”

2. Shake it off!  Make friends and ignore enemies!

3. Austin Kleon says, “Write the book that you want to read.” I think it’s the same thing when you think about your biography. “Write your own biography that you want to read.” It’s really about living a conscious & well discerned life. Life is too short to just coast through it, instead, go out there and LIVE!

—-

Thanks again, Smarla, for your time, passion, and energy!  I know that this interview does not capture your entire story but one thing’s for sure — your personal story inspires me, and I know that a lot more people can draw strength from it.

Show Smarla some love by following her on the worldwide web:

Blog: http://www.everydaysweetnotes.com
Culture Shock PH Website: http://www.cultureshockph.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/smarlaang

[In Her Suitcase] Taking Leaps, Pursuing Passions, and Creating Beauty with Joana Dy

Suitcases

In Her Suitcase is an interview section on Pink My Ride that turns the spotlight on women who inspire me, who can inspire you, and who try to create their best lives by coloring their journeys in their own unique and remarkable ways.

Everyone, I’d like you to meet today’s interviewee, Joana Dy!  We fondly call her Jo or Jody.

Joana Dy

Joana Dy, Makeup Artist
Instagram: @joanady

Jody is a healthcare advocate.  With her skills, dedication, and hard work, Jody has rapidly climbed up the corporate ladder of no less than the country’s leading healthcare company.  But she’s more than just a young and successful urban professional.

Jody is also a purveyor of beauty. Despite her busy and demanding day job, she has responded to that little voice inside her telling her to pursue her other passion which is makeup artistry.  Amazing how this lady is able to gracefully balance advocating health through her professional career, and helping others appreciate their own beauty through makeup artistry. What’s even more remarkable is how she’s made these two passions complement each other.

There are several things I’ve learned from Jody through this interview — faith to pursue dreams, guts to ask for help (because people WILL help you), courage to start small and carry on despite the odds, and giving back to family.  Read on as Jody shares with us a couple of pages from her story.

(This interview is quite lengthy but I chose not to edit it because everything she said was just so inspiring, so I hope you finish reading it!)

So, what’s keeping you busy lately?

JODY: Career-wise, it’s been quite an exciting 2014 both for my corporate work and makeup artistry. While I strive to make a difference at my work in Unilab, I’ve also taken a big leap with my personal craft by finally pursuing bridal makeup starting this year. As early as January, I’ve completed the photo shoot for my first ever bridal makeup portfolio. And last May, I was thrilled to have worked with my first bride!!!

Can you tell us a bit more about your journey?  What has brought you to where you are now?

JODY: My mom tells me that since I was 3, she knew I would probably become a makeup artist someday because everyday, I’d sit by her to watch her do her makeup. She would even catch me playing with her mascara. But makeup artistry, specifically, remained to be a personal passion until I finally decided to do something about it last 2011. I was 28 then and found myself one day asking this question: “What else do I want to do, achieve and experience before I turn 30?” Not surprisingly, becoming a makeup artist made it to my bucket list. And there goes the start of my beautiful journey.

Jody's first bride, Ces Rodriguez-Dee <3

Jody’s first bride, Ces Rodriguez-Dee <3

I took lessons from makeup artist Cherry Pacheco, who was also my mentor. I enrolled in weekend classes at the Makeup Design Academy. It was difficult giving up my weekends to attend classes and accomplish our hands-on assignments. But not long after, I did it! I completed my finals and became a professional makeup artist. At first, I would just have close family and friends as clients and assist Cherry Pacheco on some occasions. As I continued to build on my portfolio in Facebook and Instagram, I eventually got to meet and service new clients. I knew I wanted to also do bridal makeup but somehow, the idea of it scared me. So I made a conscious effort to keep improving, and finally last year, one of my good friends got engaged and asked if I could be her makeup artist for her wedding. I couldn’t explain the feeling, but I just knew then that being part of someone’s wedding day, more so my friend’s, would be a wonderful blessing and would give me a sense of fulfillment.

The Vintage Bridal Look Model: Carla Ongsingco Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Denison Tan Bridal Gown & Hairpiece: Rosa Clara Philippines

The Vintage Bridal Look
Model: Carla Ongsingco
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Denison Tan
Bridal Gown & Hairpiece: Rosa Clara Philippines

Feeling more confident about the idea of working with brides, I then started planning a bridal photo shoot. Good thing I have officemates who could model for me and friends who are freelance photographers. Being a fan of Rosa Clara gowns, I took my chance on partnering with them for my project and couldn’t be happier that they supported it! I’d say completing this first bridal photo shoot has been the most fulfilling I have accomplished so far as a professional makeup artist, having put my whole heart into it to come out with a beautiful bridal makeup portfolio. Launching it and having it featured in Rosa Clara’s page has also opened up more opportunities for me to make more women look and feel more beautiful, more confident, not by changing their appearance, but by bringing out their natural beauty. Needless to say, I look forward to working with more brides as I continue on my journey as a makeup artist.

Any amazing discoveries about yourself along the ride?

I think the most important realization I’ve had in the past two and a half years is that I am in control of my life. In the past, I always felt like I didn’t have the time to do anything else other than corporate work. I was just too busy. In truth, it was probably just an excuse because maybe I had fears then. But as soon as I took charge and pursued my personal passion, I also felt more energized and inspired with life in general.

I’ve also realized how blessed I am to be able to make a difference by advocating

The Romantic Bridal Look Model: Chris Fuster Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Mark Frederick Ching Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines Bouquet: 2171 Floral Creations

The Romantic Bridal Look
Model: Chris Fuster
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Mark Frederick Ching
Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines
Bouquet: 2171 Floral Creations

healthcare with my work at Unilab, and advocating beauty and confidence with makeup artistry. Beyond the fulfillment, this whole experience has also become more meaningful as it has allowed me to give back to my family and the community in my own little ways. Somehow, I hope that it also serves to inspire my friends to be confident about their talent and pursue their dreams.

Now more than ever, I choose to continue to be in control of my dreams, my life and my happiness.

What’s in store for the road ahead?

I see myself balancing my corporate work, makeup artistry, family time, social life and also exercise (something I have been putting off for years). Because I realize all these are what would keep me inspired to keep evolving as a person.

 Each day will be a continuous effort for me to devote time to people and things that are important to me. (Am I allowed to mention finding true love here? Hahaha because it’s also part of the plan!)

What does “coloring the journey” mean to you?

Going on a journey, for me, is all about knowing what you want, doing something about it, and making it happen. But you need to color the journey to give it more meaning. Go out of your comfort zone and discover things about yourself that you never imagined you’re capable of. Be very clear with the reasons why you’re going on the journey, because only then will you find fulfillment. Use your talent to give back and share God’s blessing. Make each journey count and make it part of your life’s purpose.

makeup artist, philippinesLife is a journey and in every trip or journey, we bring suitcases.  Inside our “life suitcases” are the lessons we have picked up along the journey that we take with us wherever we go.  What’s in your suitcase?  

1) Don’t wait until you’re about to reach 30, before figuring out what you’d want to do and explore. Think about how you’d like yourself and your life to be remembered. Take control of your life and pursue your dreams while you’re young.

2) Persistence is going to be your best buddy during your journey. As you pursue your dreams, you may stumble or face animosity. You may even get tempted to just quit if it becomes too challenging. But going through these is part of the journey, all you need to do is keep believing in yourself and never give up.

3) Know what’s important in your life and what gives you happiness, then see how this aligns with your dreams. Pursuing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing something else.

For bookings, appointments or collaborations, you may get in touch with Jody through Instagram: @joanady.  Below are before-and-after shots of some of Jody’s favorite work, as well as photos from her bridal portfolio.  Hope you enjoy going through them and I hope you enjoyed reading the interview!

image (7)

image (5)

image (8)

Model: Ana Sideco Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Mark Frederick Ching Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines Bridal Bouqet: 2171 Floral Creations

Model: Ana Sideco
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Mark Frederick Ching
Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines
Bridal Bouqet: 2171 Floral Creations

Model: Chris Fuster Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Mark Frederick Ching Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines Bouquet: 2171 Floral Creations

Model: Chris Fuster
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Mark Frederick Ching
Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines
Bouquet: 2171 Floral Creations

Model: Chris Fuster Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Mark Frederick Ching Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines Bouquet: 2171 Floral Creations

Model: Chris Fuster
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Mark Frederick Ching
Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara Philippines
Bouquet: 2171 Floral Creations

Model: Carla Ongsingco Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Denison Tan Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara

Model: Carla Ongsingco
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Denison Tan
Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara

Model: Carla Ongsingco Makeup: Joana Dy Hairstyling: Helen Egan Photography: Denison Tan Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara

Model: Carla Ongsingco
Makeup: Joana Dy
Hairstyling: Helen Egan
Photography: Denison Tan
Bridal Gown: Rosa Clara

You may view the entire portfolio here.  You may also search the #makeupbyjoanady hashtag on Instagram to view more of her work.

Thank you, Jody, for your time!  So sorry this took a bit long. :)  I wish you an even more beautiful 2015!  And yes, that includes finding true love. :)

More exciting interviews lined up for 2015!!!

1 2 3 4